How To GAF When You Have None Left to Give.

Sometimes it's near impossible to GAF.

Below is a list of techniques to use when you find yourself apathetic and unmotivated.

Accept it – Stop pushing back on your lack of motivation or telling yourself that you should be anything other than exactly who you are. When we push back against or criticize our thoughts, they own us.  We become hyper focused on that thing we don’t like and that easily starts a pattern of self-loathing.  You cannot shame or criticize yourself into being motivated. I recommend you do the exact opposite by saying it out loud.  “I don’t feel like doing anything.  I have no motivation.”

Do it, motivation will come later –   It is a myth to think that motivation comes before doing something. Who wants to pay their taxes or call an airline? No one.  But we do it anyway. What do we call waiting for motivation?  Procrastination.

Stick to a routine.  Human beings are inherently change avoidant.  We want to stay in homeostasis. Our brains built neural pathways that make our routines automatic to us. This automaticity makes us feel safe and secure. Why fight it?  On a practical level, routines give us structure, a sense of accomplishment and let’s us know how we’re doing and clues others in on how we’re doing.

Examine how you talk to yourself – You also want to make sure that critical asshole that you don’t want in your outside world isn’t living in your head. You’re not going to be able to completely silence the self-critic. Don’t make that the goal.  You can change your relationship with it.  First, notice it.  “Ah, my self-critic is really having a go at me right now.” Second, personify or objectify it.  Visualize it as a person or thing that you interact with. Notice what it looks like. Notice how you feel towards it. Third, speak to it. “I hear you and acknowledge you, but I cannot allow you to dictate my life.”  To an outsider, yes, this is going to look like you’re talking to yourself.  But you’re not.  You’re speaking to your internal critic, not yourself.  YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS.

External factors – “Before you diagnose yourself with depression, first make sure, in fact, that you are not surrounded by assholes.” That quote often gets misattributed to Freud or William Gibson.  Neither said it.  It’s likely to have originated on Twitter about 10-15 years ago.  Despite its gossip mill origin, I like it. Are you surrounded by people and activities that leave you feeling more energized or drained?  You want to gravitate towards the stuff that energizes you and avoid people and situations that drain you.  Negativity spreads swiftly.  Avoid it.  And don’t doom scroll.  Nothing good ever comes of it.

Smile – even if you have to fake it.  The brain doesn’t know the difference between fake and real smiles.  Smiling releases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Serotonin is an antidepressant, dopamine gives feelings of pleasure and increases motivation, and endorphins are mild pain relievers.  You can’t go wrong with a combination like that!  Plus, there’s the added benefit that if you smile around others, they are likely to smile back, giving them their own release of the feel goods and gives you a reward.

None of these suggestions are a miracle cure, but they may shorten the intensity and duration of your apathy. Lack of motivation can be a symptom of depression. If you suspect you are depressed, you can test yourself here. If you’d like to discuss depression treatment, contact us.

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