The blog was written with the expert guidance and feedback of Ms. Indhu Rajagopal, an RCI licensed Clinical Psychologist. She is a consultant clinical psychologist at CareMe Health.
Edited by Arathi Nair
“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”–Jonathan Safran Foer
We accept happiness with open arms and a warm heart, but why do we shun sorrow? Both are emotions that come and go. So, it’s okay to experience sadness. Yet, if you feel sad for no reason, it can be challenging to accept and overcome it.
Here we have outlined 10 of the most common reasons you could be sad to help you find out the cause.
You know how genetics is the basic foundation on which all or most of your behavior is built. Similarly, genetics could also play a role in emotions. Recent studies have found that genes can influence emotion-related traits and emotional functioning in human beings. Do you notice that one of your parents, a sibling, or another relative seems to be sad often? Are there any mood disorders present in your family? Then maybe it’s genetics.
2. Quality of Sleep
How much sleep do you get every night? The average amount of sleep required changes from age to age. An adult needs somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep every night to remain healthy. A study published in the Sleep Medicine journal suggests that lower sleep quality predicted more difficulty ignoring negative stimuli and increased depressive symptoms. Both these aspects could make you more prone to sadness.
3. Physical Activity
Are you sitting in the same spot throughout the day stuck in front of your screen? Have you incorporated any form of physical activity into your daily routine? Researchers have found that leading a sedentary lifestyle can reduce the number of positive emotions you experience. Being active can improve your emotional experience, help you build a good social network, and regulate the genetic expression of depressive symptoms. Thereby being active can help you feel better.
4. Quality of Food
Take a moment to think about your eating habits. Some healthy eating habits are eating a balanced diet, avoiding excess junk or comfort food, and drinking plenty of water. Would you call yourself a healthy eater? A study conducted among adolescents revealed that eating a healthy diet was associated with better emotional health. But eating an unhealthy diet resulted in more significant emotional distress. Eating habits are more important than you think; they could be the reason why you feel sad. They do not just influence your body weight but can also affect your mental health.
How have you been feeling lately? Is there some major change that you experienced recently? It could be a loss of a loved one, a promotion, a relationship difficulty, or a shift to a new place. If you have experienced any loss, your sadness may be an emotional response to that event. If not, ask yourself-Am I feeling stressed? Research has found that crying can be a coping mechanism to deal with stress. You can try simple techniques to relieve yourself of this stress!
6. Thinking Patterns
What’s the first thing you tell yourself when something goes wrong? Aha! Did you blame yourself? Well, not so fast! Sadness can stem from feeling threatened or at a loss. Sometimes you can be too harsh on yourself and the world. Aaron Beck highlighted the concept of automatic negative thoughts. These are the thoughts and statements we tell ourselves automatically in our heads. The good news is, we can train our thoughts to become more positive and supportive. It’s all about conscious practice!
Celebrating your joys and mourning your sorrows alone can be painful sometimes. It is important to have fulfilling relationships in our lives. Studies on children say that they usually express sadness to seek social support. Those who are crying were also identified as most in need of social support. There is nothing wrong with feeling lonely; we all experience it sometime or the other. The important point is what we do about it. Start now and make yourself feel better.
8. Sense of Purpose
Did you recently lose a job or fail to achieve a goal? Are you at a stage where you question your life’s existence and what you are supposed to do? Well, you are not alone. A study explored the role of negative emotions, such as sadness, for human beings. They found that we usually feel sad when we have lost a goal and feel incapable of trying again. Thus, sadness helps us cope with a loss and gain support for goal attainment. If you are looking to start a new hobby or reignite an old one try out some of these tried and tested methods.
Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate many of the processes in our body, including moods. Serotonin is a key mood-regulating hormone. Others such as estrogen and thyroid hormones also affect our moods by regulating serotonin levels. Try to map out the days when you feel sad. Then check if it correlates with any hormonal changes you are experiencing.
Depression is one of the most common reasons associated with sadness. Often we say we are feeling ‘depressed’ when we are feeling sad. Sadness is not necessary to be diagnosed with depression. However, it is often associated with other symptoms of depression. If you think that you may be depressed, check out the key signs of depression and seek help from a professional at the earliest.
Feeling blue? Let’s help you!
So these are the most common reasons why you could be feeling sad.
All the same, if you are experiencing intense and long periods of sadness, reach out to us at CareMe Health. We can provide you the best mental health care services and assist you in overcoming your sadness. Connect to professional mental health practitioners today!