Everyone feels sad sometimes, just like everyone can feel joyful, angry, proud, and plenty of other emotions. In other words, everyone has feelings, and those feelings are always changing.

Sometimes we feel happy (such as when we’re having fun) and sometimes we feel sad (such as when we lose a loved one). Whatever the feelings, it is real and part of living.

Negative emotions may even help you. Our world focuses on happiness and treats unhappiness as an unnecessary or useless feeling. But sadness can slow you down, and make you really think about your life, your feelings, and the people around you. It can help you keep sight of your relationships and dreams.

In other words, being sad doesn’t mean you are not coping with a situation. Rather, it helps you come to terms with that situation and move on. It is an important emotion that can help you adapt, accept, focus, persevere and grow.

We use different words to talk about sadness: agony, anguish, broken heart, hurt, sorrow, dejection, dismay, homesickness, distress, unhappiness, and more. All these emotions can occur in response to negative or unexpected situations, or life changes.

Sadness often occurs at the same time as other feelings, such as anger, stress, guilt, grief, anxiety, or hopelessness. Sometimes, the other feeling may be so strong that you don’t realize you are sad.

Sadness may also change how you feel emotionally. Perhaps you are teary, grumpy, bored or frustrated, or just keen to avoid other people.

But recognizing your sadness, and understanding that it is okay to feel sad is a sign of a stable sense of wellbeing.

Feeling better can involve taking one step or many. It may happen quickly or over a long time. Just remember that emotions ebb and flow, and you can move from sadness to a more positive emotion.

You may want to try some of these tips:

Have confidence that things will improve. You need to trust that your sad feelings will lessen with time and effort.

Be honest with yourself and the people around you. Talk to someone whom you trust.

Do things that you enjoy and that are good for you. Find ways to make your life more pleasurable: listen to music, go for a walk, read a book, call a friend.

Is there something you can do about the cause of your sadness?

Tackle one problem at a time. It doesn’t matter if you start with the biggest or smallest problem, just make a list and begin. If things are out of your control, talk to someone you trust about your options, or try to work on accepting the situation as it is.

Think about whether your sleep and eating patterns are good for you.

Help someone else. Just improving someone else’s life, or being part of a community, can lift your spirits.

Find a creative way to express your sadness. Writing your thoughts in a diary, for example, may help you find a new perspective.

Seek help from a professional (a doctor, psychologist, or other health professional). You may need support, advice or a referral to a specialist.

If a prescribed medication makes you feel down, let your doctor know. And talk to your doctor before taking any non-prescribed medications or complementary or alternative medicines.

Keep yourself safe. If you feel at risk of hurting yourself, let someone know immediately.