If You're Feeling Sad, Ask Yourself These Questions

Did you know there's an inner sage waiting to tell you why you're feeling sad? Read on to find out more!
If You're Feeling Sad, Ask Yourself These Questions
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 21 February, 2022

Within each of us, there’s a sage waiting to speak. If you’re feeling sad, then that inner sage probably wants to tell you something, but you’re not allowing yourself to hear it. Today, we share some questions you should ask yourself to help you hear it.

Sometimes, you’re simply feeling sad. You look for reasons, but you can’t find them. Life fails to arouse your interest and you’re not enthusiastic about anything. You just let yourself go as if time were a freshly waxed floor.

Other times you’re sad, but you know the reasons. It might be due to a loss, a failure, a disappointment, or many other things. The situation bears down so strongly on you that you can’t get rid of the feeling of sadness.

Questions to ask yourself regarding why you’re feeling sad

There are moments in life when sadness is inevitable. However, there are other times when you could brush it aside, but you don’t know how to or maybe you even want to keep feeling it and feeding it. So, if you’re sad, it’s worth asking yourself some questions that could help you.

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”

-Khalil Gibran-

Have I done something I feel guilty about?

There are frequent cases where sadness doesn’t dissipate because guilt is sustaining it. The worst part is that, in many cases, guilt is only imaginary. It’s nothing to do with actual guilt on your part, but rather with a fantasy that we haven’t yet identified or given much thought to.

Guilt often surrounds us due to an event that has negatively affected others or ourselves. That’s when you start to mull over things that you haven’t managed to take in. You let them spin a and around in your head and you don’t know how to deal with the situation.

A sad woman in bed.

Am I being true to my wishes?

Another frequent reason for sadness, especially when you can’t identify a specific cause, is dissonance. For one reason or another, you’ve betrayed your desires, your dreams, or your affections.

This causes a feeling of distress deep inside you. The sadness is the outward expression of that inner reproach. Deep down, it isn’t exactly sadness that you feel. Instead, you’re upset and annoyed with yourself. You’re still a prisoner of a situation in which you want something, but you do something entirely different.

Am I loyal to my convictions?

This is similar to the previous question. However, in this case, the emphasis is on the contradiction between what you consciously think and what you do. Perhaps, for example, you’ve witnessed an injustice, but you didn’t challenge or confront it out of fear, negligence, or insecurity.

Perhaps you’ve given in to another person’s idea, action, or point of view simply because you were afraid of going against the flow. Deep down, however, you know that this clashes with your true beliefs. This leads you to be annoyed with yourself, and, as in the previous case, this reproach takes the form of sadness.

A woman hugging a pillow.

Have I slept and eaten well?

Being sad isn’t always related to emotions or thoughts. Quite often, it has to do with an overlydemanding lifestyle or if you simply aren’t looking after yourself properly. Fatigue and poor nutrition also lead to sadness, especially when it’s prolonged over a long period of time.

Lack of rest significantly affects our emotions. The mere fact of not sleeping enough makes us see everything around us as dull and lifeless. Similarly, when we don’t eat properly, our brain also suffers from a lack of nutrients, making us more irritable and depressive as a result.

What would make me feel better?

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself when you’re sad. Sometimes, it’s not easy to find the answers to your questions, but this one is usually within your reach.

In the short term, perhaps a simple action such as relaxing a little, taking a walk, or moving away from a certain environment. In the long term, the right option might be to change jobs, resolve pending issues with your partner, or go see a counselor.

Feeling sad, as such, is neither bad nor good. It’s something we’ll all experience, either now or in the future. It’s also a feeling that comes back time and time again, and you’ll often feel that it never leaves you. The time has come to stop and try to identify its origin.

Perhaps, there’s something that’s struggling to come to the surface and, if you let it out, you might feel better.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Franco, B. E. R., & Aragón, R. S. (2010). Rastreando en el pasado… formas de regular la felicidad, la tristeza, el amor, el enojo y el miedo. Universitas psychologica, 9(1), 179-197.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.