We all feel low sometimes; it’s a part of being human. You can’t just be happy all the time. It’s okay to feel sad and not know where it’s coming from.
Sadness is a basic emotion, and it fades with time, just like any other emotion. You may feel sad after some negative experience, but over time, you just start feeling better.
But if you feel sad for a long time, to be exact, for most of your day for at least 2 weeks, it might be a sign of depression that is a serious mental illness.
Sadness is the major symptom of depression, but it’s not the only one. And while sadness is a specific reaction that temporarily changes your mood, depression is an abnormal general state that changes your life.
If you feel sad or stressed for no obvious reason, read this article that can help you understand why you are feeling down and what steps you should take.
What Things Can Make You Feel Unhappy?
The truth is that when we are feeling low, there is always a reason for that. We may just not know what it is. The human brain is so complex, and we need self-awareness to fully understand our thoughts and emotions.
There is something that is triggering you to feel this way. You may feel low after losses, breakup, when you have a chronic illness, are disappointed with something or not happy in your life. You can work with a psychologist to find out what the reason is and restore the balance in your life using rather simple techniques.
If you don’t know what’s making you feel so sad, it’s hard to find an effective solution. So you should take some time to pause and reflect on what is really going on for you.
We have already mentioned some obvious reasons why people may feel down. Here are some other less expected things that can make you feel sad:
- big life changes, for example, moving house;
- being around someone who is going through a tough time;
- hormonal changes may affect your emotional state;
- problems at school, university, or work;
- having a conflict with someone;
- rainy days and lack of sunshine can affect your mood;
- being bored.
How Sad Is Too Sad?
But how can you tell that your low mood isn’t just a normal change of emotional states but an indication of something deeper and more chronic? How do you know that you are depressed? You should watch out for these symptoms.
Withdrawing from Friends and Family
Once in a while, you may feel like you don’t want to be around people, and it’s okay. However, there are times when this feeling persists. You may start to avoid your friends or even don’t want to get out or leave your house for days.
A Feeling of Emptiness and Unhappiness
Although it is common for people to feel hopeless at times, the feeling may remain. When this feeling is accompanied by dissatisfaction and the belief that you will not succeed in life, you are moving towards depression. People who suffer from mild depression are mostly unhappy with everything going on within their environment.
Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Your Activities
You stopped taking part in things you used to love because they no longer give you pleasure? It is a clear sign that something is wrong. People who suffer from depression often lose interest in hobbies, work, friends, and even food and sex. Depression makes you apathetic about things that once gave you joy and sets up a vicious cycle because you just stop doing everything that could brighten your mood.
Feeling Irritable Over Small Things
Do you experience incidences of uncontrolled outbursts of anger over small issues? It could be a case where the television remote fails to work, or you could not find your phone where you placed it. If you get angry easily, and small things agitate you, it could be a sign that sadness is taking over your life.
Adequate sleep is essential for good health. If your low mood has become a constant in your life, your sleeping patterns may change. You may sleep for too long or experience incidences of insomnia, which makes you feel tired. If you fail to address this problem early, it may cause more serious health problems.
Feeling Restless All the Time
Restlessness is the feeling that you need to constantly move, are unable to calm your mind, or a combination of the two. You may feel difficulty relaxing at home, sitting still while at work, or falling asleep at night because your mind is preoccupied with negative thoughts that are often caused by life events. Constant restlessness and anxiety can be signs of many different psychological conditions, including depression.
Changes in Daily Eating Habits
When unhappy, you may not eat like you usually do. For instance, when you feel low, you may forget to eat or just lose interest in cooking meals. On the other hand, sometimes, negative feelings and thoughts can produce the opposite effect, making you hungry. If sadness and pessimism accompany depression, they may drive you to overeat. You may try to soothe your bad feelings with food binges.
When you feel sad, you may compare yourself to other people and start thinking that you are not good enough to be happy. If sadness persists, you may think and speak negatively about yourself all the time and feel worthless. Such repetitive thoughts are dangerous because they can lead to low self-esteem and self-harming behavior. You may try to find ways to verify that you’re guilty of your unhappiness, and that makes you even more depressed.
Fatigue or Lack of Energy
Do you always feel tired despite getting plenty of sleep? It may be the consequence of sadness and hopelessness that is over you all the time. When you deal with chronic emotional pain, it sucks your energy, and you find it hard to tackle routine tasks, work and family responsibilities. It may come to the point that even getting out of bed and taking a shower becomes exhausting. If you feel that your energy level is low, it’s time to seek help.
What Should I Do When I Am Sad?
Almost all of us feel low sometimes, usually because of difficult or disturbing events in our lives when our mind is focusing on unpleasant things. So it’s important to practice self-care that can help you get through this tough time. Here are some things you can try to divert your attention to more positive things and feel better.
Call a Friend or Family Member.
We often feel better when we talk about our problems with someone else, even if they don’t give us any advice. This way, you’ll be able to sort things out in your mind and figure out why you feel sad. Besides, you’ll know that there are people who really care about you, and that can improve your mood.
It’s a great way to improve your ability to deal with stress and lift your mood. When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals. Physical activity also helps relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body, and when your body feels great, so will your mind. Anything that gets you moving can help – walking, swimming, running, hiking, cycling, playing team sports, crossfit, jogging, yoga, Tai Chi. But it’s important to pick something you enjoy.
Doing little things that make you happy is a great way to improve your self-esteem and your general mood. So treat yourself to your favorite coffee, listen to beautiful music, watch a funny movie, have a warm bath, try out a new makeup look, do something creative, eat out at a new restaurant, or go shopping. It’s important to take time out to do positive things you enjoy every day.
Make a Gratitude List
We often focus on the negatives, and a gratitude list can remind you of all the things that are going right. Make it a habit to keep a gratitude journal and write down 3 good things from each day before you go to bed. This way, you can put things into proper perspective and improve your self-esteem.
Sadness is a feeling that you experience subjectively and independently. The reasons for a down mood are often varied and can be difficult to determine. Depression can happen to you at any stage of life, especially when you’re going through a hard time. This mental disorder has set criteria and requires an official diagnosis. When left untreated, depression can have a very negative impact on all areas of your life.
If you feel sad for 2 weeks or more, you should consult a mental health professional who can help you manage stress and expectations and provide you with tools to face life challenges. You should also practice self-care and live a healthy lifestyle that can help you feel good every day.
Remember: you don’t have to cope with serious emotional problems on your own. An experienced therapist can help you figure out what’s going on with you, guide you through effective strategies to overcome your sadness, and recognize if something more serious is going on.