Feeling discouraged, what to do?

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Joe Dispenza


Feeling discouraged, what to do?

Have you ever felt like even the simplest of tasks cost you immense effort? Why do you happen to feel apathetic, sad or reluctant? In this article, we will answer this and other questions associated with lack of energy.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Feeling discouraged, without desire or strength to work towards the set goals. There are many people who live their daily lives feeling they have black clouds inside them. A bit like a sky of emotions in which the sun never sets and in which threatening clouds move.

Is it apathy, despondency, or are we about to fall into the abyss of a psychological disorder? Certainly each reality is a world unto itself; each mind is inhabited by its own landscape and it is not easy to reach a conclusion that is useful for everyone.

Discomfort is like a worm that, little by little, consumes our well-being. Furthermore, it is not an emotional state that appears overnight.

Reluctance and low motivation arise little by little; at first timidly and then, instead, incisively. Until the awareness of do not take it anymore, of not having a reason or a motivation.

We cannot neglect this situation or postpone it; that's why finding out what it depends on and acting accordingly is essential.

Sometimes I have the terrible feeling that time passes without me doing anything, without something happening and without something moving me deep inside.

-Mario Benedetti-

Feeling discouraged and what to do about it?

When I feel discouraged, I don't like myself; feeling like this wears me out because I don't find the desire to do anything and it makes me lose hope ”. Let's face it, most of us found ourselves at this crossroads. The curious aspect is that when we feel bad, we tend to judge ourselves harder.

Nobody likes to feel unwilling to do something and with the lowest level of motivation. However, instead of criticizing us or trying at any cost to upset this psychophysical and emotional state, it is better to know why it happens.

Treating ourselves with self-compassion is increasingly productive compared to the classic inner dialogue that belittles and judges.

Homeostasis of the state of mind and periods of crisis

A few years ago the University of Oxford and Warneford Hospital conducted a research study in order to find out the extent to which discomfort leads to depressive disorders.

When a person says "I feel discouraged", we tend to ask her if she has depression.

One aspect we need to keep in mind is that mood homeostats tend to fluctuate and are absolutely normal. We don't always feel 100%, motivation is an unstable aspect and desire, like happiness, comes and goes.

Feeling discouraged, sad and unmotivated doesn't always mean suffering from depression. So, it is normal and quite common to experience periods of despair, especially if the context that surrounds us is defined by changes and uncertainty.

What to do?

One of the goals of discouragement is to make us stop and think. This lack of energy and motivation can be orchestrated by dimensions that require reflection.

Perhaps the time has come to make changes, to think about whether we should put aside some aspects - such as projects or mistakes made - and take new paths.

Sometimes discouragement appears when we feed the mind with new ideas.

Feeling discouraged: consider organic causes

Feeling without energy, without enthusiasm or motivation can be due to aspects that concern health and that we have perhaps neglected. Well, behind these emotional states the following causes are often hidden:

  • Anemia.
  • Fragile immune system and low defenses.
  • Lack of nutrition, which can cause discomfort and lack of energy.
  • Insomnia, like any other sleep disorder, can give rise to these states.
  • Thyroid disease.
  • Possible early stage of dementia. This aspect should be considered in the older age group. One of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is demotivation, in addition to mood swings.
  • Neurological disorders, such as changes in the limbic system or in the connection of the frontal cortex with the basal ganglia.

What to do?

When the discomfort lasts for several days or weeks, it is advisable to consult your family doctor. Once the organic factors have been ruled out, it is time to contact the psychologist.

Lack of motivation and causes

The lack of motivation has many facets, it is varied and complex. It also doesn't appear overnight or without a reason (although sometimes we can't pinpoint the causes).

There is always an underlying cause, situations that have made us take this emotional direction that leads to lack of motivation, fatigue and apathy. This is why it is interesting to know that there are potentially demotivating aspects:

  • Work demotivation: when one of our projects and our professional dreams are not in tune with the work we do every day.
  • Lack of relational motivation and affective. This sphere includes the relationship with our partner, but also that with our loved ones, family and friends. Sometimes we feel that things are not going well and we don't know how to act.
  • Lack of existential motivation. Existential crises very often hide behind those who say phrases like “I feel unmotivated” every day. They are moments in which we feel that life loses its meaning, in which we do not see a purpose, a meaning or its importance. These are really difficult situations because they can lead to depression.

When the lack of motivation and discouragement become our travel companions, the advice is to consult a professional. The drifting mind gradually moves towards isolation.

The person stops feeling pleasure, work becomes a source of intense stress and may feel without energy even for the simplest tasks.

In addition, it is important to start reframing goals, working on emotions, thoughts, self-esteem and values. Some approaches can be very helpful, such as acceptance and commitment therapy. 

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