Motivation when Feeling Depressed: 10 Essential Tips

Motivation when Feeling Depressed: 10 Essential Tips

How do you find motivation while depressed? 

Navigating depression is a journey filled with ups and downs, which can significantly impact one’s motivation, often making it challenging to carry out everyday tasks. Sadness and a lack of drive are two characteristic symptoms of depression, prompting individuals to seek solutions to the question: How do you find motivation while depressed? Whether for themselves or to help a loved one, motivation in depression is essential to promote recovery. 

Despite the path of depression often seeming solitary and bleak, we at Integrative Healthcare Center stand ready to support those grappling with major depressive disorder in Nashua, New Hampshire, and the surrounding areas. In this blog, we aim to offer ten crucial tips for maintaining motivation when feeling depressed. It’s vital, however, to understand that seeking help is essential to recovery. If you find yourself amidst a depressive episode, feeling a sense of hopelessness, and struggling with daily activities, we strongly encourage you to seek professional guidance. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about depression and our Deep Transcranial Magnetic Therapy (Deep TMS) services for depression or to discuss any concerns you may have about this condition.

Components of Motivation in Depression

To gain a deeper understanding of how depression affects motivation, we can look to a study by Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. The study underscores that depression alters our thought processes and emotions. Individuals experiencing depression may struggle with emotional regulation and maintaining the motivation needed to achieve their goals. Despite extensive research on the interplay between cognition and emotions in depression, there has been less emphasis on how a lack of motivation impacts those grappling with this condition.

Motivation represents the effort that an individual is willing to expend to attain something they desire. It’s essential to consider three fundamental components to comprehend how motivation works:

  1. Action-Outcome Contingencies: This aspect shows the likelihood that our actions will result in the desired outcome.
  2. Value of the Outcome: This pertains to the amount of value we assign to what we aim to accomplish.
  3. Effort: This reflects the amount of work we are prepared to invest to reach our goals.

Depression can negatively impact these three components, suggesting that individuals with the disorder might find it challenging to perceive the link between their actions and their goals. They might also place less value on their desired outcomes and feel overwhelmed by the effort required to achieve them. Given these considerations, we have compiled ten practical tips to boost motivation when feeling depressed.

10 Tips for Motivation When Feeling Depressed


  1. Acknowledge your Emotions and Cultivate Patience: Accepting that you are going through a difficult time and dealing with depression is critical to cultivating patience and understanding that the process of improvement follows its own pace. Acknowledging your emotions, honoring them, and practicing self-compassion are essential elements to avoid falling into frustrations and demotivating thoughts. Understanding your state of mind and recognizing that you are in an emotional low without blaming yourself can be crucial to your recovery. Identifying that relief will not be instantaneous but a time-consuming process helps to dissipate stress and anxiety as you become aware of the importance of not pushing yourself and understand that progress is gradual and steady.

  2. Explore Therapeutic Options: As each person has unique needs and preferences, there is no single, practical approach for all cases of depression. Experiencing a lack of results with specific treatments can be demotivating. Still, fortunately, knowledge of the existence of alternative therapeutic options can serve as a key to maintaining motivation when feeling depressed. Deep TMS is an example of a modern approach that offers innovative solutions for those facing depressive disorders. This therapy is painless and has minimal side effects, providing a hopeful alternative for those seeking new avenues of treatment.

  3. Set Realistic and Achievable Goals: Starting with small, achievable goals is an ideal strategy for fostering motivation when feeling depressed. These goals offer a sense of direction and purpose that counteracts the sense of hopelessness inherent in depression. By achieving these goals, you experience a sense of success and self-efficacy, generating a positive environment that decreases demotivation and encourages positive thinking. This upward cycle of achievement provides the confidence to tackle more ambitious goals over time, allowing self-confidence to increase gradually. It is crucial to start with small goals that evidence your progress without adding additional pressure or causing feelings of being overwhelmed.

