Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I feel sad much of the time. What can I do to feel happier?

Liahona’s Answer

The prophet Lehi taught, “It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Ne. 2:11). In order for God’s creations to fulfill their purposes, opposites must exist—health and sickness, good and evil, light and darkness, happiness and misery. Sadness, therefore, is a necessary part of our mortal experience.

You should be concerned, however, if you are often sad or feel depressed for long periods of time. If you suffer from excessive feelings such as these, talk immediately to your parents or a Church leader. Seek the Lord’s help through prayer and priesthood blessings; His help is always available.

If your sadness continues, your parents or Church leaders may encourage you to receive help from a trusted professional, such as a doctor or a counselor, to determine if you are suffering from a physical or emotional disorder. Counseling, medication, and other medical helps may be part of your answer.

It may also help you to remember that it is Satan who seeks to make us sad. Lehi taught that because Lucifer “had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind” (2 Ne. 2:18). Satan and his followers tempt us to sin, for sin makes us miserable. They also whisper doubt and discouragement, tempting us to question ourselves, our testimonies, and our potential as children of God.

If your sadness is the result of sin, you can exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent. The process may not be easy, but there is no greater joy than knowing that your sins have been resolved through repentance. Your bishop or branch president can help. If your sorrow stems from discouragement or doubt, you can seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost to strengthen your faith in the Savior. In either case, prayer and priesthood blessings can help.

Sometimes external circumstances are a source of sadness. Loved ones may die; friends may turn against you; people may be insensitive; you may encounter injury or illness. Experiences that help us grow are not always pleasant. Sometimes you just have to endure and take comfort in the Lord’s promise that He will not allow you to experience more than you can bear (see Alma 13:28).

We all will have difficult experiences in this life, but we can endure them with the Lord’s help. “Men are, that they might have joy,” said Lehi (2 Ne. 2:25). The Lord wants us to be happy. Even though we may not be happy at every moment now, if we keep His commandments and endure to the end, we have the promise that we will be eternally happy in His presence someday.

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“The Odyssey to Happiness”

President James E. Faust

“The many hours I have spent listening to the tribulations of men and women have persuaded me that both happiness and unhappiness are much of our own making. …

“… Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last. …

“… The odyssey to happiness … is made on stepping-stones of selflessness, wisdom, contentment, and faith. The enemies of progress and fulfillment are such things as self-doubt, a poor self-image, self-pity, bitterness, and despair.”—President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency (“Our Search for Happiness,” Liahona, October 2000, 2–7)

Readers’ Answers

When I am sad, I think of the Savior’s sacrifice, and a warm thought comes: “He did it for me.” The Lord wants us to be happy, to feel joy, and to enjoy His blessings.

Veronica Toledo Lazanas, 19, Pasig First Ward, Pasig Philippines Stake

To feel happier, you can develop a greater love for God and your fellow human beings by doing good to those around you. Humble yourself and make time to serve others.

Obioma Madumere, 17, Old Umuahia Branch, Umuahia Nigeria Stake

The Lord has shown us the way to happiness: living the gospel. By doing so, we invite the Spirit of God into our lives, and bad feelings will find no room in our hearts.

Virginie Teihotaata, 23, Uturoa Ward, Raromatai Tahiti Stake

If you want to feel happy, do kind things for others. Take the light of the gospel to them.

Yelena Gritsenko, 16, Vladivostok Second Branch, Vladivostok Russia District

One day I was so sad that I felt I couldn’t go on. I opened my scriptures. When I finished reading, I felt peace. I knew Heavenly Father was with me and would comfort me.

Guadalupe Celeste Moo Dzul, 19, Calkini Branch, Calkini México District

To overcome feelings of sadness, I pray and read the scriptures and the Liahona (Indonesian). The scriptures strengthen my faith, and the Liahona helps me know that God loves me.

Susana Widya Yuliyanti, 21, Banjarsari Branch, Surakarta Indonesia District

To free myself of bad feelings, I read and ponder my patriarchal blessing, attend the temple and try to feel the spirit of that holy place, and draw upon the eternal power of the Savior’s great sacrifice—the Atonement.

Humberto Martins de Araújo Jr., 22, Caetes First Ward, Olinda Brazil Paulista Stake

I believe that scripture study and prayer are our best helps in overcoming problems.

Elder Atelea Moeata Jr., 20, Tonga Nuku‘alofa Mission

Sadness does not come from nothing, nor does it come suddenly or by chance. A short while ago, I felt sad and could not find a reason. When I prayed, I realized the Holy Ghost was trying to warn me that I was not choosing the right. I decided to change my spiritual state. I began to set goals, pray more, and study the Book of Mormon.

Juliana Lazzarotti dos Neves Oliveira, 17, Santa Clara Branch, Coimbra Portugal District

When I am not happy, I participate in a branch activity. I read O Le Liahona (Samoan) or the scriptures. I also try to avoid being idle. Failing to use spare time wisely enables the adversary to tempt us.

Tofoi A. Malaeti‘a, 16, Fagasa Branch, Pago Pago Samoa Stake

Photo illustration by Steve Bunderson