Are you feeling down? Don’t worry! Everyone feels sad and lonely from time to time. It is simply our natural reaction to feelings of helplessness, disadvantage, disappointment, grief and despair. The big problem is that sadness can really drag you down. At times, it can get so severe that it seems to drain you of all your love of life. But it doesn’t have to be this way! We have far greater influence over the way we feel that many of us are led to believe. With the right strategies at hand, we can effectively overcome feelings of sadness. Even more so, we can powerfully use these tactics to avoid feeling sad in the future. Luckily, everyone of us is capable of routing out sadness and replacing it with happiness. The following will explore powerful things to do when you’re sad. It will help you to unlock the dormant capacity to feel much better.
Not every day is going to be a good day. Not every day is going to make us happy. Life simply confronts us with many difficult situations that can drag us down. No matter if we are unable to reach our goals, face a painful defeat, are ridiculed or struggle to get on with life, sadness is the most likely result. Over the course of time, however, this accumulation of sadness can take a severe toll on our lives.
When we are no longer able to rid ourselves of feelings of sadness, each day becomes a painful battle. Life will seem like a pointless burden.
“Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.”
Luckily, we’re equipped with everything we need to turn things around. However, it’s our own responsibility to do that. No one else will do it for us. We have to proactively shake off feelings of sadness. And we also have to actively get rid of a bad mood.
If you have the blues, unable to overcome feelings of being really sad, then the following is for you. It will present you simple but amazingly effective tips to shake off sadness. If you’re wondering what to do when you’re sad, look no further. Some of these powerful techniques are designed to help you boost your mood quickly, while others specifically help you to maintain a healthy level of happiness in the long run. Scientific evidence to the effectiveness of these methods is included wherever available.
14 powerful things to do when you’re sad
I hope the following list will help you to feel much better in a really short time. Stop saying, “I am sad,” and start doing something about it. Transform your sadness into happiness and joy. Here’s how:
1. Practice gratitude
Whenever you’re feeling sad, your focus lies heavily on the negative aspects of your life. Similarly, sadness will make you mull over everything that is wrong in your life. It will also lead you to overthink all the worries you’re confronted with. It is, therefore, tremendously important to break free from this downward spiral.
The cultivation of gratitude can introduce refreshing change. Not only does it help you to redirect your focus to the more positive aspects of your life, but it also powerfully reminds you that things aren’t that bad. In doing so, gratitude helps you to effectively switch your entire point of view to a much more positive perspective. Gratitude also helps you to profoundly broaden your perspective. Such a broadened perspective can in turn help you to rediscover all the marvels, joys and magnificent aspect of your life.
Countless scientific evidence highlights the powerful impact gratitude can have on your life. In fact, the advantages of practicing gratitude are almost endless. One particular study found, for instance, that the practice of gratitude relates positively to subjective well-being. This means that the scientists who conducted the study found that grateful thinking can improve your overall mood. Another study found that a grateful outlook can have a positive effect on your psychological well-being. Interestingly enough, scientific research suggests that gratitude can also decrease stress and depression levels.
Especially when you’re feeling sad, a grateful attitude is essential. Even more so, you can gain the most from a grateful approach to life during times of great difficulty. Gratitude has the power to heal and energize you in these situations. It will bring hope and encouragement whenever you’re confronted with demoralizing times of despair.
Gratitude can help you to experience more positive emotions, which will help you to feel much happier. So whenever you’re confronted with sadness, stop mulling over it. Instead redirect your focus on the positive aspects of your life. You could for instance keep a gratitude journal in which you take notes of everything you’re grateful for. Doing so is a great place to start with. Additionally, you can return to your journal whenever the going gets tough. It will bring focus, clarity and hope to your life particularly in these situations.
2. Listen to upbeat music
Music is a fantastic way to shake off a bad mood quickly. An upbeat tune can increase your overall happiness in no time. Music lifts the spirits and is able to create an entirely different atmosphere instantly. Plus, it creates a positive vibe by eliciting positive emotions within you.
