Understanding Depressive Symptoms – Apathy and Lack of Motivation Happiness Episode 19d


welcome to happiness isn’t brain surgery with Doc’s nights this podcast was created to provide you the information and tools doc Snipes gives her clients so that you two can start living happier our website doc Snipes calm has even more resources videos and handouts and even interactive sessions with Doc Snipes to help you apply what you learn go to doc Snipes calm to learn more I’d like to welcome everybody to happiness in brain surgery with Doc’s nights today we’re going to continue talking about causes of depressive symptoms and ways to address them in this section we’re going to review the causes consequences and possible interventions for lack of motivation and apathy now these are symptoms that are common to a lot of things and you may not be depressed but you may just have one of those days or weeks where you’re just like I just don’t care I’m feeling blah about everything and I often tell people you know think about your from Winnie the Pooh he was kind of apathetic and just went along not a whole lot of motivation this is kind of what I’m talking about here so whether you’re depressed or not if you’re experiencing a lack of motivation and apathy we may have some tips for you here apathy is defined as a lack of motivation due to a lack of energy and/or a lack of pleasure or reward so you just don’t care it’s like whatever I have no desire motivation is a feeling that can best be described as a desire to get up and go so if you’ve got motivation then you don’t have apathy they’re kind of flip sides you cannot get motivated without being able to experience pleasure or reward when you do something there’s a reward for it that’s basic behavior modification we do the things that have the most reward available to them so when we’re talking about increasing motivation when we’re talking about getting up and doing something we’re talking about what’s the reward we’re going to choose the best option you know I’m sitting on the couch I’m watching the Netflix marathon and I’m looking around going you know what I really need to mop the floors what do you think I’m most motivated to do where’s the reward watching the Netflix marathon or mopping the floors fortunately or unfortunately in my case it’s mopping the floors because I’m a freak about floors but you’re going to choose the one that’s probably most rewarding so if you’ve got to do something that’s not too rewarding you’re going to have to figure out how to make it warning and I do have some tips for you there dopamine norepinephrine and serotonin are all involved in pleasure and reward so if they’re at a whack then you’re probably going to have difficulty feeling motivated and experiencing reward for things now dopamine for example is and serotonin are prominent in prominently motifs toward manipulated when somebody takes opiates so it’s not just depression it could be a medication side effect that’s causing lack of motivation and apathy after the dopamine system kind of gets out of whack if you don’t have that substance in there to keep the levels up then you may not feel quite so good an imbalance between any of these three chemicals is believed to contribute to the lack of ability to feel reward or pleasure which is why a lot of people return or relapse or reuse certain drugs because they’re not feeling their neuro chemicals are out of whack and without that drug they’re not feeling happiness and reward imbalances can be caused by addictive behaviors and I say that really generally we’re talking about everything from sex addiction to opiates anything that causes a rush that gives you an extreme sense of pleasure that’s letting the dopamine floodgates open which means your body has to make more and rebalance everything and there’s a whole presentation on what happens in addictive behaviors with your with your neurotransmitters just be aware that addictive behaviors of any kind can cause an imbalance in your neuro chemicals now the good thing is after a period of not engaging in those behaviors your brain chemicals generally balance back out to what they should be for you now whether that’s normal or happy I can’t say now some people started using because they or self-medicating because their brain just didn’t make enough of certain neuro chemicals and if that’s you then after your brain balances back out to where it should be then you can start finding ways working with your psychiatrist or your doctor to get those neurotransmitter levels where they should be but we can’t tell anything until after your brain has recovered from being exposed to addictive behaviors chronic stress mental or physical also alters your neuro chemical balance remember I talked earlier about how serotonin goes down in the presence of cortisol so understanding that if you’re under chronic stress and it can be physical as well as mental if you’re in pain all the time it’s going to be hard to feel pleasure and I most people can think back to a time when they were mentally stressed or when they were physically sick or in pain and then you can go yeah you know it was real difficult to find anything really enjoyable at that point in time so the Y’s are less important than understanding that that’s what happens lack of quality sleep causes neurotransmitters to get out of balance poor nutrition your body makes neurotransmitters and recovers and repairs from the food you eat if it doesn’t have enough building blocks you’re probably not going to feel optimal and hormone imbalances as we age as we get sick when we take certain medications your hormones can get out of whack so it’s important to pay attention to that as a possible cause of apathy and lack of get-up-and-go if you will the nice thing is hormones can be measured in most hormones can be measured in blood tests so that’s something your doctor can easily look at and go yes there’s a problem or no there’s not your thyroid hormone