Sadness is perhaps the best-known negative emotion, and often seen as the opposite of happiness. Everything that we gain in life, we ultimately also lose. We feel sad when we lose something important, which can be material possessions (e.g., losing your favorite shoes), financial assets (e.g., losing your money on the stock market), a relationship (e.g., going through a breakup), a social status (e.g., cease to be admired), or a pleasure (e.g., giving up smoking)1. The loss itself can take place in many ways, depending on the thing that is lost – it can literally get lost, but also irreparably damage, cease, vanish, pass away, decrease or irrevocably change.
People who are sad are essentially trying to deal with their loss, and to accommodate for life without the cherished thing. Depending on the weight of the loss this can take minutes (e.g., after losing one’s seat on the bus) to years (e.g., after losing a dear friend). Sad people often have the urge to stop their regular activities and reflect on their situation2. For grave losses, this can become a reflection on one’s own finite existence3. Some people prefer to do this alone, while others seek company to process the loss together. People’s bodies facilitate this by decreasing physical energy and increasing mental energy, which is why people will be in the mood for passive activities rather than active ones. Apart from the need to make sense of the loss, people also have a desire for physical reward (e.g., comfort food) and social comfort (e.g., spending time with family or close friends)4.
In the comic, Murphy has just learned that he lost his job. As his work was the only thing in his life that he thought was going well, the news comes as a big blow.