Your life is in shambles, your bills are piling up, you’re in a tough situation at work and you just had a fight with your spouse. You’re down in the dumps and feeling stuck. And despite your mile-long to-do list, all you want to do is curl up in bed and binge on Netflix.
Sounds about right?
Or maybe your situation isn’t that bad, but something bad happened and you’re feeling down. Whatever the case, it’s easy to think you’ve tried everything to get motivated but nothing’s happening.
Get Motivated! 13 Tried and Tested Tips
1. Use a Mantra
Find a couple of short and sweet mantras to steer your mind off of negative thoughts. These power statements are concise — no more than a sentence long. And it doesn’t matter if it’s cheesy or tacky, what matters is hearing it encourages you to move forward.
Mark Divine, founder of Sealfit and former Navy Seal officer, uses the mantra “feeling good, looking good, ought to be in Hollywood,” during the most grueling parts of a workout. You can try out his mantra, or create one for yourself.
2. Aim Low
You can’t expect yourself to complete all the tasks you laid out when you weren’t feeling down. Your energy levels then and now are drastically different, so it’s not feasible.
You’ll feel like a loser if you fall short of expectations. Set ridiculously easy goals instead, and avoid the drama. If one of your goals is to finish your math homework, try solving just 1 problem.
Once you accomplish that, raise the bar and solve 1 more equation. If you can’t, that’s okay too.
3. Don’t Feed The Beast
Feeling bad about your situation will just make things worse. Depression feeds (and grows) from negative emotions, like self-pity, self-doubt, and fears.
It’s impossible to eradicate these thoughts but you can learn to identify them, which then helps you minimize them.
5. Stick To Your Schedule
When life throws you out of balance, your routine is there to comfort and provide some semblance of control over your life. Brushing your teeth, fixing the bed, doing the groceries, these are all regular habits that frame your existence.
Do this a couple of weeks, even if depression persists. Over time, you’ll begin to feel a sense of normalcy and control over what’s happening around you.
6. Avoid Overwhelm By Delegating Tasks
When you’re suffering from depression, your ability to complete your typical workload is affected. And when your work piles up, you’ll get overwhelmed.
When that happens, there’s a huge chance you’ll spiral down into the black hole of negative thoughts in your head. Either way, you’re not helping anyone.
Avoid this by delegating small, low-impact tasks to friends, co-workers and family. Anything that doesn’t need your input to get done can be delegated.
If you’re OC, accept that other people have a different way of doing things, but it doesn’t mean their methods are wrong.
7. Create A Mental Barrier Protecting You From Depression
Think of your mind as if it’s a fortress that needs protecting. Hide anything that triggers unproductive thoughts, whether it’s a keepsake from a past relationship or a college basketball trophy you still cling to.
Yes, those annoying social media and email notifications must go, too. These things may seem trivial to you but they all add to the mental clutter in your head.
8. Act And Dress Happy
Go to the salon, get a mani-pedi and a good blow out. Pamper yourself. Then put on your best clothes and accessories. This might sound ridiculous to you, but acting and dressing as if you already feel great can boost your mood.
9. Channel Your Inner Stoic
In a Google I/O Ignite presentation, Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek, explains a Stoic exercise for getting over your fears— and by extension, your negative thoughts.
- Name your fear: What’s the worst thing that could happen?
- What can you do to minimize those fears from happening?
- If the worst case scenario does happen, what would it take for you to get back what you lose?
Fill out the column with your fears and negative thoughts then scrutinize each of them. After filling out the three columns, you’ll realize two things:
- Your fears and negative thoughts are all in your head, or at least not as realistic as you make it out to be.
- In the unlikely event they do come true, there are things you can do to repair the damage and put everything back to normal.
10. Create a Happy Routine
Michael Yapko, Psychologist and author of Breaking the Patterns of Depression, suggests having all the motivation in the world won’t be enough unless you learn new routines or skills to cope with depression.
Create your own ‘happy routine,’ a set of activities that you can do when depression strikes. It could be as simple as going out with friends, and then progressing to more elaborate tactics like practicing Tai Chi
11. Capitalize On Small Wins
Success begets success. But first you need a kick starter. Start with a small task then use the momentum to push you forward.
Remember, positive emotions aren’t limited to big wins so even a small win like taking out the trash or getting complimented on your clothes can drive off all your negative thoughts for the whole day.
12. Don’t Take Criticisms to Heart
Feeling depressed because someone criticized you? In most cases, harsh critics treat everyone like dirt bags, not just you. What they say to you is a reflection of their own feelings and attitude, even if it seems applicable to you.
13. Ask Yourself Inspiring Questions While Having Breakfast
Pair the most important meal of the day with something just as healthy for your heart: gratitude and positivity. Get your daily dose by asking these questions:
“What am I thankful for today?
“What’s something I can look forward to this week?”
Roughly 121 million people around the world suffer from depression. You may feel alone in your troubles, but you’re not. Confronting those negative emotions is your first step out of the abyss.