Do this when you’re feeling sad…

Have you ever had a day where you’re just feeling blah, and you don’t know why? Well, chances are, something is going on with your psychological and/or biological make-up that’s making you feel that way. Duh, right? But when it comes to feeling better, recognizing potential triggers for your sadness is an essential starting place. Here’s how…


It sounds obvious to say, but whenever you’re feeling blue, you should think about the events from your day up until that point – and pinpoint anything (often a combination of things) that could be the cause of your dismay. Maybe you feel guilty, ashamed…maybe someone hurt your feelings…maybe you were embarrassed about something, and maybe, you didn’t even realize. Recognizing this will help you to rationalize coping mechanisms as to how you can feel better about the situation. For starters, if you’ve forgotten about it to the point where you’ve needed a long hard think to identify it as a potential sadness starter, it should be easy to squash and forget about. It’s likely not that big of a deal after all. Recognizing the source of your sadness here will also be key to your ability to go on and reflect – helping you avoid future sad times through making the same mistakes again.


If you can’t pinpoint your sadness to any one event, perhaps something deeper inside of you has gone wrong. For starters, are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you feeling ill? Are you potentially low in a vital nutrient? Whenever any of these occur, it can affect our entire mood. That’s one more reason why prioritizing your physical health is so essential to becoming the best you. When we’re tired, hungry or ill, we’re not as good at regulating our emotions and keeping ourselves in check. It becomes easier to mysteriously fall into a slump, even if we are normally positive, happy people who love living life.

Recognition and awareness of the problem are instrumental to our quest to go from sad to happy, or happy and sad at the same time Kacey Musgraves styled. But there are quite a few other things you can do to push past the pain of a mistake, or hunger, tiredness, etc.


When you’re feeling down and blah, go somewhere and do something that you enjoy! While curling up in a ball and taking a nap might help with our tiredness, it won’t necessarily cure our sour mood. The #1 doctor recommended cure to sadness? Going out into the world, maybe even outside in nature, and doing something that you enjoy…maybe even around people that you enjoy! Not to sound like a yoga teacher, but this does a number of wondrous things for our mind, body and soul. From distracting us away from whatever’s making us sad, to reminding us why we’re awesome, doctors definitely aren’t lying when they recommend this. 

We often speak about how it helps to have passions and interests that you can go to when times are tough. It helps all the more if these passions and interests naturally boost our spirits through the release of endorphins. Exercise is one such thing, as is spending time immersed in nature. So too is spending time with positive people, animals, or having romantic encounters. This is all to say that – you have options. Even if it seems like you don’t.


Although easier said than done, being able to compartmentalize your sadness and turn that frown upside down through your own willpower is better than any banana flavoured medicine a doctor could ever prescribe. As we mentioned already, once you’ve recognized the root cause of your problem, you can then begin to rationalize why it’s probably not that big of a deal. That should then help you to forget about it, and focus on reasons why you’re awesome, and why you’re stronger than your sadness. There’s a great quote from How I Met Your Mother that perfectly sums this up…

“When I’m sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome instead.”

– Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)

Sure, this may be easier said than done. But whether we’re hungry or tired or just had our heart broken, we all have the capacity to reframe our mindset, and start to look at things on the bright side. The toughest situations in our lives almost always bring the opportunity for a tremendous amount of growth and learning. So rather than focusing on the pain and sadness for months on end, see if you can reframe your mindset to focus on the growth and learning that can be done. I’m certainly not saying that will be possible for any situation, but it is definitely possible for single-day sadness, and the vast majority of long-standing sad situations. To give you a deep personal example…

As much as the two months after my most recent break up were two of the toughest months of my life, I now look back on it as two of the most transformative months of my life – the most growing I’ve ever done in such a short amount of time. What felt like a massive loss at the time, now feels like one of the biggest wins. A lot of that came through intentional mindset shifts toward all the positives of the breakup, and the strides I made to become a better me and improve all areas of my life in response. I spent time reflecting on what I could have done differently, but (after a while) I stopped dwelling on all that I could have done differently. In the end it was a case of mind over matter, and I was able to get to a point where I know I’m better off and happier than I would be had I stayed in that relationship. The same can be said of single-day sadness. You just have to focus on the positive, focus on what you can control, and focus on what you can do to solve the sadness, such as confronting those feelings head on, or giving yourself a distraction with something you enjoy.

For more tips on how to have a positive outlook even when times are tough, see our article on Focusing on the positive.

So there it is! How to turn that frown upside down and start to feel better when you’re feeling down! Be sure to check out more from our Personal Development section, and subscribe via email to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!


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