Why do we feel bad?

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Last Medical Review: March 31, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Elisabeth Vincent Hamelin
How to Stop Feeling Bad (March 31, 2020)

It is common to feel bad from time to time. There is much that you can do yourself to feel better if you feel anxious, sad or stressed. Sometimes you can take care of yourself and your body. You may also need to talk to someone to feel better again.

This text is primarily aimed at those over the age of eighteen. You who are under eighteen years old can read more about  feeling bad here.

It is common to feel bad sometimes

Most people feel sad, tired, frustrated, disappointed, angry or alone sometimes. Some feel this way often, others less often. It is nothing wrong to feel negative emotions, it is just as right as feeling positive emotions.

It is difficult to directly change how you feel. Your feelings are influenced by what you do, what situations you are in and how you think about yourself and things that happen in your life. These factors are easier to influence.

What can you do yourself?

There is much you can do yourself to increase your resistance to feeling bad. It can also help you manage adversity.

Give yourself enough sleep and rest

Your resilience to stress and anxiety increases if you sleep well. In order to get a good sleep, it is important that you give yourself enough time to be calm before going to bed. It can be a good routine to turn off screens and not be disturbed for the hour or hours before going to sleep.

It is good if you can have a daily rhythm so you are awake and active during the day and sleep during the dark hours of the day, if you have the opportunity. If you have trouble sleeping, it can be good to do things that make your body relax. Often, the cause of the sleep difficulties can be treated, so it is important that you contact a health care center if you have had sleep problems for more than four weeks.

Take care of the body

The fact that you take care of yourself physically affects how you feel mentally. You need to eat well, rest and move regularly to make your body feel good. The same goes for your mental health.

Regular routines can give you confidence and increase your resilience to stress and depression, for example. It is good to  eat healthy  and move regularly. As you move so that your heart rate increases, substances in your body are formed that make you calm and that make you feel better. Other activities that can make you feel good are physical touch and physical warmth.

Do things that make you feel good

When you feel bad, it can feel like nothing is meaningful or really fun. Although it can be hard to do, it is usually good to do things that you have previously liked. Such as you associate with feeling good. You may ask yourself: What do I need right now? When did I feel really good last? What did I do then? Then try to do just that.

Many people place high demands on themselves. It often leads to feelings of dissatisfaction. Try to do less of what you think you should or should, and more of what you long for.

Do not numb feelings with alcohol

Deaf feelings with alcohol are never a good alternative, although the feelings may be temporarily mild. Alcohol degrades the quality of sleep and it is common to feel anxiety when the alcohol goes out of the body. Drinking a lot or often tends to make you feel worse over time. Alcohol can also make the feeling of anxiety or depression worse in the moment.

Find ways to express yourself

By expressing your thoughts and feelings you can gain new perspectives that can make you feel better. For example, it can be telling, writing, painting, singing or playing an instrument.

Sense of meaning and context can help

Affiliation with family and friends is an important support, but community in associations, congregations and groups or online forums can also provide meaningful support. It can be a source of inspiration and power to gain and give appreciation and share their experiences.

It is common to isolate yourself when you are feeling ill. It can feel hard to meet others and show up when you are not feeling well. Giving yourself time to grieve and be at peace can be good, but not for long. Then you may lose out on the support that the surroundings can provide.

Why am I feeling bad?

There are many different reasons for feeling sad, anxious or stressed. Sometimes you know why you’re feeling bad, sometimes you don’t know.


You may feel stressed if you have a lot to do and too little time, but also if you feel you have too high demands and expectations on you.

Stress is a natural reaction in the body and is good if you need to do something fast or in a hurry. But if you are stressed often or do not have time to recover, stress can be a problem.

For example, you get recovery from sleeping and resting, but also through positive activities such as meeting people you like, doing fun things and touching your body.


If you have lost something or someone, you may need to mourn what has happened. It may take time to grieve, but it will help you process and accept. Grieving takes different time for different people. Some may need to talk about what has happened a lot and take a long time. Others come over the grief earlier.

It may be that the grief remains for life. Often your feelings change over time and it can be easier to accept what has happened.


A crisis can be a reaction to an event or a change in your life. It can be a sudden event that you have not been able to prepare for. It may also be something that you have been living with for a while.

You may end up in a crisis of various changes. It does not have to be about negative changes. Also, positive changes can make you in crisis. It is change itself that leads to the crisis, not that which has changed.

It is common to feel emptiness and despair during a crisis. You may also feel alone, abandoned, or feel that you have lost power over your life.

When you are in crisis you need moments when the emotions get to rest. For example, it may be playing or listening to music. It can also be painting, writing, taking a bath or taking a walk in nature.

A crisis need not lead to life getting worse, sometimes the crisis can be an opportunity for a change for the better.


Everybody feels depressed every now and then. When you are down, you may feel very bad and it may feel like it will always be so. Then it can be good to keep in mind that depression is usually over, although it can sometimes take a while.

There is nothing wrong with being sad, it is as right as being happy. You don’t need to be afraid of feeling negative feelings and having negative thoughts. It can feel better if you allow yourself to cry and be as sad as you feel.


Depression is something other than being sad and down temporarily. It can be a depression if you are constantly feeling very sad and depressed for several weeks.

Concern and anxiety

Anxiety  is a strong feeling of worry and fear. Anxiety can feel very strong in the body and it can be difficult to understand that what you are feeling is something mental. It can be very unpleasant to anxiety but it is not physically dangerous for you.

Panic attacks

Anxiety that comes suddenly and unexpectedly is called panic anxiety, panic attack or anxiety attack.

It may be good to talk to someone

It is good to talk to someone who is listening. It may be a close relative, friend or someone else you trust.

You may be going through a crisis, need to process something that has happened or make a change. You may be worried about a relative who has a serious problem. It can be difficult to handle such situations alone, then you may need support from others. There are several organizations that offer  advice and support on chat or phone.

When should I seek care?

Contact a health center or psychiatric outpatient clinic if you have been down for at least two weeks and have other symptoms of depression.

If you have such strong anxiety that you have difficulty coping with everyday life, you need help. Contact a health care center first.

If you are under 25, you can contact a youth reception . If you attend elementary or high school, you can contact student health. If you are studying at a university or university, you can contact the student health if anxiety is related to the studies or the university or the university.

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