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What do I do when everyone keeps telling me it's all in my head. They say that if I think im feeling better I will start to be happier. I try to be happy so much, however it never works. I always end up feeling empty or even worse sad.

29 Answers
Last Updated: 04/09/2019 at 2:38pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Danielle Johnson, MSED, Community mental Health Counseling, LMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Sometime situations and feelings can be so strong that we struggle to function. You are not alone! My practice is flexible and open-minded and tailored to your personal needs.

Top Rated Answers
January 18th, 2015 6:05pm
They are telling you to lie to yourself and start believing that lie. That's the worst kind of "advice" someone can give to you. Hiding behind a happy face. Everything is in "our head". It doesn't mean, that it isn't real. First step is figuring out, what is causing you to feel this way, and not fooling yourself into believing, that everything is OK.
January 13th, 2015 2:59pm
Technically, it is all in your head, but that doesn't mean it doesn't affect you. People who think you are just making yourself feel depressed obviously do not know what depression truly is. Depression is something we all face from time to time, in short doses if it's not a clinical depression problem, but that doesn't mean you're making it up. Depression could be caused by past events, loss, grieving, and a whole lot of other negative things. The best thing to do is track your depression and make sure it doesn't get worse. Talking with someone here on 7 Cups helps a lot of people too with their depression. Relaxation methods like deep diaphragmatic breathing, imagery, and meditation also can help. To learn more, visit our Self Help Guide for Depression at
May 21st, 2015 8:50am
Telling someone 'it's all in your head' is such an awful platitude! I'm so sorry you get told rubbish like that. Of course it's in your head - so is a headache (but it would be stupid to tell someone who is suffering a migraine 'just be happy, the pain will go away.') I do think trying to keep positive, being grateful and noticing the positive over the negative can really help you stay 'happy' - but if you're not in a place where you can be Pollyanna, that's okay. You're great just as you are. I like exercise, practising daily acts of self love and self care and journalling to help me fill the empty void and overcome depression. And stand up for yourself - you're trying hard, you should get credit for that. Reminding people that 'just because it's in my head doesn't make it easier to cope with' or straight out telling them "thanks for the not helpful insight." You should be proud of yourself, not put down by people who clearly have no idea what you're going through.
April 11th, 2016 10:01am
don't listen to people like that. you don't just "shrug off" mental conditions or disorders. people are lazy and don't want to feel responsible enough to sit down and help you with it, so they just choose the easy way out and say it's all in your head. try to get help from a professional.
February 20th, 2015 7:22pm
Know that it is not your fault and that it is wrong headed of people to start off telling you to be happier as if you are wrong or not "doing life right." Although I think that our thoughts do greatly influence our feelings, it is not as simple as thinking your way better by doing so on the surface any more than thinking your car is okay when the oil light is flashing will make your car better. I do think that we can use our thoughts to help us feel better but that is a more complex discussion and certainly not one that should ever begin with what amounts to a put down and blaming. :)
April 1st, 2015 5:16pm
It's frustrating when you feel like your emotions are being invalidated. I've had dysthymia my entire life, and many people, including family, have told me that my symptoms "aren't real" and that I just had to change to be happier. Trying harder never worked. Coming to accept and explore my feelings and learning healthy ways to cope with them is what led me to happiness. You have to remember that whether anyone else believes what you are feeling is "real", it's real to YOU. You are experiencing it right now, and those feelings ARE valid.
May 31st, 2015 10:33am
Don't worry if everyone tells you it's all in your head- they're right, but that's kind of the point of mental illnesses. After all, your brain is in your head- so their point is invalid. People who don't feel how you feel can't understand it, so don't let them make you feel weird, just because you can't miraculously feel good like they can. It will take time to come to terms with your feelings, so try not to worry about it too much. You could try speaking to a therapist about how you feel, as they're trained to deal with people with feelings like these, and shouldn't shun you, or make you feel bad about your feelings
June 30th, 2015 1:47am
Depression is a very real thing, but most people that haven't been through it won't understand it. Try to explain that you can't be happy.
March 27th, 2017 3:26pm
It is okay, most people won't understand what it is like to feel the way you do and they don't get that it isn't something you can just change by changing one thought. I would try explaining to them what it is like and how hard it is to change how you are feeling because you don't fully understand why yourself.
June 29th, 2015 3:32am
Some people don't understand feelings of emptiness or sadness until they really experience it themselves. I would encourage you to find someone who is more understand regarding your feelings and what you are going through. We are always here to help.
August 10th, 2015 2:15pm
In my experience. Most of the time your pain is valid. Because you're not able to put a Band-Aid on it. People like to think it's not a valid concern or issue. In fact trying to force yourself happy can actually worsen the situation, as now not only are you still unhappy;but now you're beating yourself up because people have convinced you it's not real. Don't let people invalidate your pain. it's true the people who say these things may mean no harm, but If they won't take your unhappiness seriously then they're not good people to have around.
November 1st, 2016 10:03am
Before you try to be happy, have you tried to connect with your inner self to know what is actually make you feel empty or sad? People might tell you it's all in your head, but you know yourself best. Search the answers within and if that's not working try to consult before it getting worse.
November 29th, 2016 4:49am
People say that if you smile more you'll be happier. I feel like this isn't true for everyone though. It's probably not just in your head, I believe everyone's emotions are valid and should be expressed and heard. Try to make yourself heard. And if you can't do that then try talking to a counselor or therapist about it. Maybe even a parent or trusted adult. Also consider not trying to be happy. Let it happen naturally. That can help you get used to being happy.
