emotions

When sadness invades our brain

Sadness is one of the most basic emotions of a human being. That feeling overwhelms us for infinite reasons, which turns us off and forces us to look towards our introspection in search of reasons and explanations.

It is often said that storms are precisely what make tree roots grow. Hence, those moments of sadness are often justified as the true artisan of knowledge, there where we learn from ourselves and from where we emerge strengthened after having overcome a process from which we have obtained knowledge to move on, to toughen that shell a little more that life offers and where we have to learn how to protect ourselves from responding.

“Happiness is healthy for the body, but it is pain that develops the forces of the spirit.”

-Marcel Proust-

But what happens in our brain at those times? Why do we feel that way when sadness settles like a spider web in him?

When the brain wants to cry

According to experts in psychiatry and psychology, the brain is more prepared to deal with this emotion than any other. If we realize it, it is precisely a saddened face that provokes the most empathy, we recognize it immediately, and we tend in some way to support those people who experience this feeling.

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Sadness is understood and has its own language. In addition, tears also act as a defense and relief mechanism, it is a way to release the tension that that particular emotion causes in our brain. But let’s see what other factors determine it:

Sadness affects the brain

The body and brain require more oxygen and more glucose during these emotional processes. You feel stressed and collapsed with sensations and emotions; hence you need more “fuel” to function … a state that, given this energy expenditure, causes us more fatigue.

Sadness is exhausting, and when we are very tired, we cannot even shed tears. No one can cry for a whole day; it is an act that can be done in small episodes, but not continuously.

Loss of sweet tooth

It is a curious fact, but when we go through these processes of sadness, the brain stops receiving the sensation of the sweet in the same intensity. The number of receptors on the tongue decreases and people do not fully capture the flavor; hence we tend to eat more, we look for more sweet things because we do not find the same pleasure as before.

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Low serotonin level

When we experience these periods of marked sadness, the brain stops producing serotonin at a considered adequate level. And a deficit in this neurotransmitter means that the dreaded depressions, compulsive obsessions, and even small violent attacks can appear in the medium or long term. A brain is a complex machine that, in situations of stress, anxiety, fear, etc., alters its neurotransmitters’ production, which always affects our behavior.

Learn from sadness

Sadness allows us to learn from what we have lived, and that is the main value. The brain is a magnificent organ that, in the long term, is capable of self-regulation on its own. It also has several defense mechanisms through which it protects us, keeping in our memory memories through which we can learn, situations to which we can anchor ourselves to help us get out of the tides of sadness.

According to psychologist Joseph Forgas (2011), when our mood is negative, we become more lucid when processing information. Forgas and his research team experimented with subjects who induced sadness states and concluded that they become more rational and skeptical; simultaneously, their memory also becomes more agile, and they are less conditioned by prejudices related to race or religion.

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The explanation given by the authors is that when we are sad, we tend to a more exhaustive search for new information from the environment. Something that, according to them, does not happen in the same way when we are satisfied, since we base our decisions on our learning history and our experiences, so we do not consider new alternatives. However, sadness activates us, makes us more alert, and pushes us to seek new ways out of new situations, and we are more attentive to outside information.

“Sadness is nothing more than a fence between two gardens.”

-Khalil Gibran-

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