Why Do We Sometimes Feel Sad For No Reason?

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Do you ever want to sit down and cry for hours for no reason at all? Do you feel blue or broken, as though you have no interest in doing anything? This is a situation when you feel sad for either no particular reason or many reasons! The bottom line is sadness is addictive. And you need to save yourself from this addiction! We often feel sad, but do nothing about it, since we think that we deserve bad things and indulge ourselves in thinking about things we cannot change.

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home. (fizkes)s
Once you’re used to being sad, it seems that sorrow pulls you in even deeper. (Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock)

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Does This Sadness Have A Term For It?


To date, there is no widely accepted word to describe the feeling of “sadness for no reason”, although it’s experienced by countless people, regardless of their age group or gender.

However, there is a term that can sum up this sadness in a word: Hypophrenia, which is defined as a “vague feeling of sadness without any cause”. The problem is that the scientific-medical definition of Hypophrenia roughly means “mentally retarded”, which has a negative cultural connotation that isn’t directly related to the symptoms being described here.

So, just as there is no defined reason for this sadness, there’s no fixed term for this sadness either!

If We Feel Sad For No Reason, Can There Still Be A Reason Behind It?

We often don’t realise that we carry the burden of countless past experiences in our subconscious, many of which can be triggered at any point, causing us to feel sad. Our brains store a ton of information and memory, so we can’t possibly know when some auditory or visual stimulation will trigger that neuronal nostalgia. At the point of a triggering moment, we aren’t aware of what memory our body is remembering, but we feel the heaviness of sadness in us.

Silhouette of young woman sitting alone on back side outdoor at tropical island beach missing boyfriend and family in summer sunset. Sad and lonely concept in dark and vintage tone. - Image( AePatt Journey)
Is there a reason behind such sadness? (Photo Credit: AePatt Journey/Shutterstock)

The grief can be so powerful that it may easily distract you from the activity you’re doing; it might make you overthink, become sad and lazy, or even break down and cry. Not knowing where this sadness is coming from can be extremely exhausting.

What Are The Types Of Experiences That Can Trigger This Sadness?

There can be many types of experiences that are subjective to everyone. People often connect their sadness to other people and try to find their happiness in others. They become so dependent on another individual that they forget they have a life of their own! This dependence is a common cause of disappointment and pain.

Trust takes years to build, but only seconds to break. When your trust is broken by someone very close to you or someone you’re in a relationship with, it becomes difficult for you to trust anyone else after that. You develop “trust issues”, which stop you from believing what people say. Having trust issues is not a small problem that you can keep within yourself. You need to maintain a balance of trusting people, as well as knowing who to trust.

Indoor shot of insecure worried young cute woman in glasses with brown hair pulling collar of sweater on nose and frowning nervously as looking scared at camera, posing anxious over gray background - Image( Cookie Studio)s
Insecurity often leads to hardship when it is time to let go and can induce extreme levels of self-doubt. (Photo Credit: Cookie Studio/Shutterstock)

We may also develop a feeling of sincere regret. We regret trusting the person and wish that we could have known their intentions from the very beginning. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch a trailer of someone’s purpose in our lives before getting to know them? Our life would be so much simpler that way! Regrets are carried within us for things that we have done, as well as the harm that others have caused us. We may even get to the point of feeling that we deserve this sadness, as though we’re only worth the sorrow, but nothing else. You tend to lead yourself into loneliness, alienation and isolation.

At this stage, you might want to stay away from people, abandon social media, and choose to stay in bed at home for days! When you feel that there’s no point in getting close to others since they will only leave.

There’s a feeling of emptiness in you that won’t go away, no matter how hard you try. Whether you’re with people or not, you still feel alone, self-absorbed and insulated from commitments. You may feel as if no one makes you a priority, no one needs you, and even if they do, they will only leave you eventually. It’s not reality talking to you, but your head!

If you’re sensitive and take everything to your heart, you may always worry and overthink what others tell you, think about you or say about you! Do you believe that, since everyone has someone better in their lives, they don’t need you? DON’T FALL FOR IT.

