Why Do I Feel Sad For No Reason?
By Sarah Fader
Updated June 12, 2019
Reviewer Tanya Harell
Everyone gets sad, but how often is too often? Do you find that you're sad most of the time? That might be something that needs attention. Sadness is a common emotion some people feel as often as once per day depending on the what's happening in their lives. We may hear or read a tragic news story and feel sadness for the family involved. We might hear devastating news such as the death of a friend, extended family member. These are events that evoke the feeling of sadness within us.
If you are an empathetic person, you may feel sadness more often than other people because you are sensitive and open. You feel other people's feelings, and those individuals could be in pain, so you take on their sadness as your own. Regardless of being empathetic or not, there are ways in which sadness can be problematic in our lives.
If we're feeling safe sad when we wake up, or sadness creeps upon us for no apparent reason during the day, this is troubling. We just cannot seem to put our finger on the origin of the sad feeling. That's when it's important to pay attention to that feeling and investigate where it's coming from. Sadness doesn't appear for "no reason," it's a matter of finding out the origin of that feeling.
The Subconscious Mind At Work
When sadness comes upon us suddenly, there may be some subconscious reason for it. Perhaps someone has said something to us that on a subconscious level reminded us of a traumatic childhood event. Our brains store so much information and memories that we never know when some visual or auditory stimulation will trigger something within us. We are not always aware of the actual memory being triggered, but we become acutely aware of the feeling of sadness.
So aware, in fact, that it can distract us from completely the daily activities we need to do. That's a sign that we need to figure out why we're so sad and what we can do about it.
When you wake up feeling sad you could have experienced something traumatic while asleep; you had a nightmare or an intense dream. Dreams are our subconscious mind's way of working through complex issues. Our minds work overtime while we sleep to help us deal with past or current conflicts that we have not had time to deal with while awake. Waking up with sadness could also be due to some small harmless event such as not saying goodnight to your child or your spouse before going to sleep.
If you're someone who analyzes your actions, sadness can feel persistent and troubling to you. You may struggle to let go of sad thoughts because the thought of not saying goodnight is repeating over and over again in your mind. Even something like feeling anger toward a pet and not patting it on the head to say you were sorry for having those feelings. We would not equate either of these with our sadness because they do not seem important or significant enough to warrant being sad about; however, some individuals do not like leaving things unresolved before going to bed.
Physiological Reasons For Sadness
Feelings of sadness that persist for no reason could be related to mild or even severe depression. However, other reasons should be explored before resorting to using medication to treat persistent sadness. Sometimes sadness or feeling blue can be related to physical health. Anemia, or low blood iron, or hormonal imbalance can cause feelings of mild or even severe depression.
It is always good to see a medical doctor for a full physical workup when feeling mentally or physically out of sorts. Blood work will often reveal the reason for feeling sad. Replacing what is missing in our diets is a healthier and safer means of dealing with sadness or mild depression than psychotropic medications.
While the advice and care of a medical doctor are the first steps, one should take if bothered by persistent feelings of sadness, having someone to talk to or who can provide resources for other help and strategies for dealing with bouts of sadness is also a good idea. This person is professionally trained to help you understand your feelings of sadness or depression and work through them.
It's hard sometimes to figure out why you're sad or depressed, which is why having a professional to speak to is extremely useful. They can help you look inward and find the origin of your sadness, and help you work through those intense feelings.
Accepting Your Feelings
Before you begin exploring the reason for your sadness, first accept your feelings. Remember this: your feelings are valid because you feel them. They are real, and you don't need to judge yourself for having them. Accept the fact that you are sad and that's okay right now. You may think to feel sad means you're weak or overly emotional. Everyone experiences sadness at some time in their life, no matter how strong or stoic they may seem.
Just because that person seems not to be sad, doesn't mean they aren't. We are not minded readers no matter how intuitive we are. You don't know how someone is coping with their feelings. They could be profoundly sad or depressed even, and you have no idea. This is about you, not them and you might need assurance that it's okay to feel sad and that's okay too! It has nothing to do with your character as a person. An online counselor is there to offer support and comfort as you go through this time.
When you have no idea why you're sad, your mood itself can be distressing. Just knowing why you feel that way can help relieve your burden. Your counselor will likely begin by finding out about your specific symptoms to determine if you are experiencing a crisis. Some levels of sadness are so high that they need immediate intervention. After your sadness is assessed for severity, they may begin to ask you about what's going on in your life right now. They can help you to identify situations that contribute to your sad feelings.