  4. Avoid Isolation: Demotivation and sadness often lead to isolation from friends and family, which can significantly worsen your mood. Accepting help from loved ones plays an essential role in recovery and becomes a key pillar of motivation when feeling depressed. Having a reliable support network provides assistance and encouragement to overcome challenges, serving as a crucial stimulus to achieve goals. Family and friendships not only strengthen coping skills but also encourage emotional expression, promoting self-worth, security, and a sense of belonging. 

  5. Start your Day with Physical Activity: The simple act of getting out of bed can be considered the first victory of the day. Starting the day with a walk, yoga, swimming, or any physical exercise can be essential to reduce depressive symptoms, improve mood, and raise energy levels. Physical activity produces endorphins, which are indispensable brain chemicals for combating depression.

  6. Prioritize Your Wellness: Establishing healthy eating and sleeping habits is crucial for managing depression and bolstering motivation. Research from Harvard Medical School suggests that to influence your brain function, mood, and energy levels positively, you must include antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. You can find these nutrients in fruits like blueberries, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, proteins like salmon, tuna, and sardines, and whole grains, or even supplements. 

    Furthermore, adhering to a regular sleep schedule is a critical factor in boosting motivation when feeling depressed. Consistent, high-quality sleep aids in mood regulation, enhances cognitive function, and increases energy levels. Inadequate sleep hygiene can exacerbate feelings of lethargy and hopelessness typically associated with depression.

  7. Spend Time in Nature: Research from the Mental Health Foundation establishes a direct connection between contact with nature and improved mental, emotional, and physical health. This contact with nature can take place in green spaces such as parks, forests, rivers, beaches, and even through street trees, gardens, or plants at home.

    Research highlights that people who spend time connecting with nature tend to experience greater happiness and perceive their lives as having significant value. Nature has the power to evoke positive emotions, such as calm, joy, and creativity while facilitating concentration.

  8. Mindfulness and Meditation: Experts recommend mindfulness and meditation as practical strategies to help individuals with depression connect with the present moment and foster nonjudgmental awareness. These practices enable them to break free from negative thought patterns that perpetuate depression and drain motivation. Mindfulness and meditation not only build resilience and heighten self-awareness, but they also enhance emotional regulation, thereby improving mood and energy levels. Furthermore, these disciplines aid in sharpening focus, facilitating goal attainment, and bolstering motivation when feeling depressed.

  9. Establish a Beneficial Routine: Building a routine can start with simple actions, such as getting out of bed, changing clothes, or eating a meal. Writing down this routine and displaying it in a visible place, marking each completed action, creates a sense of accomplishment that promotes well-being and motivates you to keep making progress each day. Visual aids not only allow us to measure progress over time but also influence our minds, creating the perception of a more tangible reality and serving as motivation while depressed.

  10. Seek Professional Counseling: Similar to when you are physically ill and seek relief through a doctor’s recommendations, mental health also requires guidance from professionals. Consulting with experts is crucial in determining the appropriate way to address depression. The guidance of a professional can not only provide motivation when feeling depressed, but it also brings a deeper understanding of the different approaches available and which one might be right for you.

Integrative Healthcare Center and Deep TMS

Experiencing a lack of motivation when feeling depressed is a standard part of the journey. However, it’s vital to confront these feelings and implement strategies that can restore your motivation, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of your chosen depression treatment. At Integrative Healthcare Center, we recognize that conventional therapies may not be successful for everyone, which can lead to feelings of helplessness. Our focus lies on Deep TMS, the most advanced FDA-approved medical treatment for depression.

Many of our patients have reported a significant boost in their motivation to achieve their goals while undergoing Deep TMS treatment. Moreover, our team of expert mental health clinicians supports our clients throughout the process, recommending additional therapies for a comprehensive treatment plan.

As a step towards your recovery, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation by calling us at (855) 599-9987 or contacting us online. We are ready to address your inquiries and provide necessary assistance.

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