How to Get Motivated When Depressed (With Practical Steps)

how to get motivated when depressed

When you are feeling down and depressed, it’s difficult to find the motivation to do anything. However, with a little effort, you can feel more motivated and upbeat.

Feeling unmotivated isn’t unusual when you’re depressed — in fact, it’s perfectly normal — but staying that way can make it even harder to overcome your depression in the long run.

If you want to learn how to get motivated when depressed, try these tips to feel better about yourself and your future and start taking action again.

These are the exact things I do to get motivated whenever I’m depressed and don’t feel like doing anything.

To assure you that these tips works, I want you to bookmark this page, try these tips and if it didn’t work out, just throw me a stone through the comment box below. Just kidding.

Without further blunts, lemme show you the tips on how to get motivated when depressed so that you can start taking action today and start building toward your goals in the future.

Also read: Hard Work Meaning – 11 Misconceptions of Hard Working

 

What Causes Depression?

It’s normal for people to experience low moods from time to time. However, experiencing depression on a more regular basis can be harmful to your mental and physical health.

depression, sad unhappy man

There are many possible causes of depression, including genetics, chemical imbalances in your brain, and even life events like trauma or bereavement.

Depression can also result from negative thinking patterns that lead you down a path of hopelessness and helplessness.

Luckily, there are ways you can treat your depression with therapy, exercise, and positive thinking techniques and tips (like this one)—even when you feel at your lowest ebb.

 

7 Best Ways to Get Motivated When Depressed

When you’re feeling depressed, the last thing you want to do is work toward your goals and make new plans to improve your life.

Despite how you feel, though, that’s exactly what you need to do if you want to pull yourself out of depression and start living the life you always wanted.

Depression can be a very difficult thing to overcome, especially when you’re feeling so down that it seems like you’ll never be able to feel better again.

When I’m feeling down, there’s nothing I enjoy more than curling up on the couch with my favorite movie.

It’s a great way to take my mind off of things for a few hours. But if that’s not your thing, here are some other ways to get your mind off of things.

Let’s go through my 7 best tips to get your life back on track, so you can start living the happy life you deserve again.

 

1. Make a list of things you want to do or accomplish

There are a few things you can do when you’re feeling down that can actually help turn your mood around.

One is making a list of things you want to accomplish in life or simply wish you had time for.

Studies have shown that making goals list and setting out clear, specific intentions actually increases motivation—it gives us something we can strive for, rather than get lost in self-loathing or sadness.

It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to try if you don’t feel like doing anything else.

Make sure you keep your list updated as well, so it reflects what you really want right now.

You might like to read: 21 Best Work Organizer Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier in 2022

 

2. Exercise

Even if you don’t enjoy it, you need to exercise, regularly. And here’s why.

Physical activity is one of the best natural remedies for depression because it releases endorphins into your bloodstream.

Yeah, Endorphins make you feel happier by acting as mild painkillers and stimulating feelings of pleasure within your body.

Exercising when you’re feeling down releases these endorphins, which make you feel better.

Plus, a more active lifestyle can help improve your mood and keep it stable even if you are dealing with depression.

Research also shows that exercise could help prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

In fact, a recent study found that people who exercise regularly were less likely to develop SAD symptoms than those who did not exercise or had exercised at one point but stopped later on.

[bctt tweet=”Exercise is an excellent way to lift your spirits while improving your overall health.” username=”griprecap”]

 

Another study also shows that as little as 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms.

Even mild physical activity has been shown to have powerful antidepressant effects.

So if you’re not used to getting much exercise, try adding a short 10-minute walk every day.

Just be sure not to make yourself feel worse by pushing yourself too hard or doing too much too soon (which could actually lead to another depression).

Start slow and build up over time as your body adjusts.

 

3. Spend time outside

No matter what mental state you’re in, getting outdoors is always a good idea. There’s something about being outside that provides perspective and helps center your mind.

Spending time away from technology can help you decompress and focus on things that really matter.

If you’re feeling down or depressed, going out for a walk will get your head clear—allowing you to tackle life’s problems with more positivity and renewed energy.

 

4. Talk to someone

The most obvious thing you can do when you’re feeling depressed is talking to someone.

The problem is that some people feel embarrassed or ashamed, and they’re afraid of talking about their feelings because they don’t want other people to think that they aren’t man enough.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that. If someone cares about you, they won’t judge you based on how you feel.

That’s one of many reasons it’s a good idea to find a support system in your life; sometimes life gets really hard, and no one wants anyone else around when things go wrong.

Plus, being able to talk about what’s bothering you can help get rid of some of your stress.

Also read: How to Overcome Atelophobia – The Fear of Imperfection

 

5. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a balanced diet is good for your health. But when you’re depressed, it’s hard to summon up an appetite for foods that are good for you.

