The Mindful Survey: How Blue Are You?

Highlights from our reader survey on sadness.

Illustration by The Noun Project

Are you more susceptible to sadness in the day or at night?

53% DAY, 47% NIGHT

How do you react to sadness?


Do you ever feel sad for no reason?

50% Say they rarely feel sad for no reason, and 39% feel inexplicable sadness somewhat often. 8% say they are never sad for no reason, while 3% are all the time.

Do you believe life is inherently sad?

71% NO, 29% YES

What’s one thing you won’t do because it makes you too sad?

23% Say contemplating the fate of the world is too difficult, while 9% can’t read or watch the news, 10% can’t watch a sad movie, 5% struggle to be alone, and 3% can’t read sad books.


  • “Visit others and pretend I’m okay.”
  • “Think about why a relationship broke down.”
  • “Visit graveyards.”
  • “Dwell on death.”
  • “Listen to ’80s music.”

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from sadness?

  • “It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.”
  • “Sadness isn’t permanent.”
  • “Thankfulness is a mindset, not a feeling.”
  • “If we are going to live life to the fullest, sadness is part of the deal.”
  • “Not everyone responds the same way to sadness. Some people laugh when they’re sad, and that’s okay.”

When you’re in a sadness funk, what’s your go-to ritual to cheer up?

  • “My favorite chocolate, a cup of Earl Grey tea, and a trashy escapist romance novel.”
  • “Marijuana.”
  • “Tea and Carly Simon.”
  • “Chocolate, yin yoga, sex.”
  • “Chick flick and pizza.”
  • “Talk about it.”
  • “Watch comedy clips.”
  • “I listen to Sgt. Pepper’s start to finish.”
  • “Play with my dog, journal, dance to fun music in my living room, create, spend time outside.”

What’s one thing that makes people sad that you just don’t care about?

  • “Death. I work at a retirement facility and I experience death all the time.”
  • “A kid not getting what he wants.”
  • “Winter weather in northwestern Ontario.”
  • “Death of people in entertainment.”
  • “The end of Daylight Savings Time.”
  • “Aging. People seem to want to stay young forever. I appreciate the depth and wisdom of older people.”
  • “Rainy, cloudy, stormy weather— I love it.”
  • “Longing for ‘the good old days.’”
  • “TV shows being discontinued.”
  • “I don’t care about sports teams losing. I couldn’t give a stuff!”

What’s one unconventional thing that makes you sad?

  • “Old cars left to rust in a field.”
  • “Kleenex TV ads.”
  • “Misspelled words.”
  • “National anthems make me cry.”
  • “Oops, hormones!!”
  • “Party small talk.”
  • “Televised moments of joy.”
  • “Egg nog.”
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Mindful magazine.