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Sadness is What Makes Us Human

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What is sadness? According to Oxford, sadness is defined as the condition or quality of being sad. Sadness is something that all humans experience. It is an overpowering feeling that takes over many peoples’ lives, yet it is difficult for us to even describe what it is without using the word sad. It is only one of the many emotions that we experience as humans, but what if sadness just simply did not exist? I believe that this change would have a bigger effect than what we would expect and the human race would turn into a class of numb people.

One of the most vital aspects of our life that we need to be conscious about is our health. Believe it or not, our emotions have a great influence on our health and well-being (Costanzo par. 1). When we are experiencing sadness, the general reaction is to cry (Burgess sec. 1). When sadness is indicated by a part of the brain called the cerebrum, it sends a signal to the endocrine system which then releases hormones to the ocular region. This leads to the formation of tears (Hoyt par. 4). Emotional crying releases toxins and feel-good hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins that are required for our happiness (Burgess sec. 4). If sadness did not exist, our happiness would ironically be at risk.

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On the subject of happiness, it seems logical that without sadness, happiness would be our most dominant feeling, but this is not entirely true (Schiffrin par. 1). Happiness and sadness are opposites. The great thing about opposites is that one side is required to gain a true perspective of the other. If we never knew what it means to be sad, then we would never truly know what it means to be happy. What if happiness did not exist? Happiness may be the one true goal of life and it is crucial to our survival. It not only makes us feel amazing mentally, but it boosts our immune systems (Costanzo sec. 4), reduces blood pressure (Papousek sec. 1), reduces stress (Bostock sec. 1), and most importantly it leads to a longer life expectancy (Turan sec. 1 and Steptoe par. 1). Sadness gives us happiness. Happiness gives us purpose so without it, life would essentially be meaningless. If the entire population was to feel as though their lives were meaningless, it would be the downfall of humanity.

Emotions connect and relate us to other people and the world itself is dependent on the connection. Connection is the basis of everything we are today and all that exists stems from it. The way sadness is felt and expressed is unique to every human, but somehow we are all able to relate to each other through it. This is because sadness leads to empathy for others which leads to the deep connection that we require as people (Singer par. 2, Landis par. 3). We solely exist only because of connection. If our ancestors hadn’t experienced sadness would this have set off a chain reaction to where we, or possibly even the entire human race ceased to exist?

On the surface, the absence of sadness in our world seems glorious and appears as something to yearn for, but sadness is what makes us human. It is a natural thing that shouldn’t be as feared as it is. If sadness did not exist we would never learn and grow, we would feel numb, and life would be pointless and bland. Though sadness has the ability to cause distress and misery over billions, would a world without it have the same effect? If we did not experience sadness it is reasonable to say that we might have not even had a world. Sadness is what makes us human.

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