how to be happy when you are sad

How to Be Happy When You Are Sad: Steps to Being Happy

Do you want to know how to be happy when you are sad? You’re not alone. All human beings feel sad sometimes.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is common, with 280 million people who suffer from it. Even if you don’t, we all have bad days where we could use a good dose of positivity!

We’ll discuss when you should reach out if you’ve been sad for a while and then provide ways to start feeling happier.

Can You Feel Happier Right Now?

Finding happiness now isn’t impossible, whether you’ve had a rough day or been struggling for a while. It depends on how you view happiness and where it comes from.

Many of us believe we need that dream job or the next big purchase before we can feel better. But what if we told you that you don’t need any of those things to be happy?

Happiness is a decision that you can make. It’s your choice whether to be positive or let negative emotions overwhelm you.

Happiness is also a habit that you need to work on every day. Integrating things like gratitude, exercise, and meditation into your everyday routine can help increase your overall happiness.

While it may seem daunting to make these changes, know that it’s never too late to start working on your happiness. And the first step is acknowledging that you want to make a change.

Can You Feel Sad and Happy at the Same Time?

Even though it can feel strange, having mixed emotions is normal.

This isn’t the same as masking your pain with a smile.

Think of it like this: your child is starting their first day of school. You feel mixed emotions about it. You’re happy to see them take their next step. However, you’re sad because you wonder how they’ve grown up so fast.

melancholy man sitting on a windowsill

When Should You Reach Out for Help if You’re Sad?

An important factor in how to be happy when you are sad is knowing when to reach out for help.

Feeling sad isn’t a sign of weakness. Don’t feel ashamed of getting professional help when you need it.

The first step is accepting how you feel. Then work with others to find the best treatment for your psychological health.

Here are a few signs to help you know when to reach out. If you’ve been experiencing any of these signs for over two weeks, please seek professional help.

1. Hopelessness

You may have thought, “It’s all my fault,” or “I’ll never be happy.” These signs of hopelessness can lead to feeling helpless and like there’s no point in trying.

2. Lost Interest

Depression takes the joy and pleasure out of things. If you’ve lost interest in things that made you happy, you may have depression. You may withdraw from activities such as going out with friends, working out, or hobbies you love.

3. Fatigue and Sleep Problems

If you’re struggling to get out of bed or you’re exhausted all the time, it may be a sign of depression. You may also have trouble sleeping, or you may sleep too much. Your sleep habits may be off, making everything more difficult.

woman sitting on her bed with her hands hugging her legs

4. Anxiety

Depression hasn’t been shown to cause anxiety, but they often occur together.

You’ll often experience nervousness, a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, trembling, and trouble focusing clearly. Other symptoms include feelings of anger and panic. You might spend time anticipating adverse outcomes.

5. Irritability

You might avoid socializing because being around people is overwhelming. You may find yourself snapping at people more often. You may also be easily annoyed or agitated. Watch out for being constantly irritable about nothing in particular.

6. Dark Thoughts

Depression is often connected with thoughts of self-harm. If you’re thinking about harming yourself, seek help immediately. Someone is always available for you to talk to at the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline when you dial the number 9-8-8.

How to Be Happy When You Are Sad: Top Tips

If you’re looking to beat the blues, you might want to read up on how to find what makes you happy.

Here are a few ways to be happy when you are sad. Nobody wants to feel sad for a prolonged time, so let’s dive right in!

1. Focus on Others

Showing kindness to others is excellent for our mental health. That’s why we’ve listed it as number one on how to be happy when you are sad!

Kindness is contagious. When we help others, we receive a boost of happy chemicals in our brains that produce feelings of happiness and well-being. It also gives us a sense of self-worth and satisfaction.

group of volunteers picking up trash

Here are other ways that helping others can make us happy:

It Gives Us a Sense of Purpose and Meaning

When we help others, we feel like we are doing something worthwhile with our lives. This is especially true if we are helping people who are less fortunate than us.

It Creates a Sense of Belonging

When we help others, we feel part of something larger than ourselves. This is important because humans are social creatures and need to feel connected to others.

Spending time helping others can also help you to make new friends. If you show kindness by volunteering, you might meet a community of like-minded people. You may even find a good friend for life!

It Gives You a Positive Perspective

Assisting the less fortunate can help you to put your circumstances into perspective. Your problems feel smaller, and you feel more optimistic about your situation.

2. Talk About It

If you’re struggling to cope with a rough time, consider talking to someone.

No one should have to deal with their pain alone!

Talking helps you to let go of the tension you’re carrying. So reach out to a trusted family member, close friend, counselor, or life coach and tell them what’s happening. You might also consider joining a social support group to mix with people going through similar experiences.

3. Find Ways to Laugh

Laughter really is the best medicine. It leads to a rush of positive emotions that can instantly lift your mood and help you forget your troubles. So, watch a funny movie, read a hilarious book, or do fun things with friends who make you laugh. You’ll feel better in no time.

4. Get Some Sun

Low Vitamin D levels can negatively influence your mood.

Spending time in the sun increases the Vitamin D levels in your body and rejuvenates you. You’ll feel happier and more energetic. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily can make all the difference. So, go outside and get some sunshine!

smiling woman illuminated by the sunlight

5. Put Healthy Things Into Your Body

A well-balanced diet is essential for being happy when you are sad.