The reason why music is so powerful lies in the fact that it alters your brain’s chemistry. Music influences your autonomic nervous system, which in turn alters your feelings and emotions in a beneficial manner. But don’t take my word for it. Researchers from the University of Missouri found that upbeat music positively influences your overall well-being. The scientists concluded from their research results that listening to positive music can be an excellent strategy to increase happiness. They also noted that the beneficial impact of upbeat and happy music could be further increased by intentionally trying to become happier while listening. These results highlight that you can overcome feelings of sadness while listening to positive music, especially when you make it a clear intention to become happier.
3. Meditate / practice mindfulness
The benefits of meditation are amazing. Yes, it requires some time and effort until you learn to concentrate yourself properly. But the initial effort is well worth it. That’s especially true because the learning curve allows for quick progress. You will quickly see first results if you start practicing mindfulness or meditation.
Unfortunately, many people disregard meditation/mindfulness as spiritual nonsense. These people neglect entirely that meditation is simply a tool for training the mind. The way you use this tool is totally up to you. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, most likely even longer. It’s been used by a wide variety of people from all kinds of (religious and non-religious) backgrounds. You can use it as part of a spiritual routine, but you definitely don’t have to.
Especially in these hectic modern times, meditation can prove to be of particular benefit. Its potential benefits are so vast that a huge amount of scientific research addresses the topic of meditation. A quick search at sciencedirect.com (a large scientific database) results in more than 14,000 scientific studies that investigate the topic of meditation. Despite the huge size of different studies, one thing is for sure: meditation boosts your happiness. Researchers found that meditation has a positive influence on brain function, which can lead to an increase in positive emotions. These findings are supported by research at the University of North Carolina, which highlighted that meditation induces positive emotions and could thereby decrease illness symptoms. Further research found that meditation decreases depression.
While meditation is definitely not a quick fix, it’s long-term benefits can have a profound impact on your entire life. Meditating regularly will definitely help you to overcome regular feelings of sadness. In doing so, it will help you to become a much happier person. It can even affect beneficial changes on a genetic level, such as altering your genetic expression.
4. Reach out to someone
Most people tend to keep their feelings inside themselves. They fear others will judge them for their weaknesses. Therefore, they don’t like to talk about their feelings. But it’s important to understand that you’re not alone with your sadness. That’s an important realization to make. Reaching out and talking to a kind and loving person is perhaps one of the quickest ways to get your worries off your chest.
Unfortunately, many of us neglect this option. Especially in times of the rapid progress of “social” networks, we get a false sense of connectivity. We have hundreds of friends in our networks, but none of these “friends” add fulfillment, satisfaction or happiness to our lives. While these social networks fulfill the basic human need for connecting with others, they do not provide the same benefits as connecting in the real world does. Another problem is that the false sense of being connected makes us more reluctant to reach out to others in the physical world when we’re feeling sad.
Interestingly enough, scientific research found the more time you spend on Facebook, the less happy you are. The conducting scientists also highlighted that the overall life satisfaction levels of their subjects declined the more often they used Facebook.
This leads us to the next point:
5. Unplug from technology more often
During the past 20 years, an ever increasing number of technological gadgets found their way into our lives. It began with pagers and mobile phones but it certainly hasn’t ended with virtual reality headsets or smartwatches. As a result, every single one of us spends more and more time on electronic devices. Yet, most of us are entirely ignorant of the side effects that come with it. If you’re concerned about your well-being and happiness, it might be a good idea to unplug more often. Here’s why:
The negative side effects of technology are manifold. One particular study highlighted, for instance, that increased mobile phone usage led to symptoms of depression and sleep disturbances. The scientists concluded from their findings that high-frequency use of mobile phones is a risk factor for mental health. Not only does the constant screen time cause sleeping problems, but it also increases our stress levels. That’s because it prevents the human brain from ever reaching a significant level of relaxation throughout the day. Even when we engage in playful activities on our gadgets, such as playing a game, texting or watching a movie clip. Without these gadgets, there would be natural phases during the day that allow for inactivity and relaxation. With these gadgets, however, these periods of short-term relaxation are drastically shortened.
