Feeling down? Got the blues? You're not alone. Everyone feels sad at times. Sad feelings can be mild or strong or in between. How sad you feel can depend on the situation that's causing the sadness and how you're coping with it.
Sadness is a natural human emotion. Like other emotions, sad feelings come and go. Some sad feelings last only a moment, some last longer. When sad feelings ease away, a happier mood can take their place.
What Do Kids Feel Sad About?
Lots of different things could cause a kid to feel sad. You might feel sad over little or big things that happen. You might (or might not) feel sad when:
Things don't go your way. Maybe something doesn't work out the way you hoped. Maybe your team lost a big game, or you got a bad grade on a test, or you didn't get picked for the play.
Your feelings get hurt. You might feel sad if someone let you down, left you out, or hurt your feelings with something he or she said.
You lose something special. Maybe you lost something that was special to you. Or maybe your favorite shirt got shrunk in the wash and now you can't wear it anymore.
You miss someone. You might feel sad when you're missing someone or have to say goodbye. Maybe your favorite friend moved to a new school, your big brother went away to college, or your parent is away in the military.
You hear about something sad. You might feel sad when you watch a sad movie, read a sad part in a book, or someone tells you about a sad thing that happened. If someone you care about is sad, you might feel sad, too.
Someone dies. It's natural to feel sad if someone dies, like a close relative, or you lose a pet. That kind of sadness has a special name — grief.
A problem makes you sad. Problems like bullying, friendship troubles, or difficult schoolwork can sometimes make kids feel sad. So can family problems — like divorce, losing a job, arguing, money problems, or health conditions.
Are Sad Feelings Normal?
It's perfectly OK to have sad feelings at times. As long as they don't happen too often or last too long, sad feelings — like all emotions — are just a natural part of life.
But it doesn't feel good to stay sad. It feels much better to be happy. So here are some things every kid should know:
- You can cope with sad things that happen.
- You can do things to ease a sad mood and feel happier.
- A positive attitude can help you through disappointments.
- Learning how to deal with sad feelings can make a big difference in your life.
How Can You Deal With Sad Feelings?
Sad feelings don't have to take over your mood or ruin your day. You can do things to help yourself feel better. You can do things to prevent sad feelings from sticking around too long or becoming too strong.
Here are some positive ways to deal with sad feelings:
Notice how you feel and why. Knowing your emotions helps you understand and accept yourself. If you feel sad, notice it — but don't dwell on it too long or give it too much drama. Just tell yourself (or someone else) that you feel sad. Try to figure out why you feel that way. Show yourself a little understanding — there's probably a good reason you feel the way you do. It's OK. Remind yourself that sadness will pass and you'll feel better.
Bounce back from disappointments or failures. When things don't go your way, don't give up! Stay in the game. There's always next time. Give yourself credit for trying. Then focus on what you need to work on and try again. Keep a positive attitude.
Think positive. Even if you're sad, think of one or two good things about yourself or your situation. Believe in yourself. Think about what you can do and how things can get better. If you didn't get something you wanted, think of something else that can make you happy. There's always something good — look for it!
Think of solutions. Coming up with ways to solve a problem or cope with a situation can help you feel strong, confident, and good about yourself. It's hard to stay sad when you're feeling so capable!
Get support. Even the most capable kids need support. The people in your life who believe in you and care (like parents, friends, and teachers) can comfort you when you feel sad. Sometimes, just listening and understanding what you're going through is enough. Sometimes they can help you work out a problem or help you think of happier things to get your mind off sadness or disappointment.
Put yourself in a good mood. Shake off a sad mood by doing things that put you in a more positive mood. Play a game or sport, ride a bike, dance or run, take a walk, make art or music, read, or spend time with someone you like. Relax, have some fun, and feel better.
Learning to deal with sad feelings takes practice. But when you do things to take care of sadness, you make room for more positive feelings. That means a happier you!
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: January 2012