In fact, eating at all can feel like a chore, so your best bet is to make sure that you eat regularly, even if it doesn’t feel you have much of an appetite.

Make healthy food choices, and keep tempting unhealthy snacks out of sight; that way, they won’t tempt you.

Keeping a glass of water can also be a good idea.

 

6. Make time for activities you enjoy

Sometimes when we feel depressed, we don’t feel like doing anything at all.

But that doesn’t mean you should sit around passively waiting for your mood to improve—you need to take action.

This could be as simple as taking a walk outside or reading a favorite book or poem, but it’s important that you do something you enjoy and that can make you feel productive.

The key is finding activities that will get your mind off your depression and help you return to feeling like yourself again.

In addition, these activities should be pleasurable enough so that you don’t get bored by them; if they are boring and unfulfilling (or they give you anxiety), they will only worsen your mood.

If you find an activity that works for you, try to stick with it regularly.

Also read: 9 Factors that Affect Work Productivity & How To Overcome Them

 

6. Practice mindfulness

Meditation is an effective way to relieve feelings of depression, according to a study in Brain and Behavior.

Specifically, researchers found that meditation improves attention regulation, which helps when you’re feeling down or stressed.

If you don’t know where to start with meditation, try meditating while focusing on your breathing or chanting om.

There are several other forms of meditation out there too; just Google around if you want more information. A meditation app can also work.

Meditate for a few minutes at a time, and be consistent about it—you can even set reminders for yourself on your phone if necessary!

While it might seem weird at first (who enjoys being alone with their thoughts?), you’ll quickly find that meditation is not only relaxing but also relieves feelings of stress and anxiety.

It might seem like meditation or mindfulness would be counterproductive when you’re feeling depressed, but if practiced regularly, it can actually be a huge help.

In fact, Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book defines mindfulness as paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmental.

The point is to simply observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment—you don’t want to try changing anything yet.

This takes practice—it doesn’t just happen right away—but over time (as little as eight weeks), you will feel better overall and will experience fewer depressive episodes.

You might also like: Mindfulness or Multitasking: Which is better? (Updated 2022)

 

7. Give yourself a reward for completing a task

Part of why it’s so hard to motivate yourself when you’re depressed is that depression makes everything feel harder.

Set realistic goals for yourself and reward yourself with a treat after you’ve completed them.

The trick is not to beat yourself up if you fail; everyone slips up sometimes. It’s about getting back on track quickly. And one great way to do that is with a reward system.

So, set small achievable goals (like completing an assignment or studying for an exam) and then give yourself something nice when you achieve them.

For example, tell yourself you’ll get to watch your favorite TV show or buy a new book once you finish studying.

This will help keep your motivation high throughout your task—and let’s face it: A little self-reward can help you get through even the toughest assignments.

 

 

Other tips on how to get motivated when depressed

The first thing you need to know about getting motivated when you’re depressed is that it will take time.

It might even take a week or two of fighting against your current level of motivation, but it’s possible.

The most important thing for getting motivated when you’re depressed is keeping yourself healthy and active. Here are some tips on how to get up and moving.

 

  • Make a list of things you need to do to feel better

This can include anything from taking a walk to calling a friend to take a bath.

Instead of spending your time thinking about all of your problems, list all of your must-do tasks for today.

This list should include small things that you can complete in 30 minutes or fewer (including things like checking emails, calling someone back, and so on).

As you work on these tasks, try not to think about your problems as much; try to be proactive, instead of procrastinating.

If a problem comes up while you’re working, make a note of it so that you can get back to it later when you have more time.

But don’t let yourself be sidetracked by your problems—stay focused on what you need to do right now.

 

  • Break down those tasks into smaller, more manageable steps

If taking a walk seems daunting, start by putting on your sneakers and stepping outside.

We all have big goals in mind, but breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps is a great way to get motivated.

Think about your goal, and what you need to do to achieve it. Then break those tasks down into things you can accomplish each day—or even each hour.

Making progress every day will help keep you motivated and on track.

If something doesn’t get done one day, that’s OK because tomorrow is another opportunity for success.

Even small successes will help motivate you and fuel your confidence so you can continue taking action toward reaching your goal.

 

  • Set a timer for a certain amount of time and start with the easiest task on your list

If you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s probably because your current situation is overwhelming.

There are just too many tasks and you don’t feel capable of tackling them. To get moving again, try a productivity hack.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and tackle one of your small tasks (like responding to an email or returning a phone call).

After 15 minutes, give yourself permission to stop working on that task and move on to something else.

Eventually, these small accomplishments will add up—and so will your mood.

 

  • Seek professional help

If your depression is serious enough that you can’t even get out of bed in the morning, it’s definitely time to seek professional help.

We don’t mean you should call a doctor or head to a shrink; we mean you should schedule some therapy sessions with a licensed therapist.

There are plenty of ways that psychotherapy can help—at least, short-term.

