It is surprisingly common for people to feel sad for long periods of time without knowing the reason for their sadness. If your aunt, or your pet goldfish, died recently, or your boyfriend dumped you, at least you know why you are sad. You may not like the feeling, but at least you know the cause and have a specific issue to deal with.
However, when your sadness is generalized, continuing, and has no obvious cause, you need to look deeper at what is going on. Ask yourself these five questions.
1. Have you ever considered suicide or harming yourself in any way? If you have, you must get professional help at once. This is more than a casual sadness and a skilled professional can help.
2. What activities bring you joy? If you can't write down at least several activities you enjoy, your sadness probably relates to an emptiness - a need to have an enjoyable focus to your life.
3. How often do you engage in activities that bring you joy? If you can identify activities that you enjoy, but seldom spend time in those activities, your sadness again is an emptiness, being unfulfilled.
4. What are you committed to? What do you fervently believe in? The absence of a strong commitment to a cause or a set of ideals can lead to continuing sadness. A fulfilling commitment could be a dedication to your Higher Power, but it could also be a commitment to world peace, ending hunger in your own town, or becoming a concert pianist.
5. Who are you committed to helping? The path to happiness is usually found in helping others. Compassion and generosity of your time and love lead out of sadness into happiness.
by Jonathan Huie