is one of the ones that’s easiest to test for so if your hypothyroid you’re probably not going to have a lot of get-up-and-go so let’s talk about motivation killers here there’s ten of them lack of purpose if you’re getting up and you just don’t see the point to doing something you’re not going to have a lot of motivation so it’s important to identify those people things and goals which are important to you and whenever you’re getting ready to do something go okay how is this helping me get closer to the people things and goals that are important to me and once you identify that you’re going to be like okay it’s worth getting up and working on poor diet make sure you’re eating a healthy diet including adequate water you don’t have enough water you’re going to feel foggy fatigued exhausted and regardless of anything else when you’re feeling that way when you’re feeling sluggish your motivation generally will wane you want to get quality proteins because those are the building blocks your body needs and good sources of B vitamins and magnesium why B vitamins and magnesium because they’re needed for the chemical reactions that break down the protein to make the neuro chemicals and the hormones you need to keep going vitamins are basically your body’s little spark plugs think about trying to start a lawnmower and you’ve got great gas in the lawnmower the lawnmower itself you know pretty functional you go to start it and it just won’t turn over because the spark plug is not there or because the spark plug is dead well same sort of thing happens in your body if you’re not providing it the proteins are like the gas and the vitamins are like the spark plug so you can have great proteins in there but if you’re not getting a good balance of vitamins your engine ain’t gonna go quality sleep I know we went over this last time we’re going to spend a little time here I use the acronym shades this might help you remember it S stands for have a sleep routine an hour and a half before bed to help cue your body it’s about time to go to sleep H stands for hydration reduce it three hours before bed so you don’t have to get up and go pee throughout the night a stands for alcohol avoid it you want to make sure that your blood alcohol is zero point zero zero zero at bedtime so you’re not processing alcohol when you’re trying to go to sleep B stands for darkness use blue light filters on any of your electronic devices to help you get to sleep if you have a television on when you’re going to sleep then make sure to set the sleep timer so it goes off you know shortly after you drift off so that’s not interrupting your sleep East ants for ergonomics have a good pillow and a good mattress so you’re not waking up with a sore shoulder or a crook neck and S stands for stimulants avoid them cut back on your caffeine make sure you cut back on your if you use any nicotine products two hours before bedtime and be aware that decongestants are stimulants and will impact your sleep if you have to take them but you want to try to avoid anything that’s a stimulant several hours before bed other motivation killers include being overwhelmed you need to prioritize make a list of everything you got to do and I say got to do because most of us think we got to do everything then you want to prioritize the must booze from the can waits and you know I have a list of gotta do’s a mile long but there’s probably probably only about 15 of them that I have to do or there’s going to be significant negative consequences the rest of them are can wait you know as energy allows make a list of the things on your must do list and try doing one thing a day start knocking them off one at a time instead of going well I’ve got to get all this done this weekend identify two or three things and the next weekend two or three more things ask for help and delegate things that can be delegated you can mark some things off your list by having the kids help out your neighbor your spouse with best friend whatever simplify some things don’t have to take a bunch of time if you normally spend an hour and a half cooking dinner every night well that’s wonderful but if you are short on time and you are overwhelmed meals can be simplified there are what are those things called frozen dinners that you can put in you can order out do you want to do that every single night no prob not but can you simplify if there’s a week where you just feel like you’ve got sixteen million things going on sure cleaning is the same way you know yes ideally you would dust and vacuum and mop and do all those things on a regular basis but in the big scheme of things if you are pinched for time what has to be done in your mind as far as cleaning goes and leave it at that you know if you can skip laundry for a week then maybe you can set and maintain boundaries with other people a lot of times we get feeling overwhelmed because we’ve said yes to too many people somebody asks us to do something and we say yes and we need we have a bunch of other stuff going on but we don’t want to bother anybody but by asking for help one of the important things in health and happiness is finding balance being able to say no and being okay with that if you can’t look at the reasons why are you afraid of rejection that might be something else you need to deal with obviously you don’t want to say no in a mean way but being able to say no and stick to your guns and say you know no I’ve really got too much going on right now maybe next week or two weeks from now we can set a time to go out and hang out or something the setting and maintain boundaries is really important to keeping from being overwhelmed the other part of that is being able to ask for help when you’ve got too much on your plate being able to go to one of your friends and say I really need assistance with this would you be willing and they can say yes or no but those boundaries are there to help you know what you can and can’t do and know when you