Why am I depressed?

We all encounter moments in life that challenge us. You lose a loved one. You’re fired from your job. You’re going through a divorce. So what is the difference between someone who is happy and someone who is always thinking, “Why am I depressed?” As simple as it sounds, it all comes down to choices. 

When something terrible occurs, how do you react? Do you let your feelings of sadness define your state, or do you choose to let joy into your life? One of the most effective ways to stop wondering, “Why am I always depressed?” and start enjoying life is to realize that you control your emotions – not your circumstances, not your experiences, not other people. You. 

Feeling depressed from time to time is completely normal, but you don’t want to exist in that state of mind all the time. As Tony Robbins says, “If you’re going to make a change, you’re going to have to operate from a new belief that says life happens not to me, but for me.” Are you wondering what to do when you’re feeling depressed? You can adjust your mindset and alter your state.

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What causes you to feel depressed?

Human emotion is a powerful driving force. Without emotion, we wouldn’t have war, suffering or sadness. We also wouldn’t have extraordinary love, friendship and joy. To understand the answer to the question, “Why am I depressed?” you must understand emotion.

We aren’t programmed to be happy or unhappy. Our emotions are caused by outside events, which then trigger certain responses in our bodies and behavior. While you always have a choice about how you feel, there are three common causes of suffering that could be holding you back from happiness.

1. Loss

You’re grappling with a sense of loss. Whether you’ve lost a close friend or family member, lost your job or have ended an important relationship, this experience has caused you to suffer. But what if instead of letting the idea of loss or missing out on something consume you, you viewed this loss in a positive way. It goes back to the idea that life is happening for you, instead of to you. What if you used this difficult situation to go after something you really want, instead of existing in a state of depression?


2. Less


You’re feeling depressed because you can’t accept the idea of having “less.” Whether you’re comparing your current state to your previous state and feel like you have fewer resources, less joy or less success, you’ll ultimately feel down. Likewise, if you compare yourself to those around you and feel you’re coming up short, you will feel depressed. One way to combat this is to look at all the things in your life you have to be grateful for, instead of honing in on what you view as a shortcoming.

3. Never

The third and perhaps most harmful suffering trigger is the concept of never. You’re bound to feel depressed if you believe that you’ll never accomplish your goals. You’re falling into the trap of thinking you’ll never have a loving relationship, never reach success in your field or never find happiness again. None of these concepts are true – life doesn’t exist in absolutes! No one person is ever completely happy or completely unhappy, which is why the notion of “never” is so inconsequential. Tell yourself that your negative thoughts are limiting your growth, and there is nothing else contributing to the “nevers” you’re imagining.


Accepting what you can’t control

Feelings of loss, less and never are often caused by things that are outside of our control. Yet a lot of what happens to you in life will be outside of your control – the only thing you can control is how you react. Instead of allowing yourself to feel anxious or depressed, what if you embraced uncertainty with open arms? What if you accepted that life was a journey that you’re allowed to shape however you choose? 

There will certainly be both good and bad events along the road, but you’re the one responsible for how you’ll let these happenings impact your future. Choose to live in a beautiful state each and every day, and your life will prosper – even when you have to deal with challenges.

Understanding limiting beliefs

why is goal setting important

Loss, less and never are very real human emotions. When you’re dealing with suffering and death, it can be hard to view your emotions as a choice. But your beliefs create your world. You can let your experiences define you – or you can choose how you want to define them. You can sit around wondering, “Why am I depressed for no reason?” or you can understand that your depression – like any emotion – is a part of the story you tell yourself. It’s a limiting belief that is holding you back.

As humans, we’re designed to focus on surviving, and any joy we can get out of life along the way is an added bonus. As you ask yourself “Why am I feeling depressed?” think objectively about your current state. Are you doing everything you can to be happy, or are you letting feelings of sadness and grief send you further into depression? 

You have to consciously choose to change your story. Stop being the person who is always depressed. Stop telling yourself that you don’t deserve happiness. Otherwise, you’ll continue feeling depressed. And when you feel depressed, it negatively affects every aspect of your life, including your career, personal relationships and the way you view yourself. 

Training your mind

Now that you’ve acknowledged the limiting beliefs that are behind the question “Why am I depressed?” it’s time to make a change. You’ve recognized your feelings and know that you don’t want to exist in a depressed state. The next time a challenging situation arises, decide to end it. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have complete control over what happens to you, but you can adjust your reactions accordingly. You can’t completely shut negative thoughts out of your brain, but you can choose to live in a beautiful state.

Consider finding joy and gratitude in your daily life, instead of allowing yourself to be sucked into the things that cause you discomfort. If you’re dealing with something particularly devastating – like a death – grasp moments of joy when you feel them. You can appreciate a great meal or the company of a friend even on your darkest days. Once you get into the habit of training your mind to focus on the good instead of falling back on the bad, it will become easier for you to navigate these situations in the future.

Important Note

Depression is serious. With all the resources out there, just knowing where to start can be overwhelming. If you’re thinking about ending your life, call one of the suicide hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). If you have a plan to commit suicide, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. See full disclaimer.

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