We’re not here to say you shouldn’t touch takeout or sweet treats! But your body won’t feel nourished if you primarily consume that. This can lead to you feeling fatigued or even ill.

Make sure your diet is balanced, and you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need!

Your body is the product of thousands of years of evolution on this earth. It’s a well-oiled machine, and it deserves a lot of care! What you put in is what you’ll get out. So, how do you put the best into your body?

Limit Your Alcohol

Alcohol does more harm than you realize.

It’s a known fact that alcohol can increase anxiety and impact our emotional responses. A lifestyle that includes heavy alcohol consumption may be affected by mood swings and higher levels of aggression.

If you’re in a bad place, it might be tempting to use alcohol as a way to escape. This can lead to you forming an unhealthy dependency on drinking, which is never a good idea.

Binge drinking regularly will not make you feel better in the long run – it’ll just set you up for some awful hangover days. If you’re sad, this won’t help you be happier!

However, we won’t tell you not to grab a drink with some friends when you’re blue! There’s nothing wrong with doing this once in a while. But keep an eye out for dependent behavior.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Creating and sticking to a well-balanced diet can help you feel stronger and in control.

A balanced diet is essential for your brain and body to work correctly. Try to eat unrefined, whole foods as much as you can.

healthy breakfast including whole grain toast and fruit

Load up on fruits and vegetables! These have been shown to boost your mood.

Try to include complex carbohydrates and proteins into your diet. These foods are essential for releasing feel-good hormones to boost happiness, motivation, and concentration.

6. Exercise

Working on your physical health and exercising is a great way to combat the blues.

Physical activity releases feel-good chemicals in your brain and lifts your spirits.

Any movement is better than no movement. Take a brisk walk, go for a run, or hit the gym. You can even hula-hoop, skip, or skateboard – whatever you enjoy doing.

If you can find others to exercise with you, that’s even better. Exercising with friends or family can help you feel more connected and supported and take your mind off of your sadness.

7. Get Enough Sleep

Wow, this is an underrated point. Sleep is essential for the human body to function.

When you’re sad, it’s easy to either oversleep or have trouble sleeping.

But getting enough quality sleep is essential for keeping your mood up.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible and create a relaxing bedtime routine that helps you wind down at night. Avoid screens and stimulants like caffeine late in the day, so your body is ready for a restful sleep.

Make your bed comfortable and warm, and get good blackout curtains or an eye mask if you’re easily disturbed by light so that you’re more likely to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night.

When well-rested, you’ll feel energized and ready to face the day with a positive attitude.

8. Have a Good Cry

Having a good cry can help you to stop feeling sad.

Crying is a natural response to many emotions, including joy, pain, and anger. It’s a great outlet to help you deal with pain, improve your mood and reduce stress.

If you’re struggling to cry, try listening to sad music or watching a movie that can help get your tears rolling. You can also focus on a particular memory or situation that makes you feel emotional.

Allow yourself to cry for as long as you need, and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about it. Tears are a normal part of life, and releasing them is healthy. When the tears stop rolling, you’ll likely feel an emotional release and a sense of comfort.

9. Breathe Deeply

When you are sad, one of the best things you can do is take some deep breaths. This will help to oxygenate your blood and can also help to relax your body.

woman breathing deeply outside

Try some deep breathing exercises, such as inhaling for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of seven, and then exhaling for a count of eight. Focusing on your breathing can help to take your mind off of whatever is making you sad.

10. Start a Journal

Sometimes people struggle to make sense of negative emotions. When you can’t quite understand why you’re feeling down, it can be helpful to get your thoughts out of your head by writing them down. Start a journal to capture and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Don’t worry about making perfect sense or finding the “right” words to express yourself – just let it all out. Once it’s on paper (or on your computer), you may find that your emotions aren’t quite as overwhelming as they seemed when they were swirling inside your head.

11. Cultivate Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude is one of the quickest and easiest positive psychology techniques to increase your life satisfaction and happiness.

When feeling down, it is easy to dwell on what you don’t have and forget all the good things you do have. Gratitude helps you to refocus on what is positive and see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

Think about what you’re thankful for in your life for a few minutes every day. It could be something as simple as a roof over your head or having food to eat. Or it could be that pretty rose you saw, a stranger who smiled at you, or your friends.

When you focus on being grateful, your brain will naturally start to look for reasons to be happy.

12. Be Kind to Yourself

When feeling down, resist the urge to beat yourself up and practice self-compassion instead.

Treat yourself as you would your own child and show self-love and care. Speak kindly to yourself, forgive yourself for mistakes, and practice positive self-talk whenever possible. Do something that makes you happy, such as taking a relaxing bath, buying yourself a new book, or eating at your favorite restaurant.

If you’re kind and gentle with yourself, you’ll feel better in no time.

smiling woman leaning her head on the side of the couch looking up

Final Thoughts

Sadness is not just a negative emotion – it’s a normal and essential emotion. It is a sign that something in your life isn’t going how you want it to.

But just because you’re feeling sad doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. There are things you can do to make yourself feel better.

Build habits in your life that make you happy. Find things that make you laugh and do them every day. Be kind to yourself. Reach out to someone you know or a professional if you need support.

And be patient. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs. We hope this article helps you bounce back whenever you feel down.

Use the Do Happy App to help you build happy habits that can counteract the effects of sadness. It can help you to implement the rules for a happy life into your daily routine!

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