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Why do we lack motivation?

External factors, such as stressful situations at school or work, can play a big role in the lack of motivation. Research explains that when stress levels are high in people with depression or anxiety, they become less motivated and physically exhausted.

Strategies to get motivated when feeling depressed or anxious:

1. Talking to a mental health professional to better assess your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that could include therapy, medication, and self-care.

2. Set achievable goals. That means focusing on SMART goals that can be taken into smaller tasks, and moving on until you have accomplished the bigger project.

3. Reward yourself as part of your self-care plan. They can be small positive rewards such as drinking your favorite coffee/tea, playing with your cat/dog, taking a few minutes to connect with family/friends.

4. Going out for a quick walk, or brief and moderate exercise to enhance your mood and get you moving.

5. Socializing with a small group of friends or family to receive positive support can help in building momentum and motivation.

6. Creating and following a realistic schedule or routine, as well as writing a list of things to do will help avoid forgetting you want to accomplish.

7. Focus on self-compassion and be kind to yourself. Encourage positive self-talk and empowerment to give yourself the boost you need to get things done.

Avoiding triggers are also very important, as they can make the situation much worse:

1. Drugs and alcohol can lead to a dependence and create the illusion of “highs”, but the “lows” can reduce motivation and worsen a person’s mental illness.

2. Lack of sleep and insomnia can cause extreme fatigue and decrease motivation but creating a good and relaxing bedtime routine can help with your troubled sleep.

3. Stress can negatively impact anyone struggling with a mental illness. Practicing relaxation and grounding techniques, as well as challenging your negative thoughts can help to change your perception of a stressful situation.

Having challenges around the lack of motivation and interest in regular activities are very common in individuals with depression and anxiety. It is important to seek professional help and find tools to help rebuild the energy and confidence to focus your attention on small and achievable goals. Don’t give up and do your best. If you want to connect with a therapist, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send an email.

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