Unplugging can introduce unexpected change. By deliberately disconnecting from technology, you can affect positive changes on your health and overall well-being. Not only will your sleep improve, but you will also be less stressed and more productive. In short, switching off can help you to overcome feelings of sadness and anxiety by replacing these with content, happiness and fulfillment.
Disconnect from the Internet and lock your fancy gadgets away. It can definitely have a great impact on your life. Plus, it gives you a lot more time to spend on the things that really matter in life.
6. Write about your feelings
Writing your feelings down on paper can be a releasing experience. It may sound odd, but expressing how you feel can really help you to get it out of your system. By articulating what is bothering you, it might even contribute to the better identification of the underlying source of your sadness. In short, writing your feelings down serves as a reflective exercise that can be of great help. You don’t necessarily have to share these written thoughts with anyone else. All that matters is the simple act of writing it down with ink on paper. Perhaps this is a psychological effect, but it definitely is worth trying.
Keeping a journal can prove to be really beneficial. It helps you to record your feelings, which in turn aids you in better understanding them. Furthermore, you might even discover the joy of writing. This will eventually help you to develop strength and courage by writing about your feelings, while it simultaneously helps you to increase relaxation. As a positive side note, writing can also help you to better process what happened to you during the day.
7. Find happiness within
Almost every human being pursues happiness in one way or the other. As a result, millions of people chase happiness throughout the entire course of their lifetime. In many cases, this pursuit is fully focused on the outside world. We seek happiness from acquiring material possessions. We hope that satisfying our (oftentimes limitless) desires, ambitions and passions contributes to our level of happiness. We further hope that accomplishing the greatest things during our lifetime will give us the greatest sense of happiness and joy. While we are busy seeking happiness in the outside world, we’ve completely forgotten where true happiness stems from.
The true source of happiness lies within.
The acquisition of material belongings can never fill the void we feel within. Nothing outside ourselves can truly contribute to our long-term happiness. At the same time, if people are unable to appreciate what they already have, they will be less likely to draw long-term joy and happiness by acquiring something new. Even if all their dreams and wishes were fulfilled in an instant, their longtime level of happiness would not be affected by it.
It’s a simple as that. Seek for happiness within, and you will gain access to the purest form of happiness. Realize that everything you ever need is already there. So instead of trying to achieve happiness by changing the material things around you, try to change within.
8. Allow yourself time to cry
As contradictory as it sounds, crying can indeed help you to feel much better. Instead of repressing your feelings, find some time to let it all out. By allowing yourself to feel the pain, you will heal much faster than hiding from it could ever accomplish. In many cases, crying can miraculously wash away feelings of sadness. It will improve your mood and you will feel much better in no time. Unfortunately, we make little use of it. Instead, we try to suppress our feelings, thinking that crying will make things even worse. But this really isn’t the case. You will feel much more relieved after shedding some tears.
The beneficial impact of crying on your mood is scientifically backed. Scientists found that crying makes you feel better when you’re sad. Not only will it help you to feel much better afterwards, but it also rids your body of stress hormones. So allow yourself to experience sadness, have a good cry and move on with your life.
9. Go out in nature and explore
Sadness is often a side effect of spending too much time indoors. After all, anyone who’s ever come to cherish the beauty of nature knows how depressing it can be if you’re unable to leave the crowded city for a long time.
Being in nature grounds you. It helps you to forget nagging thoughts and shifts your attention to the beauty of the present moment. Even more importantly, the effects of nature on your well-being and your health are quite impressive.
Nature has the unique ability to help you get more in touch with your true self. It brings peace to your being and can help to alleviate sadness. Be sure to make use of this fantastic remedy! It’s free.
