How to stop feeling sad

Did you have a fight with your family?
Did you fail an exam?
Did you get passed over for that raise or promotion?
Maybe a friend’s words broke your heart just a little?

There are, literally, a million different things that could be responsible for you feeling sad just now. The worst one is, perhaps, when you are sad for no reason. This means there is nothing to solve or resolve. You are just feeling sad. Perhaps like the business cycle, it is the cycle of life. Your turn to be at the bottom of the Ferris wheel.

Somehow, this is even worse than when there is a reason, isn’t it? Perhaps because, when you can point your finger at someone or something – the CAUSE, there is some hope or possibility to beat the sadness.

Without that cause, you are at the mercy of your mood, other people and sundry events around you – aspects you cannot always control in life. And the minute you lose control, your downward spiral becomes faster and more unmanageable and can, sometimes, take you into depression.

Why do I feel sad for no reason?

Is it really for no reason? Perhaps a voice, memory, dream or sight triggered an unpleasant realization subconsciously. You might not be able to place it, but, somehow, the feeling lingers deep within, making you sad. Your senses are, probably, tapping in on your innate fear and anxiety and re-creating an unpleasant blast from the past.

To prevent the past and the future from ruining your present, try meditation. It discards the yesterdays and tomorrows and keeps you in the present.

How to get yourself out of sadness

1. Discover the ‘real’ you

Sadness has a way of making you forget that positivity, goodness and happiness exist. It cloaks you in a cloud of darkness where you start to believe that there are, simply, no positives.

Think of your mind as a dark room. Just as you feel that a dark room is empty with nothing and no one in it, your mind also feels hollow and empty when it is in the dark. It is only when you turn on the lights that you can see the abundance in your surroundings.

Similarly, you need to light your inner self to be able to discover the free and joyous you. To do this, seek knowledge that will liberate you from demotivating and depressing thoughts. Sit with your eyes closed in silence or in meditation to become aware. You will understand that sadness is the mask while the ‘real’ you is joyous and brave.

2. Take charge of your life

'Sukhasya dukhasya nakopi daata'
No one gives us pain or pleasure except our mind

When you are feeling sad, what is your reaction to it? Do you start to look for things and people to blame? If you do, you, probably, believe your sadness is because of him or her or this or that. As long as the cause is external, you cannot hope to extricate yourself from it.

On the other hand, the minute you take responsibility and acknowledge that you are allowing yourself to be sad, you can stop it. After all, you can, only, control yourself. Choose to change the course of your thoughts because you, and only you, can.

3. Drop the desire

If you analyze just why these events (listed right at the beginning) made you sad, you will find a common thread that links them all – desire. The desire for approval, appreciation, success, attention, money, love…the list is endless.

As long as you have the seed of desire in you, you are vulnerable to feeling sad and disappointed at any point in time. So, free yourself from the expectation. It might seem difficult at first, but when the weight of the invisible burden leaves your shoulders, you will not want to look back! It will be the beginning of an easier and happier existence for you, where you can experience the abundance around you.

4. Surrender your sadness

You might have observed your inclination to be Mr./Ms. Fix-it – endlessly racking your head to try to solve your problems. You may not realize it, but problems are not linear with a fixed end point. They tend to go in circles, misleading and exhausting you in the process. One problem only gets replaced by another, and you will never reach that elusive last problem.

Try to give up your problem-solving mode of being and just be. Offer your issues and sadness to the cosmos, the divine or a higher power that you believe in. They will sort them for you. This is not to say that you stop trying to set things right, but don’t set a high store by the results of your efforts. Life has a way of working itself out.

5. Acknowledge blessings and be grateful

Why me? Why am I always feeling sad? What did I do? These are questions that often arise when you are unhappy and miserable. It isn’t that the solution is esoteric and, hence, beyond you. It is that, while the question has arisen in your mind, you are, still, not ready to hear the answer. When you realize this, the shackles in your mind will disappear, along with your sadness.

Have you noticed the counting game that most of us play - counting of the negatives in our lives? We get a perverse pleasure in thinking about how the odds are stacked against us. There is a mysterious power in pessimism that is best discouraged. After all, we rarely count the blessings in our lives. Perhaps this is because it makes us superstitious, nervous and wary – what if it leaves us?

It is, actually, quite the reverse. Acknowledging the positives in your life will only make you stronger. You will have confidence in your ability to attract good things. The more respectful and grateful you are for your blessings, the more they will grace your life over and over, helping you ward off and beat sadness.

6. The right diet can make the mind quiet

Chatter, chatter, chatter. Why is it so noisy right here at the top of my head? Have you experienced this? Your thoughts can be as deafening as traffic! Continuous mental noise can make you restless and sad for no reason because overthinking tends to veer towards negativity.

Like it or not, this can be a function of the diet you eat daily. You are what you eat – your thoughts are affected by what you eat. The purer and fresher your food, the more energized and positive your emotions. So, keep your diet balanced and clean.

Simple tips to beat sadness

  1. Get away from the hustle-bustle of daily life. Your own mind is your strongest anchor. Access it with meditation.  
  2. Understand that you are separate from your sadness. You are not your thoughts, or even, your mind!
  3. Don’t enjoy your sadness. Some people thrive on melodrama and melancholy. Know that being your natural, joyful self is much more stimulating than the lows of sadness.

Dwelling on sadness or ‘dukha’ can make it larger than life. When you meditate, you realize just how difficult it is to remain focussed on one single thought. So, you are putting in an extraordinary amount of work to stay true to your sadness! Instead, allow yourself to untie those mental knots and free your thoughts. You can, then, beat the unnatural sadness and move forward, as nature intended.

The Art of Living’s Happiness program, is an experience that energizes you and gets you in touch with your true self. Through a harmonious mix of yoga asanas, meditation and breathing exercises like the Sudarshan Kriya, you discover your original, joyous self. It is a simple means to stop feeling sad especially for no reason!

Learn Sudarshan Kriya - the world's most powerful breathing technique