If your depression isn’t caused by an underlying medical issue (which means antidepressants aren’t going to do much for you), your therapist will probably give you tools and techniques for dealing with low moods so they become less frequent and more manageable

 

  • Define What Being Happy Means To You

Sure, being happy may seem like a vague topic, but it’s actually fairly straightforward.

Being happy is about feeling satisfied with your life overall—and that means constantly reassessing your goals and monitoring what makes you feel fulfilled.

So, how do you get motivated when you’re not feeling so hot? It comes down to re-thinking what exactly happiness means for you personally.

For example, if hobbies used to make you happy and now they don’t, that might be a sign that your interests have changed since starting out.

 

  • Set Up a Routine That Will Make You Happy

When feeling down, it’s hard to get yourself moving. After all, it’s almost like you have to force yourself out of bed (or off the couch), and that can take a lot of mental energy.

But what if you could put yourself in a good mood while simultaneously doing activities that will help you get back on your feet?

The key is to create a routine that brings more joy into your life.

A good place to start is with exercise: It helps ward off depression by releasing endorphins and curbing stress hormones, as well as boosting your serotonin levels. And did we mention it’s also fun?

Also read: Routine: 7 Ways to Stick to a Routine in 2022

 

  • Educate Yourself About Happiness

In a 2006 study, researchers found that learning about happiness can actually lead to greater feelings of well-being.

Using the broaden and build a theory of positive emotions (which says our positive emotions make us more likely to engage in growth-oriented behaviors), researchers could show that through material learned from a course on happiness—including tips for overcoming depression and increasing self-esteem—students reported feeling happier at follow-up.

In summary, they wrote, these findings indicate educational interventions designed specifically with an aim to cultivate gratitude may be effective in promoting personal well-being.

In other words: you can teach yourself how to feel happier by educating yourself on strategies for increasing your happiness.

 

  • Give yourself a good treat

Giving yourself a treat once in a while can be just what you need to snap out of your funk. If your depression is so severe that you can’t see it getting better, try doing something for yourself.

Treating yourself like royalty might just help keep things in perspective—and do wonders for lifting your mood.

This can be anything from taking a break to eating a piece of chocolate

Giving yourself some time off from thinking about negative thoughts can give your brain a chance to reset, and come back with fresh solutions.

Simply taking a walk or visiting with friends and family are great ways to give yourself a boost when you’re feeling depressed; don’t underestimate their power.

The key is not overdoing it—taking care of yourself doesn’t mean treating yourself to an expensive dinner or shopping spree every day.

Don’t worry about finding an excuse to treat yourself; use your intuition instead.

  • Do you feel like playing a video game?
  • Going for a drive?
  • Watching YouTube or Netflix
  • Shopping?
  • All four at once?

Whatever gets you moving and has been on your mind lately, indulge.

You might also be interested in: Guilty Pleasure: 17 Most Common Guilty Pleasures of 2022

 

  • Remove Negative Influences from Your Life

One of the most common reasons people get depressed is because they surround themselves with negative people and/or toxic relationships.

If you’re struggling with depression, remove these toxic influences from your life.

Surround yourself with friends that are positive and uplifting, avoid spending time with those who bring you down or hold a pessimistic view of life, and take time for yourself by finding hobbies or activities that put you in a better state of mind.

Over time, many will realize just how much their mood has improved by simply eliminating harmful elements from their life.

Don’t let others drag you down; be proactive about improving your mental health.

 

  • Practice Gratitude

Developing an attitude of gratitude has been proven to make people happier and healthier.

Instead of feeling frustrated about all that you don’t have, start focusing on all that you do have. Be thankful for your wonderful friends, your loving family, or even your job.

As you take stock of what is going well in your life, it will become easier and easier to tackle those tasks that are piling up instead of things that make you feel disappointed or blue.

 

  • Write Things You’re Grateful For

Gratitude is a powerful force. Gratitude helps us feel better about our circumstances, even if they’re not perfect.

So instead of feeling sorry for yourself or beating yourself up for being unhappy, take time to think about all of your blessings and what you have in your life that makes you happy.

Often we get so busy in our lives that we forget to be thankful for all of those things that actually bring us joy and make us who we are today.

The next time you feel down, keep a journal where you write five things each day that you’re grateful for.

The process itself will help boost your mood while reminding you of all those little pleasures in life that really do matter most.

 

Final Thought

Getting motivated when you’re feeling depressed is difficult. Some people even find it impossible.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to make yourself feel better if you are looking for motivation in your life.

Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week to be happy!

Start today!

Stop putting things off and finally get what you have always wanted by following these tips on how to get motivated when depressed.

If you put them into practice, they will help lift your mood and improve your confidence so that nothing can stop you from accomplishing all of your goals.

There’s no reason not to start right now and be successful; just follow these simple steps on how to get motivated when depressed!

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