How to overcome bad mood and regain your smile on sad days? According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, there are five remedies of surprising effectiveness against sadness.
5 remedies to overcome sadness according to Saint Thomas Aquinas
How pleasure can help you regain your smile
The first remedy proposed by the medieval theologian is any kind of pleasure. Although it may seem like a materialistic idea, we cannot deny that a small pleasure can have a great effect on our mood.
In fact, nowadays it is known that chocolate has antidepressant properties. There is nothing stopping us from enjoying a beer after a difficult day.
But what does religion say about this? According to Saint Thomas, there is nothing incompatible between pleasure and the Gospel. It is known that Jesus participated in meals and banquets, even after his resurrection. Moreover, in a Psalm it is stated that wine gladdens the heart of man. However, it is important to remember that the Bible condemns drunkenness.
If you are going through an emotional rough patch, you may be able to follow the advice of Saint Thomas Aquinas and seek a small pleasure that will help you regain your smile. After all, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the small things in life.
Learn how crying can help you overcome sadness
The second surprising remedy according to Saint Thomas Aquinas is crying. Often, a moment of melancholy can become even more difficult if one cannot release their emotions. Bitterness accumulates and makes it difficult to accomplish any task.
Crying, on the other hand, is a language. It is a way to express and release the knot of pain that can sometimes be suffocating.
It is no wonder that Jesus also cried. According to Pope Francis, “certain realities of life are only seen with eyes cleansed by tears.” He invites each of us to ask ourselves: have we learned to cry?
Crying is not only a way to release pent-up emotions but also a form of healing.
Instead of repressing our emotions, crying allows us to process and overcome them. So, if you feel overwhelmed by sadness, don’t be afraid to cry. It can be the first step in overcoming inner heaviness and regaining the joy of living.
The compassion of friends
St. Thomas Aquinas’ third effective remedy to overcome sadness
The third remedy to overcome sadness is the compassion of friends. This idea is illustrated in an anecdote that the author recalls: a friend of Renzo tells him about the serious misfortunes that affect his family in a large house infected with the plague.
Despite the circumstances, the friend finds comfort in talking with Renzo. “These are bad things,” he says. “Things that I never would have believed to see; things that take away the joy for life; but talking among friends, it’s a relief.”
This idea of sharing emotional burden with friends or acquaintances has been shown to be very effective.
When we feel sad and the world seems to be covered with a gray shadow, a show of openness towards someone close can change the perspective. Sometimes, even a brief phone call or message can be enough to clarify the situation and find comfort in the compassion of others.
The Contemplation of Truth
Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Fourth Remedy for Overcoming Sadness
The fourth remedy against sadness, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, is the contemplation of truth. This remedy involves observing the beauty and greatness of things around us, such as nature, a work of art or music.
This approach of finding comfort in the contemplation of truth is illustrated in the story of a literary critic who had recently suffered a great loss. A few days later, he was invited to give a lecture on Tolkien’s Adventures.
Despite the emotional difficulty he was experiencing, talking about beautiful things with interested people was a real relief for him.
The contemplation of truth is a way to focus on the positive things around us and find comfort in them. It is a way to remember that the world also has good things to offer, even in moments of sadness and pain.
The last remedy against sadness
St. Thomas’ Christian perspective on the importance of the body and mind
The fifth and final remedy proposed to combat sadness may seem surprising to a medieval teacher. The theologian suggests that sleeping and taking a bath are effective remedies against sadness.
Although this advice may seem trivial, it is deeply Christian, as it implies an understanding that to heal a spiritual ailment, it is sometimes necessary to provide relief to the body.
In the Christian conception, the division between matter and spirit has been overcome since God became man and assumed a body.
Despite this, the prejudice that the Christian vision of man is based on the opposition between body and soul still persists, leading to considering the body as a burden or obstacle to spiritual life. However, St. Thomas’ perspective invites us to consider the body and spirit as complementary and interdependent aspects of our humanity.
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