Why is it that nothing makes me happy?

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams
Updated January 18, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If your days drag on, merging into a gray nothingness, and you notice the things that used to bring you joy simply do not anymore, this could signify the beginning of a depressive episode. If you find that you’re also asking yourself why you are never happy, this could be a sign of depression, too. A common sign of early depression is the inability to feel pleasure from people and activities which used to provide you with it.

Do you feel like nothing can make you happy anymore?

Possible causes of fading happiness

Your level of happiness depends on many variables. Your emotions are affected by your health, your thoughts, work-related stress, and your overall lifestyle. For example, you may feel sad after not sleeping well or after eating a diet that lacks essential nutrients. You may also have family genetics that predisposes you to depression. Regardless of the reason for your unhappiness, it's important to remember that there is help available to you. In this article, we'll look at reasons for feeling unhappy and ways to feel better.

Fading happiness is a growing occurrence

When you're struggling to feel happy, it's important to know you're not alone. Feelings of negativity are a growing concern in our society.

Our society's current view on work is one reason for this trend. Many people work long hours and long weeks. They want to move forward in their careers, so their busy work schedules keep them from other areas of their lives. This can lead to a negative self-image and difficulties with families and social lives.

In addition, we're becoming increasingly dependent on screens. Social media leads us to compare our whole lives with only the positive moments in others' lives. We see their good and compare it to our bad, interpreting that our lives are lesser because of it. We also spend more time on computers and phones when we could be nurturing ourselves with things like sleep, self-care, social interactions, or time spent outdoors.


Despite feelings of unhappiness as a growing concern in our society, there are many resources that can help you. Other people have been in your shoes, and they've found ways to experience happiness again.

If you find yourself feeling unhappy with your life, you'll want to find the root cause of your unhappiness, so you can make changes. First, look at your lifestyle and see if anything has changed in the recent past. If you experienced a big change around the time your unhappiness began, it may be the source of your negative feelings.

For example, did you move to a home in a colder climate? If you've been getting less sun exposure than usual, your body may lack vitamin D. In this case, getting adequate time in the sun or taking a vitamin D supplement could help your mood. Alternatively, have you recently started a new job? Changes in routine can be overwhelming and can therefore lead to negative emotions. Give yourself time to adjust and indulge in self-care in the meantime. Sometimes, it takes a while to get used to a new lifestyle.

If no big changes have occurred recently, you'll want to dig deeper to find the source of your unhappiness. Look at your health, diet, sleep, stress levels, and social life. You may find that you need to make an adjustment to return to your normal level of happiness.

What can bring me back to happiness?

There are several things you can try to diminish your feelings of melancholy. Some of these treatments are very simple, such as getting enough rest. To feel happy, you need to make sure you're getting enough sleep at night. Too much or too little sleep can quickly lead to feelings of unhappiness. Even if you're stressed or short on time, it's far better to get the sleep your body needs, which can often lead to more energy throughout the day and, therefore, better focus and productivity.

If you're struggling with sadness and sleep, you may want to see your primary care physician first. Other medical conditions can appear to be psychological disorder like clinical depression when they're actually a different underlying condition. Health concerns like an underactive thyroid, low levels of Vitamin D, and even dehydration can all resemble the symptoms of depression. See your physician and consider requesting blood work or other tests, if appropriate. This will help you find out if something physical is the source of your unhappiness.

You'll also want to be sure you're eating well. When we're busy, we tend to eat foods that are quick to make or highly processed. Fast food and sugary foods can have a negative impact on your mood. Because of this, it's important to take the time to eat a well-balanced diet full of whole foods. Many doctors believe that increasing plants in your diet will improve your overall health. Diets heavy in vegetables and fruits help your body obtain all of the vital nutrients and vitamins that you need to function properly.

In addition to sleep and a healthy diet, we also need other people to be happy. When you begin to notice you're feeling sad, try not to isolate yourself. Get involved in social events and reach out to loved ones. One simple way to become more social is to take fifteen minutes or so a day to engage with family and friends. These little moments will provide emotional breaks as you connect and express yourself with people who care about you. This will mean less time spent experiencing stress at work and more time for your social life.

Furthermore, taking time to be thankful can help bring happiness back to your life. Steer clear of negative thoughts by reminding yourself about the good things in your life. Whether it's your family, your friends, your dog, or nature, you always have something for which to be thankful. Acknowledging what you have helps you create a sense of contentment and reduces the desire to compare yourself to other people. In fact, expressing gratitude has been shown to improve your mood and increase your psychological resilience.

You may also want to consider keeping a mood chart. Most people think that only big events trigger depressive moods. These events might include a breakup, the death of a loved one, or losing your job. However, this is not always the case. You may be triggered by something as simple as a scent, a song, or a sad commercial. Tracking a mood with a chart allows you to identify emotional patterns and can prepare you for triggering events. If you recognize that thinking about a certain event triggers your feelings of unhappiness, you can practice addressing those specific thoughts.

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Do you feel like nothing can make you happy anymore?

Finally, getting involved in daily exercise can have a huge impact on your mood. Movement can charge your body and give you a boost of energy. Then, your brain will produce endorphins, which will make you feel happier and more awake. Exercise may also increase your confidence because it helps you stay in shape. Plus, it helps you concentrate, allowing you to finish your daily tasks, which feels good and can positively affect your overall happiness.

Therapy can help

If you've tried the ideas above and you're still struggling with a depressed mood, you may want to speak with an in-person or online counselor. You don't have to struggle alone. A licensed counselor can help you sort out what is happening in your life and what steps you can take to make it better.

How BetterHelp can support you

If you have a busy schedule and you want to meet with a counselor in the comfort of your own home, then online counseling might be the better option than face-to-face counseling. The therapists at BetterHelp have helped countless people escape the grasp of depression, and they can help you work through your negative emotions, too. 

Online therapy has been shown to be as successful as in-person therapy—if not more successful—at helping people with a wide range of issues, including depression. An online therapist is licensed and trained to help you figure out what's keeping you from feeling happy.

See reviews of BetterHelp counselors below.

Counselor reviews

"Tamera is straightforward and supportive. She's not afraid of pointing out what to work on and give you the right tools immediately. It is highly personalized just for your unique symptoms and situation! Tamera helped me manage my depression and anxiety, and I became more empowered to have more control in my life. I feel a lot happier."

"I put off finding a therapist for a long time. I dreaded my first conversation with Neil and all the awkward, clunky explanations I'd have to give about my depression and anxiety. All of the things that felt like dirty little secrets that caused me so much pain. But I was so pleasantly surprised by the way Neil accurately picked up on what I was saying and gave me more insight into how my brain was working. It made my issue feel so much less of a personal problem and more of a universal problem we could examine together. He always gives me a thoughtful response within a day or two any time I send a message. I actually think we've made more progress in between sessions just by being able to communicate things that are coming up in real time. Neil is intelligent and kind. I really appreciate his communication style and highly recommend him."


When nothing makes you happy, life can feel extremely hard. However, it's important that you have hope. Things can get better. Find the root of your sadness, make lifestyle changes, and seek professional help. With the right tools, you'll be able to enjoy all of the activities that once made you happy. Take the first step now.

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