Melancholy: 6 benefits & 5 tips for real melancholia
Melancholy is a mood characterized by melancholy, sadness and thoughtfulness. However, this often negative mood does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. We’ll explain what melancholy is, what its benefits are, and what you can do when you’re truly melancholy.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit listless, hanging around your thoughts for hours and looking out the window with a blank stare? You’re probably feeling a little melancholy right now.
But that is not necessarily a bad thing. It can help you take a breath and get a new perspective on your life. We explain everything you need to know about melancholy.
What melancholy means – a definition
Melancholy is bittersweet. It is both a sad and a romantic feeling. It is often mentioned in connection with nostalgia – a reminiscing. And nostalgia can certainly occur as a form of melancholy, such as when you long back to the past.
However, while nostalgia is only a fleeting state of mind, melancholy is much more deeply rooted in character.
For example, the melancholic forms one of the four temperaments in temperament theory, which is now considered outdated but forms the basis for some psychological and educational methods.
Nowadays, the term is often equated with depression. However, it is useful to consider the two terms separately. While melancholics may well be prone to depression, not every melancholic is depressed.
Depression severely limits those affected and even robs them of their will to live. They feel permanently listless, sad and depressed. They hardly feel any joy in life.
To combat their depression, those affected must seek professional treatment. Melancholy, on the other hand, can be quite positive and is not a condition that requires therapy.
Melancholics are sad, however, this sadness is accompanied by a certain romanticism. Their daydreams have a sad mood, but they also have a romantic view of the world, which causes a beautiful world-weariness.
From this melancholy can even form some merits that are conducive to society, but in today’s meritocracy often rather little appeal.
Benefits of melancholy
Melancholy is often considered a weakness. While too much gloom can reduce your zest for life, melancholy can also have positive aspects and even help you move forward in life.
After all, only those who feel down and melancholy from time to time are also willing to develop, question and change something – and that takes time, which melancholic people are happy to take.
Melancholics are very sensitive people. They are sensitive to their own emotional world as well as to those around them. That is why they can be very empathetic to those around them.
They do not find it difficult to empathize with their fellow human beings and to respond appropriately to their feelings. They know both joy and gloom, do not always see everything in a positive light, and are thus able to empathize with negative moods.
In general, melancholics are very attentive people. Small things tend to catch their attention, also because they take time for the small things in life. They give a lot of thought to things and thus encounter their environment more attentively than other people.
Their gloom also ensures that they do not immediately fall into exuberant enthusiasm when something seems to be good. They keep a close eye on what continues to happen and are thus able to detect possible inconsistencies.
No matter if musicians or painters – many artists are melancholic. They process their suffering in art, beauty and philosophical ways of thinking. They question and draw from a new creative power, which they use for their works.
From their thoughtfulness, critical worldview, and melancholy, they draw impressions that they utilize for their art. In this way, they can express both hopes and disappointments in a creative way – and thus also enrich other people with their art, who may find themselves in it.
Melancholics are particularly critical by nature. They question and look for discrepancies, no matter how lucrative a circumstance may seem. However, this distrust also keeps them from being deceived.
They can quickly see through other people’s intentions and are not swayed. On the contrary, they reflect on their own actions and those of their fellow human beings.
Even their environment is not safe from their critical thinking. They do not take structures for granted and see possible injustices. This is another reason why they often fall into sadness, but in this way they also drive change.
Many melancholic people are introverts at the same time. They withdraw from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take a lot of time for themselves.
Reflection, quiet, and solitude are essential for them to cope with their melancholy state of mind. As introverts, they have to process their impressions alone and thus recharge their batteries.
However, introversion also has numerous advantages. For example, introverts can listen well, are conscientious, reliable and think ahead.
Melancholics are considered level-headed. Even in stressful situations, they remain calm and let their mind decide. Impulsive acts, on the other hand, are atypical for melancholics.
They have a certain self-control, so their actions are always deliberate. Supporting this is their reflective and critical way of thinking, which favors reasonable decisions and thus reinforces their level-headedness.
These tips will help you with real melancholy
Although melancholy brings with it many positive aspects, it can be burdensome when it gets out of hand. Especially nowadays, where slowness and contemplation often find no place, melancholy can seem like a weakness.
In a hectic world, there is little time for thoughtfulness and daydreaming. This can overwhelm melancholiacs and trigger depression. Find out what helps you when your melancholy weighs you down below.
If your melancholy is getting to you and you’re sinking more and more into your gloom, you should give yourself a break and make sure you relax.
Especially if your gloom stems from too much stress, a little slowing down can help you. If you’re prone to melancholy, you’re probably very sensitive to the world around you. This can quickly overwhelm you. Try to calm your thought processes and focus on the moment.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, Autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises can help you do this. Even small gestures in your everyday life can help you relax.
For example, you could have relaxing music playing in the background, work with calming scents in the form of essential oils like lavender oil, or treat yourself to a relaxing massage.
Get out into nature
Fresh air can work wonders. Sitting indoors for too long, chasing your thoughts, can make your melancholy even worse.
Therefore, go outdoors regularly, take a walk in the woods or even exercise in the great outdoors. Exercise releases the happiness hormone serotonin, which makes you feel better right away.
Nature provides a friendlier environment for you to let your mind wander. It has a calming effect and reduces stress hormones. This makes it easier for you to think positive thoughts.
Process thoughts creatively
Melancholic people especially benefit from creatively expressing their melancholy. It doesn’t matter whether you write down your thoughts, process them in a painting or express them with the help of music.
In this way, you can free yourself from the burden that gloomy thoughts cause in your head. You create space for new positive thoughts, at the same time these activities help you relax.
For example, painting and drawing have a meditative effect. Diary writing has been shown to help you process grief and promote a more positive mindset.
Music is also a true mood lifter, provided it is upbeat music. If you make your own music, you can also express your feelings very well and thus process them better. Another plus point: You are happy about the self-created work that came out of your melancholy.
To keep your gloom from also turning into loneliness, surround yourself regularly with people you care about. These can be friends as well as family members.
Under no circumstances should you hole up at home. This can increase your sadness and negative feelings.
You don’t have to start any big ventures. Often, just talking and sharing your thoughts with someone else is enough.
If you don’t want to talk but still want to spend time with friends and family, you can go to the movies or have a cozy evening watching TV, for example.
As a melancholic, you should accept your quirks in order to happily live with them. You cannot suddenly become an active and impulsive person if you are more inclined to melancholy and act thoughtfully.
Just because today’s meritocracy mainly benefits doers doesn’t automatically mean that thoughtfulness, prudence and introversion are bad. Society needs people with these qualities, who question structures, look at things critically and respond to their fellow human beings.
The melancholic person brings all these qualities with him. Even if the actions are not impulsive, but characterized by slowness and thoughtfulness, their actions are always well-considered and reflected, so that they can stand up for them – and make a valuable contribution to society.
However, if the melancholic tries to change and wants to conform, melancholy can become a burden and result in deep sadness and listlessness, as the person no longer recognizes the meaning of their own actions.