need help if you set boundaries that tell you that you know when it gets to this point I really need to reach out that’s going to help you be happier and healthier circadian rhythm disruption is also another motivation killer aim for five to ten minutes of sunlight in the morning and Eve a lot of us get this going to and from our car but if you don’t maybe you can sit by a bright window when you’re drinking your coffee in the morning I mean ideally out on the patio but you don’t have to be in bright sunlight obviously you don’t really want to do it between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the UV is the strongest but you do want to get bright light that cues your body that hey it’s morning and throughout the day so your body knows that it’s time to be awake keep a similar daily schedule and during dark Darke weeks or seasons use daylight bulbs at least 14 hours a day and like I said in the other presentation daylight bulbs are not the same as light therapy but they will help if you use the broad spectrum daylight bulbs and keep it bright in your environment about 14 hours a day another motivation killer is a lack of reward some goals are long-haul it’s not something that’s going to be fixed in a week depression recovery going on a diet anger management those are all things that are probably going to take several weeks or even a couple of months to really see significant improvement if you don’t get a reward until several weeks or several months down the road you’re probably not going to stay motivated to keep working on it so identify daily and weekly sub goals that you can give yourself credit for so for example in depression recovery if you go an entire day without crying you know that might be a big milestone for you so give yourself some sort of a reward note the small steps note the small progress that you’ve got going to keep yourself moving forward don’t take for granted a job well done either so if it’s something that’s long haul like you know depression recovery or getting in shape don’t do it and go well you know that’s what I’m supposed to do do it and look back at it and go I did that give yourself credit for making progress give yourself credit for how hard it is to actually change a way of thinking or a way of acting or a way of being that has characterized you for quite a while so give yourself credit for and even for the small things like mopping the floor look at it and go that looks good instead of got that done moving on to the next thing positive rewards too often even with other people the only time we say something is that when it’s negative we don’t give positive feedback unsolicited we don’t walk in and go hey you did a really good job getting your chores done today I know I try to do that more with with my teenagers when I come home instead of just taking for granted but yep they did their chores I try to make sure that I give them positive feedback so they know that I noticed and they know that I recognize that it took effort for them to do their chores you have a lack of get-up-and-go one thing that I learned when I was working on my dissertation was the principle of do 15 sometimes it’s really really overwhelming to get started but if you think you know what I can do anything for 15 minutes so I would get on the computer and I would say I’m going to work on this for 15 minutes and after 15 minutes if I’m still miserable then I will do something else I can’t think of a single time that I got on the computer to do 15 and got off after 15 minutes usually once I got started it wasn’t so bad it was just getting up and getting started so the do 15 principle helps pair it with something else like watching TV when I fold laundry I watch TV when my son was little and even sometimes now when I’m doing it without my son but we made a game out of it we would pair socks and we would have buckets for everybody socks and we would see who could make the most baskets and it was a game I have horrible aim so it’s always you know a reward if I actually make it into the bucket little mind games that you can play with yourself can make it more interesting or amusing call a friend if it’s something you can do and talk to a friend at the same time sometimes that makes it go faster or listen to music put on your headphones and just rock out while you’re doing whatever it is misery loves company and you know you wouldn’t think this would go into motivation killers but if you’ve got something that you’ve got to do like maybe you don’t want to go to the gym you hate going to the gym but you really want to get in better shape if you can find somebody else who’s a friend that wants to go to the gym with you whether they loved it or hated it doesn’t really matter the two of you can go together and it’s easier to do something that you don’t want to do if you’ve got some social support doing it so one of the reasons I go to the gym I like being surrounded by other people that are pushing themselves congratulate yourself and appreciate the work when it’s done so just like I said before whatever you’re doing instead of going all right got the got the laundry done moving on to the next task when you’re finished look at it and go wow I just did four loads of laundry good for me time for a break congratulate yourself give yourself a little 15-minute break and then move on to the next task another motivation killer is fear of failure so what does failure mean to you if you fail why is that a big deal some people look at failure as an opportunity to learn other people look at failure as a mark against them so what does failure mean to you and about you once you figure that out then you can start addressing it what what do you do when you fail so if you go out and you try a new project and you fail miserably at it do you feel embarrassed or do you go well I still have a lot more to learn and you go back to the drawing board find a failure slash success mantra if you go online you can