Maybe you woke up feeling sad and can’t shake the feeling. Or maybe you have been feeling sad for a while and just want to start feeling better. If you are looking for ways to start feeling better, I’m sure there are plenty of people ready to give you advice on how to pull yourself out of a sad mood and get busy feeling good again. But the problem is that what works for one person may not work for another. Moreover, what works today may not work tomorrow.
Sad: Feeling sorrow, distress, despair, or grief.
No One Escapes Sadness
One thing that helps me to feel better is to think outside of myself. To look at the world as the massive place it is rather than the four walls that I am inside.
When I see other people like Mahatma Gandhi talking about their sadness, it helps take away the element of loneliness and isolation, which almost instantly helps me feel a little better. The fact is that sadness is a human emotion, and we all feel it.
Why Do We Become Sad?
There are so many reasons behind sadness that it can be hard to pinpoint why you actually feel sad!
- Losing someone can cause you to become sad
- Experiencing sickness in yourself can cause to become sad
- Having a love one fall ill can cause you to become sad
- Feeling as though you or your life is not living up to some sort of expectation can cause you to become sad
- Being disappointed can cause you to become sad
- Feeling rejected can cause you to become sad
- Not seeing positive results can cause you to become sad
- Being overwhelmed by miserable and negative people in this world can cause you to become sad (And they don’t even have to be directly in your life!)
And sometimes you can experience one or more of these things to put you in an emotional state of sadness that is hard to overcome.
We Even Feel Sad When We Finish Doing or Watching Something We Enjoy
Sometimes I don’t want to watch TV. Not because I don’t enjoy a good story, but because I know that the show will end and I will feel sad about it. The following video discusses this issue and why it happens with things like TV, video games, or other things that are not really real.
What I found interesting is that I have never watched this guy’s show, but I felt bad when he said he was leaving. I have no attachment to him, but I still have that feeling of sadness when he discusses something sad.
Sensing sadness in another person (real or fiction) can cause you to feel sad. This is called empathy, and I find that I am much more empathetic than many people I know. This is why I don’t watch sad movies or the news anymore. I cry too much – feel too much – during them, and that affects my overall emotional state.
What Can You Do To Feel Better?
As I said earlier, what works for one person may not work for another. It depends a lot on why you feel sad and what things in life make you feel good. But the more tips and tricks you hear, the more likely you are to find something that does work for you.
Following are 8 people who were willing to share what they do to improve their mood when they are feeling sad.
Q. What Do You Do To Lift Your Mood When You’re Feeling Sad?
A. Anna Fox (Blogger)
I don’t necessarily dislike being sad… Sometimes I’d just go with it: I’ll watch a sad movie and I’ll let myself cry and I’ll feel better after that.
That’s different from feeling down though: If it’s depressingly sad, I’ll eat something sweet (just a little bit!), go for a walk (or both) or go to the gym. Getting fit (especially with the right music) works wonders for improving my mood.
If I have to keep working despite my mood, I’ll have a quick snack and tune in some good music: Some simple things like that may be enough!
Here are some of my favourite lift-me-ups.
- Have a nap.
- Have a good cry.
- Grab my favourite drink (pearl tea).
- Play with the kids.
- Get busy writing. It takes some time to get into it, but eventually the writing takes over my focus and the sadness steps away.
- Find things to be grateful for.
- Read some spam comments on my blog (there’s bound to be one that makes me laugh).
A. Steffiblack (Life/Career Coach and Kindness Advocate)
When I feel sad this is what I often do. I try to honor the feeling and sit with it for a while. I try not to run away as sadness is a tool for teaching us something. It can highlight what we need to address in our lives. I try to feel it and then let it move through me, but I don’t push it away as it will only come back again if not dealt with at some point. Sadness can be for many reasons and it’s important to allow it to move through you. I also find that writing down what I am grateful helps as does tools like meditation and exercise.
A. David Leonhardt (President, THGM Writers)
I have two options to lift my mood in summer, and one in winter. One thing I do is to go for a walk. I live on three acres, so I can get out in the fresh air, walk through our woods or putter in the garden, and that usually helps lift my mood or reduce my stress. But you just can’t do that with three feet of snow on the ground.
What works to lift my mood four seasons long is Styx. Rush. Pat Benatar. Good, energetic music that I can air guitar to and belt it out to. Sure I’m too old for that, but who cares? There are a few songs that are particularly uplifting: Man in Motion, Rockin’ the Paradise, Come Sail Away, Closer to the Heart, Walking on Sunshine, Mexico Mexico (RBD), Edge of Glory, All Fired Up, The Kid Is Hot Tonight, You Gotta Love That, Firework, Rock and Roll Band (Boston), John Deere Green, How Do You Do?, Dreams (Shania Fillmore), Rock and Roll Never Forgets, I’m Alive (Peter Furler), Doin’ it Right, Twist and Shout…and many more. Everybody has their favorites, but I find the mix of a positive message and a really upbeat, energetic tune makes all the difference.
