What To Do If You’re Feeling Sad

If you're feeling sad or upset, here are our tips for picking yourself back up again.

by Erika Jeffrey / 2021-08-03

We all have those Eeyore moments from time to time - the ones where we can’t seem to escape that dreary rain cloud that follows us around. And when it rains, it usually pours. 

It’s perfectly normal to experience a low mood from time to time. In fact, as it’s been expertly explained by Brené Brown, there’s absolutely no shame in those moments where you don’t feel your best; in fact, it’s a part of being human.

There’s a train of thought that says that we cannot have happiness without sorrow. It’s one of those inescapable ironies in life that we all must grapple with to maintain balance.

Let’s tip the scales in favor of happiness, shall we? Besides, you’ve heard that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, right? Your mental health should always be a priority. Focus on the positive and try these tips if you’re feeling down.

Identify your personal triggers

To overcome a low moment, it helps to know what triggers your sadness to begin with. Identifying your triggers can help you address the issue or try and avoid it all together.

Of course, serious problems should never be avoided. If you’re experiencing grief or depression, it’s best to seek therapy and lean on the support of loved ones. There is never any shame in getting help when your sadness interferes with your daily life.

However, for the more superficial ways the world tends to push our blue buttons, go ahead and avoid those.

For example: If you notice someone posting obnoxious or offensive material a lot on social media - just block them. There is no need to keep exposing yourself to someone who tends to trigger sadness or anger within you. In this situation, you can avoid it by not engaging and blocking their content.

Equally, if world news in general is getting you down, it’s okay to take a break. Turn off the TV, disconnect from social media, and give your emotions a break. 

If one of your triggers revolves around the actions of others, then The Happy Mind has some interesting lessons to learn. Kevin Horsely teaches that it’s impossible to control someone else’s behavior; instead, we can dig into our own fears and act as the perfect counterpart to others’ behavior by being the change we want to see in others.

Feeling ill or under the weather? This one tends to make anyone sad. Get rest and drink lots of fluids. Watch your favorite movie and take time to heal. Once you’re feeling better, try to fit exercise into your daily schedule and get enough sleep. Feeling ill is never fun. When you take care of your body, you’ll have more luck avoiding those pesky colds.

Phone a friend

Humans are social creatures: connection with others is one of our prime love languages. Whenever you’re feeling blue, try phoning a friend or a family member.

Chatting with a loved one is one of the easiest ways to pull yourself out of a funk. They can listen to you vent and may offer useful advice. Sometimes the simple act of talking about your problems to someone you trust can help.

If sharing your feelings and venting it out isn’t your cup of tea, there are other ways to shake off the sadness. There are many of online platforms and discussion boards where you can express your feelings anonymously online.

Sadness and depression are incredibly isolating, lonely emotions. Sometimes, the simple act of realizing that you're not in alone in your feelings, via reading the experiences of others on online forums, is enough to make us feel just a tiny bit less lonely.

Talking To Strangers is a great book for making sense of, and peace with, the world - and the people within it - on a larger scale. Malcolm Gladwell explains why our judgements of others are often so off-base, revealing how we all judge each other, and how to become more tolerant and patient with strangers.

Dance it out

Dance party for one, anyone? Crank up your favorite tunes and dance like no one’s watching. Dance your blues away in your very own judgement-free-zone.

Every culture on the planet turns to dance as a way of personal expression and release. It’s one of the best forms of exercise that relieves stress and helps you ‘let loose’ so you can let go of worries.

If dancing isn’t quite your thing, the sheer act of listening to your favorite music is an instant mood booster. Be your own DJ and embrace the rhythm.

Be gentle on yourself

Sometimes, one of the best ways to deal with sadness is to surrender to it. Lean into those feelings and allow yourself to feel sad – but only for a little bit. Once you have a good cry, take a moment to assess the way you feel.

There’s also a little thing called the behavior chain that you may not be aware of. It represents what our mind experiences before we take an action, which then leads to a result. To reach a favorable result, then you have to take charge of those emotions running through you.

It goes a little something like this: Trigger > Thought > Emotion > Action > Consequence

To break free from the sad mental loop you’ve fallen victim to, it helps to redirect your thoughts. One proven method to break bad thoughts are positive affirmations. You can say these anywhere, anytime you want.

Take to the mirror and repeat: “I am worthy. I am good enough.” Keep saying it (every day if you have to) until you believe it.

Incorporate this ritual into your daily routine and see if it helps your sadness dissipate. Of course, there are tons of other positive affirmations out there to choose from. Make it your own and use it whenever you need a positive boost of energy.

If you need a little extra help reaching a happy state, there’s a course by Chris Croft called Happiness Tips. It provides practical actions you can take to improve the overall quality of life. Learn how to stay on top of daily stresses and worries so you can live your best life.

Summary

There's no worse feeling than on those days where you feel down: sometimes, it feels like a personal failure on our part that we can't just 'be happy'. The first important step here is fighting the stigma and understanding that your low mood is not your fault, a reflection on you, or an indicator of your 'success' in life.

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