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How to Stop Being Sad: 15 Steps to Alter Your Sad State of Mind

how to stop being sad

No one escapes life without sadness. If you find the dark cloud more than the silver lining, it’s time to learn how to stop being sad.

This topic, how to stop being sad, called out to me. It has been nearly a decade since I lost my husband and best friend to cancer. There are days when my life goes along just fine, and then something reminds me of him or our life. I am suddenly devastated beyond repair. There is a sadness that simply won’t vacate my soul.

I wish that I had the magic pill, button, or phrase to make hurt vacate your soul, but I don’t. All I know is that happiness and sadness are in the same class. Just like the closest thing to love is hate, the closest thing to happiness is sadness. It is just a matter of degrees.

There is never going to be a time in your life when everything is hunky dory *do they even say that anymore?*. But, life is way too short to walk through it sad all the time.

How to stop being sad – 15 steps to walk your way out

Some of us are hit with way more adversity than others. Some handle it while others can’t. The key to knowing how to stop being sad is knowing that nothing lasts forever, which is a good thing. Sadness and joy both come and go. It is all about riding out the bad and looking forward to the joy.

#1 Anticipate the valleys among the peaks. To understand the secret behind knowing how to stop being sad, remember that life is full of peaks and valleys. What I mean by that is that no one lives a life always joyous. But, in the same respect, no one lives one that is full of nothing but sadness.

Like a camel, you save up the happiness and joyous times in your life to ride out the valleys. If you want to overcome sadness, then learn to manage and recognize the good so that the bad can’t outweigh times of bliss. [Read: 20 mood-boosting things to do when you feel down]

#2 Know that no feeling lasts forever. When you are sad, it is a temporary feeling unless you allow it to consume you. Whatever drives your sadness, acknowledge that nothing lasts forever unless you let it.

Only you keep yourself stuck in whatever drives your feelings of despair. If you know that the sun will shine again, then sadness is only fleeting and easy to ride out. Like a rain cloud, before you know it, it will be gone, and you will find the sunshine again.

#3 Find the silver lining, it is ALWAYS there. Where there is stormy weather, there is likely a rainbow. Whatever sad experiences you endure in life, there is always something to take and learn from it.

It might not always be readily available, and sometimes you must seek it out. But, in every bad situation, there is always a lesson. It just takes some training to recognize it and learn from it. [Read: 20 ways to draw happiness from within]

#4 Know that there is always someone worse off. I had a daughter and a husband with cancer and what I can say to you is that no matter how low or sad you feel, take comfort in knowing there is always someone worse off than you.

That is not a “move on, you aren’t the worst off in the world” statement that negates your pain. That is merely a fact. Whatever drives your sadness, it isn’t nearly as bad as what other people worse off endure. Take the goodness that you can find, and realize that life can always be worse. Enjoy what you have, even if it doesn’t seem all too great at the moment.

#5 Recognize that without sadness you couldn’t experience joy. If you had everything go right all the time and your life was perfect, you know what? You wouldn’t have a clue that you were even happy. You have to know what sadness is to recognize joy. Without the contrast, everything is just monotone.

Being unhappy is never fun, but not ever knowing what happiness is because that is all you have ever experienced is like seeing in only black and white. Without rough times you have no idea what you miss or how wonderful things can be.

#6 Find humor in the un-humorous. If you are sad, then you are probably not seeing the humor in life. Even in the most un-humorous of times, you can find some laughter. Laughter is not only the best medicine; it is the thing that makes sad times bearable. Find your humanity by finding the humor or even irony in how bad things feel and seem right now.

#7 Don’t ever take anything too seriously. The reason why we find ourselves stuck in sadness is that we take the things that don’t mean much too seriously. Sure, whatever goes on right now might be super bad, but if you are stuck in it, then it just might be that you take everything that comes your way, way too seriously.

You only get one go around here, so staying stuck by not letting things go, isn’t doing you any favors.

#8 Let go of baggage. If you feel perpetually sad, then there is a good likelihood that you hold onto things that aren’t your responsibility. Like carrying around a backpack of grievances, if you aren’t making peace with or forgiving things in your past, then it is nearly impossible to find happiness.

If you let your past cloud your future, then you aren’t ever going to find the joy and peace you crave. Put the backpack down, hell, burn it, and learn to forgive and forget to make your sadness disappear. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited about the future]

#9 Stop trying to control everything. One of the biggest things that makes you sad is feeling like you must control everything. Unfortunately, life isn’t controllable, and the sooner you recognize that and learn to roll with it, the happier you will be.

Sadness comes from the despair you feel by feeling out of control and helpless. You aren’t helpless, nor can you control things from happening in your life. If you just say, “fuck it,” and let life do what it is going to do, you will find sadness is a wasted feeling.

#10 Change what you can and know when you can’t. Sometimes you get caught in the sad zone feeling like it is your responsibility to make everything okay. When it isn’t, then you start to feel responsible.

Make sure you have a good handle on the things within your power and the things that aren’t, or you are going to make yourself miserable failing at trying to change things that can’t be altered.

#11 Volunteer. If you want to know how to stop being sad, start with volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to lose your sadness. Not only does helping someone make you feel good, but it also shows you that whatever you have going on is nothing compared to what others deal with. Volunteering just puts everything into perspective and helps you get out of your sad funk. [Read: 17 feel-good ways to make yourself feel better]

#12 Sadness chases sadness away. Sometimes finding someone in the same boat, and just as sad helps you to chase it away. Knowing you are not alone and that everyone goes through the same stupid shit is the best cure for sadness there is. Feeling less alone helps you feel way less unhappy.

#13 Figure out what benefit you get from your sadness. Sometimes we feel sad because we gain some personal benefit from keeping ourselves stuck in sadness. If you feel as if you deserve to be sad, then you drive it. Sadness doesn’t stem from nothing, and if you are perpetually there, then you gain something from it.

The only way to overcome it is to recognize that the feeling isn’t getting you the result you hoped for and to let it go. We perform habitual behaviors and have perpetual thoughts because we gain some personal benefit from them. If you figure out what it is, then you find your way to happy.

#14 Find the source driving it. Sometimes we stay sad because we don’t want to deal with or acknowledge what drives our sadness. Constantly pushing things away instead of confronting them head on is never a good way to go through life.

If you find the origin of your sadness and work through it instead of taking the avoidance route, you will find sunny days ahead. [Read: How to make peace a state of mind]

#15 Make a commitment to change. Sadness can be a rut. Nothing is harder to break out of than a rut. Staying stuck is much easier than finding a way to break out or change. If you truly want not to be sad anymore, then the only one who can change it is you.

Sometimes we say we want something, but we really don’t. Only you can make the commitment to change what isn’t working and move on. No one else is responsible or able to change your emotional state but you.

[Read: How to change your life and find your happiness]

Life comes with drama all on its own. It doesn’t need your help. Nothing lasts forever and that is the key for understanding how to stop being sad, so if you drag out the sad, stop, drop the backpack of dread and move on.

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Julie Keating
Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

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