I have in the past been diagnosed with depression and often struggle with feelings of sadness. It can be hard to come out of a low period when I am in one, but I have a few strategies I turn to when I’m struggling that usually work.
My number one method of improving my mood is to distract myself. I force myself to stop worrying about or dwelling on something by filling my mind with other thoughts. One thing that usually works for me is singing along with a song from memory; it takes a lot of mental effort to try and recall words and sing well, especially if I pair that activity with something slightly mindless, like driving or doing dishes. Singing and doing dishes almost always improves my mood. Another method of distraction is working out; that might mean going to the gym, or it might mean stopping what I am doing to go do 50 sit-ups. By the end I’m tired and feel good for having done something productive, and probably not thinking about what I was thinking about before.
Another thing that tends to improve my mood is watching something funny. It’s another mindless activity and I think the humor can undermine the sad thoughts. I usually watch episodes of Family Guy or Seinfeld, or even just turn to my favorite YouTube channel, Food Wishes (although that tends to make me hungry, too).
If none of that works, I’ll call a friend who can be unfailingly optimistic when needed. Sometimes you just need someone to prop you up for a little while.
A. Dr Elaine Nicholls (Teacher, tutor, study skills coach)
If there is a reason why I feel sad I will just let it be as I will feel worse in the long run if I try and supress the emotion. However, when I feel a bit blue for no real reason I usually trick myself by faking happy. I have a good stretch and then stand up straight with my shoulders back and I smile. There is a great TED talk by Amy Cuddy on her research on power poses- by changing your pose you can alter how you feel and how you are perceived. Depending on where I am I put on a mood boosting playlist and if I can I have a bit of a dance. If I’ve got time I might also watch a comedy or get lost in a good book. Research shows that laughter alters your physiology, decreases your stress hormone cortisol and makes you feel better. Doing these things usually lifts me up.
A. Patricia Anthony (E-commerce Strategist)
Nothing like a little Taylor Swift to help me “Shake It off.” Life is too short to stay bogged down. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll look back and realize that all the things you allowed to worry you, just aren’t as grave as you probably made them out to be. Even if they play out to be serious challenges, “This too shall pass.”
I simply remind myself that tomorrow is a new day and reflect on all the other obstacles that I’ve managed to overcome. My prior triumphs are always a good reminder that I’ve more than equipped to take on the challenges that lie ahead, whatever they may be.
I try to reflect on the positive by reminding myself that it could be worst. I find relief, gratitude and comfort in the fact that despite whatever overwhelming situation I face, there’s still a lot of reason to look on the bright side.
In every situation, I try to find the lesson buried deep within, a ray of hope or a reason to be joyful about even the worst of situations.
In times of difficulty, my religious upbringing reminds me to “Be still and know that I am God.”
And when all else fails, there’s nothing that a little music can’t fix. I just turn on my Mixerbox2 App and shake it off.
I really enjoy the concepts I learned in the book, How Full Is Your Bucket? It suggests that we all have a bucket within us that needs to be filled with positive experiences, such as recognition or praise. This bucket is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. We face a choice every moment of every day: we can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them.
The authors seem to focus on what other do to us, good or bad. I add to the concept that you can fill or diminish your own bucket based on the beliefs and thoughts you choose. You can also choose to fill your own bucket when it’s needed.
When I find that my bucket is getting emptied, I take steps to fill it up. I might go for a walk, take a nap, or call a friend. Anything that’s going to cheer me up and fill my bucket. It’s an important choice—one that profoundly influences my relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.
Use Your Sad Mood To Help Inspire Happiness
A few months ago I was really down. Not only was I feeling that my efforts online were going to waste, but I was told that they were going to waste by someone I love. Combined, I felt like giving up on my dreams and moving on to something else – and that made me sad.
But, something good came out of it. That sad mood turned into something else. First I felt anger and then I felt motivation. And from there I took some massive action that helped me turn things around online and feel much more positive about what I’m going.
In short, the sadness motivated me to do things that helped me be happy. Without the sadness, I wouldn’t have recognized what I needed to do.
So, if you try some of the above tips and don’t find yourself feeling better, check in with yourself to figure out why you are sad.
Imagine what would need to happen to help you feel good again, then visualize that success and happiness.
Let it fill you up. Let it give you hope or desire.
Then, get busy working towards that happiness.
Once you start getting busy, sadness has a way of lifting and being replaced by more positive emotions.