10. Help others, it will lift your spirits
There’s an amazing Chinese proverb that says taking a nap, fishing and inheriting a fortune make you happy for an hour, a day and a year, respectively. But the saying goes on to state that if you help someone, it will make you happy for a lifetime.
It’s a magnificent saying that conveys a powerful idea: Helping others can make you happy. It might take some time to come to this conclusion. But once we do understand that happiness can be found in helping others, we’ve made a life-changing realization. Helping others may in fact be one of the keys to living a fulfilled, meaningful and joyful life. In many instances, we feel sad because we’re lacking a sense of purpose in our lives. By helping others, we can start living a more purpose-driven life, which in turn can profoundly impact our happiness.
11. Become proactive and take action
Taking action can be exceptionally helpful in overcoming feelings of sadness. It will help you to gain more control over your life. But it can also help you to gradually get rid of all the aspects in your life that cause unhappiness, anxiety and sadness.
Cultivate the attitude of being proactive and make it a habit to address the issues you’re confronted with. It will definitely pay out in the long run. Additionally, by taking a proactive role in life, you can effectively prevent a negative downward spiral.
12. Try to see the bigger picture
Oftentimes, our focus is pretty narrowed down and self-centered. We are sad and unhappy about things that are often not even worth bothering about. It’s therefore incredibly important to broaden your perspective. Try to get a glimpse at the bigger picture. It will be refreshing to see things from a much higher perspective.
When you see the bigger picture of things, you’ll gain many important insights about life. Not every negative thing that happens to you is actually bad. In many cases, negative experiences can teach you valuable lessons. These lessons come at a high price and are often very painful. But in the long run, these experiences can and will make you a much stronger person. Therefore, it’s often times not so important what happens to you in life. What is really important is how you interpret it and how you respond to it.
If you are able to see the events happening in your life as growth experiences, you will be able to draw positivity from negative experiences. And if you are able to this, and there will be no more room for feelings of sadness and self-pity. That’s because it will ultimately help you to realize that you can transform negative events into beneficial insights about life.
13. Get distracted
Distraction can in many cases provide great relief to feelings of sadness. That’s because when we are confronted with sadness, it’s incredibly difficult to think of something more positive. Our tendency to overthink what happens to us in life further contributes to this problem. As a result, mulling over the sadness you’re confronted with will do you no good.
Distracting your mind can introduce beneficial change in these situations. It redirects your focus and draws your attention away from whatever saddens you. If you’re having a bad mood, try to distract yourself with pleasant activities. And in many cases, the feelings of sadness will quickly vanish as soon as you enter a flow state where there is no time and space.
14. Smile, even if you don’t feel like it
Understandably, faking a smile when you’re feeling miserable is the last thing you want to do. But as ludicrous as it sounds, scientists found that smiling can make you happy. In this type of scenario, smiling is not the result of feeling happy. Instead, smiling is the cause for a person’s happiness. The mechanism responsible for this was coined as the “facial feedback hypothesis” when it was first discovered. Back then it was still a hypothesis, but scientific research established it as a sound theory.
The reason why smiling can affect your mood lies in the neurological feedback your brain receives from your facial muscles. When you smile, your facial muscles assume a position that your brain associates with feelings of happiness and joy. For this reason, smiling will send precisely those signals to your brain, even if you’re not feeling happy.
The techniques presented above can help you to maneuver yourself through difficult times. In themselves, none of these will completely eliminate sadness from your life. But they give you actionable strategies to root out the sources in your life that contribute greatly to feelings of sadness. However, keep in mind that these techniques won’t stop negative things from happening. It’s therefore all the more important to develop a healthy attitude to negative events in our lives. Use these experiences as opportunities for growth and you will thrive in life.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
I hope you enjoyed reading this article about the powerful things you can do when you’re feeling sad. Feel free to share it with a person you know is struggling with sadness.