Sadness mixed with humor in a perplexing, chaotic, and confusing way—that’s what the r/FunnyandSad online group over on Reddit is all about. An old-hand on the net, having been founded in November 2013, it has since then grown into a community of nearly 700k members.
The subreddit does exactly what it says on the tin and documents posts from all over the net that are funny and sad at the same time. It’s a melange of laughing through tears (or is that crying while you laugh?) that will show you that life is far more varied and nuanced than the black-and-white we’re used to seeing on the news and on social media.
Sadness is a very natural part of life and we ought to embrace it, instead of running away from it. After all, we can’t be happy-go-lucky all the time (I would know, I tried). And while being sad can even have certain benefits, like improving our memory and judgment, getting stuck in negative thinking patterns and endless loops of sadness isn’t healthy for our mental wellbeing.
I had a quick chat with an expert in the field of psychology about how to identify what these negative thinking patterns look like and how focusing just on our failures, having black or white thinking, and holding ourselves accountable for everything that goes wrong all harm our mental health.
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Emma Morton, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, told Bored Panda that, for example, what we tend to focus on more, our successes or our failures, can influence our long-term mental health. For instance, hyper-concentrating on all the things that go wrong or could potentially go wrong can trap us in a perpetual loop of self-criticism and anxiety.
This, in turn, can lead to feelings of very low self-esteem and even depression which, in turn, can make us unwilling to ask for help and support even though we might desperately need both. However, there are other ways how we can end up trapped in negative thinking patterns, too.
“Negative thinking patterns can include only paying attention to failures and ignoring successes, black or white thinking (e.g., ‘If I get anything less than an A+ on this test, I’m a failure’), labeling oneself based on mistakes (e.g., ‘I’m a loser, an idiot’), [and] mind-reading (e.g., ‘Everyone will think I’m a loser for not getting this promotion’),” Emma went into detail with Bored Panda how we can end up being overly harsh with ourselves.
She continued, adding that another negative pattern includes “holding yourself personally accountable for things that go wrong and attributing successes to luck or the contributions of others (e.g., ‘I only got that award because nobody else applied’).”
As such, having unrealistic expectations of what we’re capable of and being unreasonably demanding of ourselves can lead to “feelings of depression and worthlessness” that in turn “make it harder to reach out for help.” So while it’s perfectly fine to feel sadness, we all need to know when to ask for a helping hand if we find ourselves constantly stuck with only negative thoughts.