Mental Health
Why Do I Feel Sad For No Reason?

Why Do I Feel Sad For No Reason?

4 min read


Jareena Silva

Why Do I Feel Sad for No Reason?

There are a number of possible explanations for why someone might feel sad for no reason. The down periods may happen for days or weeks, and for some people, these periods can be quite debilitating. There are many different reasons for feeling sadness - it could be caused by a physical or emotional imbalance, or it could be a result of a difficult time in your life. However, if you have feelings of sadness that go on for more than a few days and don't seem to have any specific trigger, then it may be time to see a doctor.

What are the signs of depression?

It's possible that you may be experiencing depression, which is a medical condition that requires treatment. Depression can cause a wide range of symptoms, including sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite, and difficulty concentrating. If you think you may be depressed, it's important to see a doctor so that you can get the help you need.

Behavioral changes or mood swings

Mood swings are a sudden change in mood and can have a large effect on day-to-day life and relationships. Mood swings are most commonly seen in people with bipolar disorder, but they may also happen in people with an anxiety disorder or depression. Mood swings can be a result of a person's environment, mental state, hormones, or medications. Whatever the cause, mood swings can be disruptive to both a person's life and the lives of those around them.

With bipolar disorder, individuals may experience symptoms of a depressive episode or a manic episode. During a manic episode, one might experience talking very fast, engaging in high-risk behavior, having sleeping issues, and having excess energy. However, on the other hand, during a depressive episode a person may experience feelings of worthlessness, have no energy, have trouble focusing, experience suicidal ideation, and experience crying spells.

Losing interest in things you used to enjoy

It can be difficult to cope with losing interest in hobbies and activities that used to be enjoyable or even your favorite thing to do. Losing interest can impact your overall health as well as your relationships, work productivity, and school performance.

What is Anhedonia?

A loss of interest is also sometimes referred to as "anhedonia". Anhedonia is defined as the inability to feel pleasure and is a common symptom of depression and other mental health disorders. Anhedonia can be classified into two types: social and physical.

Social anhedonia is when you're less motivated to want to spend time with others and socially interact. Physical anhedonia is when you don't like physical sensations such as your physical intimacy, eating your favorite foods, or doing your favorite activities.

Sleeping more or less often

Trouble sleeping or insomnia is often connected with depression. One of the common signs of depression is insomnia or an inability to fall and stay asleep. Trouble falling asleep can be linked to a number of reasons. For example, a person may stay up thinking about their obligations and commitments at work, school or in their personal life. A person may also have poor sleeping habits due to irregular bedtime schedules or having an uncomfortable sleep environment.

What is revenge bedtime procrastination?

Another reason may be "revenge bedtime procrastination", which is when someone who feels like they don't have freedom or control during the day takes 'revenge' by reclaiming their time at night and refusing to fall asleep.

Although there are many people affected by lack of sleep, there are also many people that are affected by oversleeping. Most sleep experts suggest adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. However, if you need more than 9 hours to feel well-rested, you may want to consult a doctor.

There are a few things you can do if you're experiencing insomnia such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Insomnia (CBT-I). This type of therapy aims to increase the body's connection between sleep and bed, improve sleep hygiene, and establish healthy sleeping habits.

These are also 5 things you can do tonight for a more restful sleep. However, speaking to your therapist or primary care physician is always important when wanting to learn more about healthy sleep habits.

Trouble concentrating

The inability to focus is often a common symptom of depression. This can greatly affect your overall health as people rely on concentration to get through their daily life at work or school. When it's difficult to focus on a task, it can impact your productivity and performance in your career or academic life.

If you're having trouble concentrating, you may also experience difficulty sitting still, indecision, losing things or forgetting where you placed certain items or inability to think clearly. You may also notice it's harder for you to focus at certain times of the day such as in the late afternoon or in certain settings like at your desk at work.

There are a few different things you can try to improve your focus such as:

  • Try the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time-management method that many people use at work and school. In this technique, you select one task you want to focus on and concentrate on only that task in 25-30 minute increments. After every 30 minutes, take a 2-3 minute break. Repeat this process 4 times and on your 4th break, take a 10-12 break.
  • Practice mindfulness to prevent burnout. Mindfulness is a type of meditation where a person is in an intense state of being acutely aware and present of something.
  • Make lists and set SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. By creating your goals based on this framework, it makes your projects and tasks more attainable.

Suicidal thoughts

Whether you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal ideation, it's important to seek immediate help and support. Suicidal ideation is the act of thinking or planning suicide.

Some warning signs of suicidal ideation include:

  • Talking about suicide such as using phrases like, "I wish I were dead."
  • Withdrawing from social interactions
  • Engaging in risky behavior such as substance abuse
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family as if they won't see them again

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, consult your primary care physician or mental health professional. You can also review MyWellbeing's Crisis Resources. However, if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I’m depressed?

While many people may experience sadness, not everyone experiences depression. Depression can be overwhelming and debilitating to the point where it affects your day-to-day life. If you think you may be depressed, you should talk to your primary care physician or a mental health professional.

Consult a therapist

If you believe to be depressed, it's advised to speak to your primary care physician or a mental health provider in order to be formally diagnosed. A mental health provider will be able to talk to you about your symptoms and life experiences to determine if you have depression.

If you are not yet working with a mental health provider and are looking to start, take our Get Matched Quiz to get matched with up to three providers based on preferences that are important to you.

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About the author

Jareena is MyWellbeing's Community Manager and is dedicated to supporting MyWellbeing's providers in order for them to offer the best possible care for you. Jareena is a mental health advocate and aims to identify ways to destigmatize discussions around mental health and how to make care more accessible.

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