If you’re an empathetic person, you’re more likely to feel sad, since you so often put yourself in other people’s shoes. You think about your pain, and what others are going through. When you are so invested in helping others, you often mask your feelings and stop considering your mental health. You may feel this sadness and keep it all to yourself, without letting it out to anyone, because your overthinking brain kicks in and tells you that “you will bother/annoy them with your problems”.

A cocktail of psychological dilemmas burden the mind and body equally (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Other reasons that cause such sadness in you include traumatic experiences, many of which start in childhood but may keep triggering you. An unlikely past event can also make you sad, such as abusive relations, loss of someone very close to you; this can make you feel depressed for a long time.

The grief, the memories you carry within yourself, can be triggered at any time. Sadness is also felt when you carry guilt in your heart about something. When you know that you have done something terrible, and can’t go back to change what has happened, there is a certain sadness that makes you feel angry at yourself? It makes you blame yourself for every painful aspect of your life.

Sadness also depends on perception. A breakup might affect someone so much that they might want to take their own life, whereas someone else might cope with it and move on. Perception refers to how much you let the situation affect you, whether the case dominates your emotions or if you control the situation and feelings. Social factors like your parents, peers and even broader society put various restrictions on you, which can make you feel sad and controlled by other forces. Authority and forceful restrictions do affect mental health. Sadness is also affected by the people you surround yourself with. When you’re with toxic and pessimistic people, they will spread their negativity to you. You need to stay away from such people!

Also Read: Why Do We Like Listening To Sad Music?

How Do Gender And Age Affect Sadness?

Sadness can also be caused by various hormonal changes, especially in females, when they go through their menstrual cycle or menopause. This causes changes in their mood, often making them feel sad. When this gets more serious, it leads to PMS Depression. Men often feel sadness, but many believe that they need to embody “manhood” and therefore can’t cry in front of people. This is why they mask their emotions and keep it all to themselves, which opens them up to be triggered later. Low dopamine and serotonin levels will similarly cause us to feel sad.

Age is yet another factor behind sadness; for example, in adolescence and old age, depression is more visible and unpredictable. People in their late adulthood often need high levels of support, care and company, just like an infant. That’s when sadness can kick in due to the lack of support and necessary care.

The side effects of certain medicines or drugs, alcohol consumption, or tranquillisers can just as readily influence sadness.

Also Read: Why Do People Feel Nostalgic And How Does It Affect Them?


After identifying the various reasons behind sadness, we can conclude that despite the moments that we feel sad for no reason, there is typically a memory or experience that triggers us, leading to the state of sadness.

The way to cope with this is to talk to a professional or seek catharsis—the discharge of emotional tension and releasing what is bottled up inside. “Working through” is another process where you can talk about your issue to someone else. They can then repeat and elaborate on what you’ve said to achieve a better state of mental health. Knowing who you can trust and who you should avoid is gravely important.

Don’t let your insecurities and penchant for overthinking control you. Try to forget or distract yourself if you find yourself overthinking about the past. It is in the past for a reason, and cannot be changed. What can be changed is the future, which will depend on how you lead your life. Try your best to be positive and surround yourself with people who are right for your mental health. The essential step to happiness is to learn and accept yourself the way you are. Life is a test and a challenge, and you will inevitably face loss and rejection. No one is promised a smooth ride through existence.

However, never forget, “Life doesn’t stop at a single situation or for a single person. Life is about moving on.”

References (click to expand)
  1. Coleman, J. C. (1960). Personality dynamics and effective behavior. Scott, Foresman
  2. Carlson J. G.,& Hatfield E. (1992). Psychology of Emotion. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers
  3. Stuijfzand, S., De Wied, M., Kempes, M., Van de Graaff, J., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2016, June 27). Gender Differences in Empathic Sadness towards Persons of the Same- versus Other-sex during Adolescence. Sex Roles. Springer Science and Business Media LLC.
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