Sometimes, things that seem harmless can have a profound effect on our moods, especially if a similar event has caused you sadness in the past. Remember if you're a sensitive and empathetic person, you are likely to experience sadness more often and that's okay. Some triggers will set off sadness. You may not realize you're experiencing a trigger until your counselor guides you through an exploration of your current and past experiences.
The therapist you're working with may understand how a simple word, sensation, person or place might make you sad. Therapists are trained to recognize when their clients triggered and helped them work through those triggers. You may also have insights into your triggers after you open your mind to the fact that these triggers are impacting your life and causing you emotional distress.
If a loved one has died, you probably know exactly why you're sad. However, there are other types of loss you might not have considered. Have you recently lost a job or been demoted? Have you moved from a familiar home? Has a beloved pet run away? Have you been diagnosed with a disease, such as cancer, heart disease, or even diabetes? Have any of your prized possessions been stolen or broken?
Any of these happenings, as well as others, might provoke a feeling of sadness and loss. In some situations, merely identifying the loss and grieving for it briefly is enough. If you need more support for a longer time, your therapist is there to help you work through your grief.
Being hopeful and positive about your life isn't a magic potion. It won't take away the pain, loss, and cruelty that happen at times in our lives. And, being overly optimistic can sometimes get us into trouble. However, learning to expect the best can put us in the right frame of mind to enjoy our lives more, seize opportunities, and have a better relationship. Dwelling on the most negative aspects of life can make us feel hopeless or plain sad. A counselor can help you develop a more positive mindset while keeping grounded in reality.
When To Examine The Negative Aspects Of Your Life
Thinking about hard times, losses, and unhappy times can prove valuable at times. It can help you deal with past traumas and remind you how far you've come since those things happened. It's also helpful to think about these unfortunate times if you've never dealt with them before. Some occurrences are so upsetting that you might have tried to shut them out of your mind instead.
However, trauma must eventually be understood and overcome. It didn't go away completely until you've made peace with your past and learned to move on. Bad memories shut away eventually resurface. However, dealing with them alone can sometimes make you even more distressed and sad because you don't know how to react to them. That's why it's best to seek professional help so you can learn coping mechanisms that will guide you toward healing and a better life.
Speaking to a counselor who is trained in working with people who are experiencing sadness and depression can benefit you. A counselor can help you go beyond simple identification of past traumas. As you work through those incidents with the therapist, they can guide you away from depression or despair and on to a resolution of your sad feelings. The sadness may never go away completely, but you'll know why it's there and how to respond when it comes back.
Letting Go And Moving On
Sometimes, we hold onto our feelings of sadness and stay stuck in these emotions. We might feel that if we stop feeling sad, it means we don't care what happened to us or someone else. We might feel we are disrespecting a loved one we lost if we let our feelings go.
This is a natural reaction, but it is one that can hold us back from enjoying our life unnecessarily. Your therapist can help you determine whether you need to work through that sadness or you're ready to move on with your life.
If you're ready to start a new chapter in your life, your therapist might suggest that you begin making plans. As you decide how to spend a weekend or choose a community function to attend, you begin looking outside yourself. Even though the sadness may hang on for a while, planning for the future requires you to move on, even if you do feel sad. The new experience brings new opportunities for pleasure and joy.
If It's Depression
A counselor you speak with can assess your mood. If they see warning signs of depression, they'll recommend that you talk to a doctor about it. The doctor might work with you on improving lifestyle factors such as sleep, diet, alcohol or drug use, and exercise. They might also suggest antidepressants or a mood stabilizer.
Before they can treat you with medications, they have to come to some conclusion about what the problem is. If they don't tell you immediately, you can find out more by asking for your diagnosis. If it's depression, you'll have a better understanding of why you're sad.
Starting Therapy Is Easy
You can find a therapist in your local community through your insurance company or mental health organization. If this process proves too slow, there's a faster way to begin counseling. Consider online therapy as a viable option to deal with your feelings of sadness. You'll want to do some research to make sure you're dealing with a reputable counseling site. However, online therapy can be a flexible way to deal with your sadness in the privacy of your own home.
It only takes a few moments to choose your counselor and start enjoying the benefits of online therapy that can take place wherever is convenient for you. This is especially important if you live in a remote area where you don't have access to a lot of therapeutic options, or you're a busy professional that can't seem to find the time to get into a therapist's office. These are two great reasons to consider online therapy!