Sadness is not a pleasant emotion, so feeling sad for no reason can lead to feelings of frustration and worry.
Not only is feeling sad not a fun experience, but the pressure from others and ourselves to be positive all the time can make it even worse.
If you’re feeling sad and don’t know why, read the rest of this article.
We’re going to be explaining why you might feel sad without an identifiable cause and what you can do about it.
Reasons You Might Feel Sad For No Reason
While it’s important to note that sadness and depression are not the same thing, feelings of deep sadness without a clear cause can be a sign of depression.
Feeling sad from time to time, even if you can’t identify a reason, is just part of being human.
However, if you find that you’re dealing with low mood most of the time alongside other signs like sleeping more, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, or isolating yourself from friends and family, you might be dealing with depression.
If you think you might have depression, it’s important to seek professional help, particularly if you’re having suicidal thoughts or relying on substances to cope with your feelings.
2. Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you’ve started to feel sad for no reason around a time of the year when the seasons are changing, consider Seasonal Affective Disorder as a potential cause.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by depression-like symptoms that come and go in time with seasonal changes.
SAD is often referred to as ‘Winter depression’ because most people experience it when the weather gets colder and the days start to get darker.
However, it’s also possible to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder during the Summer months.
3. Hormone Fluctuations
Shifts in our hormones can cause a wide range of emotions seemingly out of the blue, from anger to sadness.
Significant hormone fluctuations are often linked to the menstrual cycle, including pregnancy or menopause.
If you’re someone who menstruates on a monthly basis, it might be worth checking what stage you’re at in your cycle since feelings of sadness and unexplained tearfulness can be linked to lower levels of progesterone leading up to menstruation, which lowers serotonin levels, causing feelings of sadness.
In men, lower than average levels of testosterone can cause feelings of sadness and even depression.
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink to unwind now and again, but if you find that you’re often feeling sad without an obvious explanation, it might be worth thinking about your use of alcohol.
Alcohol is a depressant, so it interferes with the levels of ‘happy hormones’ (serotonin and dopamine) in your brain.
This means that towards the end of the night, or the next morning, you might feel unusually sad, and if you don’t know that alcohol can have this effect on your brain, you might write this sadness off as being ‘for no reason’.
What To Do If You Feel Sad For No Reason
1. Reach Out
While it can be good to have some time to introspect on why you might be feeling sad, you shouldn’t be all alone with your feelings.
Reach out to a trusted family member or friend and let them know how you’re feeling.
Not only will this ensure that you’re not alone with difficult thoughts or emotions, but your chosen friend or family member may be able to impart useful advice or bring some perspective to the situation.
2. Be Gentle With Yourself
If you can’t identify why you’re feeling sad, you may find yourself being harsh on yourself, telling yourself to ‘just get over it’ or that ‘other people have it worse’.
However, the best thing to do when you’re feeling sad, even if it’s for no reason, is to be gentle with yourself.
Accept and acknowledge your emotions first, and then practice self-care.
Self-care looks different for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be face masks and candles.
It could be as simple as taking a hot shower and changing into clean, comfortable clothes, or cooking a delicious meal for yourself.
Just take some time to meet your basic needs and take the pressure off yourself.
3. Get Some Exercise
Exercise is known to release endorphins, which help to boost your mood. Similarly, getting outside in the fresh air can help to clear your mind and shift your perspective.
So, if you’re feeling sad and don’t know why, one of the best things you can do is go for a walk or even a run.
4. Limit Mood Altering Substances
As we discussed earlier, alcohol can bring down your mood, so if you’re feeling sad for no reason, try to avoid alcohol and any other mood altering substances.
5. Try Gratitude Journaling
The purpose of gratitude journaling for sadness isn’t to guilt yourself into cheering up, but rather to boost your mood by reminding yourself of things that bring you joy.
Try writing down just three things you’re grateful for or that bring a smile to your face and see if that helps you to feel better.
6. Seek Professional Help
If you suspect that your sadness may be a symptom of depression, please reach out to a professional.
Speaking to a friend or family member first is a good idea if you’re anxious about seeking help.
The best place to start is by contacting your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and refer you to mental health support if necessary.
However, if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Feeling sad and not knowing why can be a difficult and isolating experience, but please know that your sadness is valid and that there is help available.
Unexplained sadness can be the result of natural hormone fluctuations, alcohol consumption, or a condition like depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you often feel sad for no reason, please speak to a trusted loved one or a mental health professional for further guidance.