How to stay motivated during distressed times
Mental Health Oct 20, 2021
How to stay motivated during distressed times

A life without motivation is like an aimless arrow that can go haywire. For its ability to influence one’s decision making, motivation becomes a very important aspect of human behavior. From mathematics to mental health, motivation has a significant role to play in defining the desired outcome. The self-determination theory suggests that a self-motivated person is always energized and self-determined. It is the starting point from where all choices including professional, personal and other important decisions in life culminate.

Motivation and Mental Health Recovery

Lack of motivation may compromise one’s engagement in health-promoting behaviors including eating a healthy diet, physical activity, not smoking, or not drinking alcohol. Similarly, participation is an important factor for the success of any psychotherapy, which in turn depends on how motivated one feels to recover from or overcome their addiction.

That is why motivational interviewing has been considered as an effective counseling approach to change behavior in the unmotivated individuals to reduce resistance and improve recovery rate.

It is important to stay motivated. And the following techniques can prove effective.

  1. Incentives: There is no better incentive than the joy of ‘feeling better’. So, it is important to set short-term goals and appreciate and reward yourself even if a part of them is achieved. You can start by making a list of the tasks you honestly believe you deserve a reward for.

    Make sure you keep a list of the same with you and every time you achieve something from the list – big or small – you reward yourself. And what can be a better reward than that sense of realization that you are one step closer to achieving your sanity, your pride and most importantly the respect you were longing for.


  1. Feel Motivated from Inside and Out: Inside or intrinsic motivation comes from one’s own conscience, and is independent of any reward or incentive, while extrinsic motivation requires encouragement from your support system including family and friends.

    For intrinsic motivation, it is important to have a strong urge to recover, a desire to enjoy life as you have always wanted. Your intrinsic motivation in combination with extrinsic motivation in the form of support of your loved ones or of those you want to share the best moments of your life with can pave the way for a fulfilling life ahead of you.

  2. Self-Empowerment: Self-improvement is the sense of realization when a person understands the importance of good physical and mental health. On the other hand, self-empowerment comprises the steps one takes to achieve this well-being. However, one needs to understand that self-empowerment may not be a simple thing to achieve and would require a lot of hard work. But the good thing is that you are ready to invest hard work and the rest would fall in place by itself.
  3. Choose Positive Activities: Those who continue to focus on their negative qualities tend to experience lower self-esteem. Staying positive is a great way to stay motivated. A positive diversion can be anything from a new hobby, a group or club you are interested in joining, a new way to exercise, or the continuing education class you always wanted to attend. It may also include calling a friend for a game of cards, taking a walk, writing in a journal, washing your car, listening to music, or taking a trip to a local museum or gallery. You may find these things unimportant but these small diversions can make you experience a fresh wave of motivation.
  4. See an Expert if Problem Persists: It may be possible that you don’t feel motivated and positive even after trying every trick up your sleeve. When this happens, it is time to seek professional help. Speak to your doctor about your condition and follow their advice to be able to achieve more in life.

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