google this and come up with a bunch of them from really famous people if you haven’t failed you haven’t tried as one of my favorite because a lot of times failure means we’re getting outside of our comfort zone we’re getting outside of doing the things that we know how to do and do well and we’re trying something new and it means it’s okay to not get on the first time we’ve got to figure out you know come back regroup and start again it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad about us in some cases it means that we were courageous enough to try something that we weren’t guaranteed on getting correct the first time another motivation killer is a lack of attention to your temperament extroverts prefer active environments so if you’re doing something and you’re by yourself all the time and you’re an extrovert you’re probably going to quickly lose motivation when I used to study I’m an extrovert I would prefer to go either to a coffee shop and study or to the library now I’m not talking to people but I’m around other people and there’s hustle and bustle and energy those are the environments that I thrive in and I was more motivated to study in those environments introverts on the other hand just won a block of uninterrupted time where they can sit and be alone for four hours or however long it is to do their thing and then they can come out so an introvert is not going to be motivated to go to the library where there’s going to be interruptions and chaos sensors want widgets sensors want things that they can move around they want facts they want details anything that’s big picture or broad is not going to be real motivating for them because they want something they can manipulate into ITER’s on the other hand need to see the big picture so we need to see why is it that we’re doing this again so I can do the small detail stuff if I can see the big picture I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I’m an intuitive I’m not big on those small details I would rather not deal with them but I can get motivated to work with them if I can see the goal I can see what’s at the end thinkers need to know why it’s important and necessary remember they tend to go from a good bad lens where feelers need to know how it will help harmonize people how will it help everybody else be happier how will this work to helping me be happier judgers need structure and planning so if you’re working in an environment where there’s it’s very spontaneous judgers are going to get worn out and stressed out really easily and it’s going to be hard for them to get motivated perceivers on the other hand need flexibility and work best with a deadline because they can get a little too loosey-goosey but if they have too much structure they’re not going to be motivated because they’re going to feel like they’re being you know suffocated they’re going to feel stuck and not have the room to kind of spread their wings and be spontaneous so going back to either Keirsey calm and doing the Keirsey temperament sorter or going back to the presentation I did on strengths needs attitudes preferences and temperament figure out what temperament dimensions you align with most closely and pay attention to those if you feel a lack of motivation go what is it that I need to help get me excited or get me more motivated to keep going on the particular goal or activity chronic stress it kills motivation so you want to empty your trunk guilt and resentment you can’t change the past it happened so holding on to that carrying it around like you know two 50-pound bags of dog food in your trunk it’s going to really weigh on your gas mileage you want to get that stuff out of your trunk figure out how to deal with it develop a healthy support system we all face stress like I said in earlier there are inevitable stressors healthy support systems are there to lend a hand or at least emotional support during those periods of stress and those things that are just unavoidable and pick your battles we can get caught up too often getting upset and angry over things that really have no consequence to us and the little image here is the little dog from dog from up and he says I’ve just met you and this is crazy but he’s getting ready to pour his card out to this guy which is important for him to nurture that relationship but then he sees a squirrel and it gets all distracted when we are under chronic stress when we don’t pick our battles it’s too easy to get distracted by every shiny thing that goes by or every irritant that goes by we want to be able to say you know what not worth my energy I want to use my energy over here you need energy to be motivated you need energy for get-up-and-go so pick your battles lack of motivation and apathy is called by an imbalanced neurotransmitters which can be caused by a lack of purpose poor nutrition poor sleep poor time management circadian rhythm disruption lack of reward lack of get-up-and-go fear of failure not paying attention to your temperament and chronic stress so there’s a lot of stuff that you can start looking at before you even start thinking about you know maybe I’m biologically something’s going wrong look at all these other things and see what sort of lifestyle factors are contributing but you may not have a natural ideal balance of neurotransmitters or certain hormones and your position can help with that but 80% of people in the US have lifestyle factors that are contributing to their imbalance of neural chemicals so look and figure out which lifestyle factors you have that you can address pick one at a time start addressing it and remember improvement in one area is going to produce improvement in every other area most likely if you like this podcast you can subscribe on your favorite podcast app you can join our Facebook group at Doc’s nights comm slash Facebook or join our community and access additional resources at Doc Snipes calm

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