How to Cheer up a Sad Friend

Sadness is a natural human emotion. Depending on circumstances, melancholy moods may last for a day, a week or months. Fluctuating hormones, life events or chemical imbalances are all factors that might trigger the onset mood changes. Whether a normal reaction to a situation or a chronic mental condition, friends can often be an uplifting influence.

Ask Questions

You may or may not be able to lighten the mood until you learn more about the circumstances that led to the sadness. The friend may have just experienced the ending of a romantic relationship, had a particularly grueling day at work or is suffering from clinical depression. Most conversations begin by asking what is wrong. Ask what caused the problem. Determine how long he or she has been feeling down. How severe is the sadness? Are they willing to go out to eat or enjoy another activity to escape a self-imposed seclusion? Is your friend considering self-harm?

Possible Solutions

Family members and friends often know loved ones well enough to offer helpful feedback. Do they have a family history of depression or thyroid disorders that might be contributing to the problem? Perhaps they do not realize that they are trapped in a thankless dead end job. Maybe they are suffering emotional, psychological or physical abuse at the hands of another. There may be other contributing factors that you see, which may lead to a helpful solution.

Stress Elimination

Sadness or depression may have a root in your friend having to endure an ongoing stressful situation. In addition to the outward signs caused by their mood, heightened levels of cortisol continue flowing through their body and degrade overall health in time. Help your friend make lifestyle choices that benefit their current situation and improve emotional and physical health. Do they simply need to get out and have fun every once in awhile? Should they consider a different job? In the mean time, guide them toward lifestyle changes that enable their body to better handle or alleviate stress. Make dietary suggestions to ensure that they are eating a healthy diet. Encourage them to join you for routine walks or participate in an exercise class. Take them to a spa to get a massage.

Encouraging Support

Though your friend may feel overwhelmed by their current situation, you may see someone who demonstrates unusual inner strength. Share this knowledge with them. Talk about their past accomplishments and victories. Researchers found that humor improves physical, emotional and psychological health. Recall humorous situations with your friend or watch a funny movie. Get them to laugh so the healing may begin. Provide the much needed glimmer of hope. Assure them that the circumstances are simply temporary and that better times will come.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Cheer up a Sad Friend," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 18, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-cheer-up-a-sad-friend/ (accessed July 22, 2019).
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