5 Ways to Get Motivated When You are in a Funk

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5 Ways to Get Motivated When You are in a Funk

Evidence-based & with zero judgment

Summary:
1) rethink what you mean by motivated
– motivated has a number of meanings:
– pumped & eager to do anything
– or it can mean just a willingness to get up & get started
– remember, nothing happens until you move

2) tackle some tiny things first to build momentum
– this is particularly good for big or “repellant” tasks
– it is a bit like getting a running start
– get some small victories under the belt, like washing the dishes, paying bills, make 1 phone call etc.,
– make sure the tiny tasks build momentum rather than sapping it
– for e.g. Sometimes checking email may seem like a task to do, but it can suck you into a vortex of distraction

3) start with the outside & work inwards
– take a shower
– put in your contacts
– shave
– put something on apart from your slippers & what you slept in
– looking the part can nudge you towards looking the part
[alternatively, if you look & feel sloppy, a productive day is much less likely]

4) talk to yourself with some compassion
– destructive criticism rarely works & imagine if somebody else spoke to you in the same way – would it motivate you? Or would it make you hurt, resentful & unmotivated?
– talk to yourself like you would a good friend
– instead talk to yourself with understanding & patience
– try stroking your arm (as if it was a good friend doing it) – your body does not know the difference – a kind & soothing touch is worth trying when nobody is watching

5) [MOST IMPORTANTLY] put action before motivation
– it is a myth to think we have to feel like doing something before taking action
– think of all the things you do when you don’t want to – get out of bed on a rainy Monday, pay various bills, pay your taxes etc.,
– same principle applies to things less aversive – go to the gym, eat 3 meals, clean the kitchen
– you don’t have to be psyched to do the things you have to, you can just be “going though the motions”
– getting started often gathers momentum, & can also change your mood
– or in other words, your mood & motivation “catches up”
– research shows gains are made from doing something, rather than anticipating doing something
– doing something motivates us to do something more
– this link is often broken down by depression
– in a 2012 Stanford University research study, it was shown that the link between liking something & being motivated to do it more was broken for depressed people (it involved clicking on more cartoon links) – this is because in depression a cardinal symptom is anhedonia (apathy & lack of pleasure) – their anticipatory pleasure was depressed & therefore they were less able to see reward (of pleasure) for effort – because we cannot imagine getting rewards – but remember, the depressed people did experience initial pleasure (of the cartoons) – therefore, if in a depressed mood – remember to go through the motions even if your heart is not in it – this creates a success spiral

– & remember – sometimes “going through the motions” gets you back in motion

Source: Savvy Psychologist Podcast | podcast date: 7 Oct 2016

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