July 6th, 2015 2:41pm
When people are saying that they probably really care about you and want you to feel better. Unfortunately they are not you so they can never fully understand how you feel. It is important to reach out to a professional so that you may discover and learn new tools to deal with your emotions. Everyone has different ways of achieving health and happiness.
August 24th, 2015 8:19pm
Trying to act happy is different from actually feeling happiness from within , Just try to be in an environment where you would feel less stress .
October 26th, 2015 9:07am
"Of course this is happening inside your head Harry, but why on earth should that mean it isn't real?" - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Listen, of course it's in your head. But your head is a part of your body, just like your lungs and your stomach and your liver, and nobody says illnesses aren't real when they happen to those organs, right? Your brain can become ill just like any other part of your body. Mental illness is as real as diabetes. Telling yourself you feel better only works when you are already healthy enough to make that choice, and healthy people don't understand why it doesn't work for depression. See a therapist who does CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), try medication, do what you can to get better. Once you are already feeling better, then you can use this type of self convincing.
December 5th, 2015 2:59pm
It's hard when you feel like others don't understand your situation, or aren't empathetic enough towards it. It affects you because it makes you feel like you aren't handling your depression the "correct" way. Depression is much more complicated than black-or-white, so don't let what others say ("It's all in your head") affect how you feel. Are you seeing a counselor or anyone professional? These people are able to give you better coping strategies, and understand what you're going through more. I hope you will be okay!
December 7th, 2015 9:58pm
So you feel empty or sad once you try to be happy. Why? What do you try to lift your mood, and why does it fail?
August 16th, 2016 5:56pm
I can relate to that, I think people realize the mind is very powerful,but they don't always realize that sometimes will power alone isn't enough. A little help from a trained mental health physician can go a long ways.
August 30th, 2016 2:25am
Too often when depression sets it there is a need to make all others around us more happy. Bottling up are true emotions so as to not bring those around us down, This is exhausting. Remember everyone feels sadness. If we bottle it up it will devour or happiness.
September 13th, 2016 12:25am
Some people don't quite understand it, and that's ok. In a community such as 7 cups, there are people who can help you to move forward and feel happier.
April 4th, 2017 6:20pm
Tell them all the pain we feel, physical or emotional, actually is made up in our head, and it is there for a reason. Emotional pain is just as valid and stable as any pain. If your people don't understand this, try asking them if they would say "it's all in your stomach" if you had a stomachache. If they say no, than tell them the brain and stomach are equal organs of your body and pain in both are as valid, it just feels differently. Tell them that they wouldn't ask a person with a broken leg to run a marathon, and then ask them why they put this pressure on you
June 27th, 2017 3:40am
If you're suffering from depression, I would highly suggest seeking professional help so that you can work through this and feel better. The brain is an organ that can get sick like any other organ, so even if it is "all in your head," it's just as important to get treatment and take care of yourself as it would be for any other illness.
July 4th, 2017 9:11am
If it feels real to you, then it most likely is real. No one can tell you what your version of reality is, and no one can tell you what is real. And if you are surrounded by individuals who want to tell you want your version of reality should be, then you need to remove those people from your life. In the same idea, if you want to make the change to start feeling better, you have to take those steps. No one can make you want to feel better, you have to do that yourself, no matter how scary it may seem because in the end it is worth it to try and become the healthiest version of yourself you can be,
April 23rd, 2018 2:28am
There are a couple of ways through this, talking out with someone different, if you are on here you can use self help guides to work through it too.
June 4th, 2018 3:18pm
well, i would like to tell you to stop thinking that much about how you are feeling etc because maybe you end up feeling empty or sad because you actually think too a bit..breathe..dont think too and downs, happiness and sorrow everything is a part of one's accept it and stop thinking too much !! all the best!!
November 27th, 2018 10:52am
I understand. it didn't go well at the begining when I started practicing fake it till you make it smile. But, I noticed, people connect with positive energy. even the smiles were fake, I was able to develop positive connections in my rough days that wouldn't be possible with real me. And energy is contagious, if you make someone feel happy, the positive energy comes back. On other hand, while doing this early on, it did make me sad and alone because I had no one to share roughness of my life. But, slowly I developed being happy by reading, working, volunteering, and developing new hobbies which started feeling emptiness of my life
March 12th, 2019 6:38am
It's okay to give ourselves a break from being well, sometimes. It's ok to acknowledge that we are miserable, depressed, unwell, sometimes. We cannot be 'happy' all the time, much less content, even when we are not depressed. Plus - of course it is in our heads, where else would mental ilness be? Any kind of depression treatment is best done with a professional, and can range from thought techniques to medication, whatever you are comfortable with at your own pace. It takes a long time to find the right solution for our brains; sometimes it's just a matter of rewiring them with new thought patterns and perspectives. But it's exhausting and we deserve to give ourselves a break from that pressure now and then! Don't let others dictate your mental health. You're in charge of it.
April 9th, 2019 2:38pm
I’m sorry you’re feeling that way! Comments like that aren’t going to help you over come this. Perhaps you could talk to the people who you are closest to and let them know how you are feeling? Together you can work together to help you feel happier. It really does help! What makes you feel happy? Is there anything you enjoy doing? A hobby? Choose someone you are close to, and go and do it for a day! You could also write down your feelings, when you feel like you are sad or empty, and try to tell your mind the opposite. So if you’re thinking, I feel low, you could tell yourself I feel happy! Hope it helps!