Feeling sad

Everyone feels sad sometimes. Sadness is a very important emotion because it can help motivate you to do something about a distressing situation. You may feel sad for many reasons, like:

  • you have been disappointed
  • you have been rejected
  • you have been ignored
  • you have been misunderstood
  • you haven't achieved your goals
  • you lose something important to you like a loved one or your self-confidence

You can help yourself cope with sadness by learning about what makes you feel sad, becoming aware of how you deal with your sadness and expressing your sadness.

If you are sad you may just feel a little blue or you may feel so low that you find it hard to get out of bed or talk to other people. It's normal and healthy to feel sad from time to time but if you are feeling sad most of the time you may have depression.

If you think you might have depression please talk to a trusted adult. Depression does not go away on its own and only a doctor can diagnose it. For more information about depression please see Depression or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

What makes you feel sad?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What makes you sad?
  • How does your body feel when you are sad?
    • You might feel a burning behind your eyes that travels down through your body
    • You might feel like curling into a ball

Try some of the following ideas to identify things that make you feel sad:

  • Write a list of the things and situations that make you sad.
  • Write a list of the physical cues your body gives you to let you know when you are getting sad.
  • Write a list of the thoughts, images and feelings that come to mind when you imagine being sad or when you imagine other people being sad.

How do you deal with your sadness?

Think about how you deal with your sad feelings. Do you...

  • Withdraw into yourself to give yourself time to grieve the loss?
  • Get support by reaching out for comfort?

When people feel sad they often want to withdraw into themselves to give themselves time to recover from the loss. This might mean spending some time alone doing something that you find soothing, like listening to soft, calming music.

Other ideas that you might find soothing include:

  • Hold a pillow or stuffed animal
  • Spend time with a pet
  • Picture the face of someone warm and caring; imagine hearing that person’s voice

While spending some time alone can be healthy, if you have too much alone time it can make you feel worse. If you find that you’re withdrawing to the point where you’re spending a lot of time alone, this could be a sign of depression, and it might be time to reach out for help.

Another way of coping with sadness is to reach out to others for comfort. This might mean calling a friend or letting a family member know what’s going on. It could also mean calling Kids Help Phone. Reaching out can remind you that you don’t have to go through this experience alone.

Expressing your sadness

Sad feelings can be painful and overwhelming. Sometimes it can feel like the sadness will take over if you let yourself feel it. But avoiding the pain can prolong your suffering or make your sad feelings worse. If you can allow yourself to feel sad and express your sadness you are more likely to find healing and relief.

Here are a few ways to express your sadness:

  • Vocalize sad feelings - cry, yell, wail, sob, moan
  • Draw, paint or sculpt to express your sadness
  • Find music that reflects your sadness - express your sadness through dance if you feel like it
  • Write about your sadness - keep a sadness diary
  • Think about who you wish you could share your sadness with and picture yourself talking to this person – have an imaginary conversation with them
    • Share your sad feelings with someone – remember that you can always call a Kids Help Phone counsellor – we’re here to listen 24/7
    • Sadness is an emotion that can make us feel vulnerable. It’s important to be gentle with yourself if you’re feeling really sad. Be patient with yourself and treat yourself with kindness. Give yourself time to recover from the loss.

Sometimes sadness can feel overwhelming if you try to deal with it alone. It's a good idea to get support if you are feeling sad. Talk to someone you can trust, and remember that you can always call a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868.

Last Reviewed August 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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