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10 Ways to Find the Upside of Feeling Down

Feeling bad about feeling sad makes it worse.

Everyone knows happiness is better than sadness. Happiness prevents the flu, enriches relationships, cures dandruff, and prolongs life.

No one aspires to live a long unhappy life. But, leaders are better off listening when the black dog stirs. Some happiness prolongs problems by masking sadness.

(This article is not about depression.)

Down side of feeling up:

  1. Less creative.
  2. More selfish.
  3. Worse at defending opinions.
  4. Easier to deceive.

(Washington Post)

Feeling pain makes you seek a cure. Happiness is a hindrance when tough issues are ignored.

Upside of feeling down:

  1. Self-reflection.
  2. Freedom from the need to be right.
  3. Course adjustment.
  4. Humility.

Bad sad:

  1. Giving up.
  2. Prolonged isolation.
  3. Lost resolve.


  1. Solve sorrow. Leaders who feel down don’t need medication or escape. Sadness is normal. Leadership isn’t Disneyland.
  2. Accept easy answers. They’re belittling and condescending.
  3. Feel sad that you feel sad. Self-pity is helplessness and self-rejection. Find strength to accept your sadness.

The upside of feeling down arrives when dissatisfaction inspires action.

10 ways to find the upside of being down:

  1. Give yourself a break.
  2. Clarify what you want. Stick your head above the water and ask, “Where do I really want to go?”
  3. Explore what isn’t working. Stare down the black dog. Don’t ignore him.
  4. Develop alternatives. The emphasis is on several. Don’t jump on the first option. Take your time. Mull things over.
  5. Connect and converse with experienced people. (The pivotal point.)
  6. Choose a path forward.
  7. Choose action. Thinking without doing pulls down.
  8. Evaluate progress. Be brutal. Keep what works. Throw out the rest.
  9. Celebrate progress.
  10. Set new goals.

What do you do when you feel down?

How do you come alongside those who feel down?

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