6 Motivation Tips When You’re Feeling Depressed

Depression is a difficult illness for even the most iron-willed of individuals. Whether you’re clinically depressed or just in a rut, depression can make basic tasks like cleaning the house, taking a shower and even getting out of bed incredibly difficult and physically and mentally draining. It is important to stay motivated to continue to live your life and work towards feeling better, even when you’re at your lowest point. Here are some simple ways that you can motivate yourself on a daily basis:

•    Don’t be too harsh with yourself. It’s going to take time to get things done like you used to and to feel like your old self. Changes are not going to happen overnight, so don’t be overly critical of yourself if you make mistakes or don’t get as much done as you’d like. You’re having a hard enough time without getting on your own case.

•    Be realistic. Making a laundry list of things to do is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Start with small positive changes and work from there. If you’re not realistic you’ll just end up frustrated and more depressed.

•    Surround yourself with people. While you may just want to curl up and be alone, this isn’t the best or easiest route for you when you’re depressed. Having others around you to give you a helping hand, talk to you and provide you with inspiration is important to feeling better and getting back into the swing of things, even if you feel like you just want to shut everyone out.

•    Move around. Lying in bed all day or hunkering down on the couch isn’t going to do much but give you more time to feel bad about things. When you force yourself to get up, even if only for a short walk or to tend to some plants outside, you’ll be helping yourself feel better physically and mentally.

•    Start a project. For many, this may seem like that last thing they want to do but an enjoyable project can give you something to concentrate on that will bring your thoughts away from depression and give you something to feel proud of when you’re done.

•    Make a plan. If even the smallest tasks seem like a chore, start small with planning out what you’re going to do each day. In the morning, write down the things you’d like to accomplish and in the evening, go back and check off what you did. This can help you regain your sense of control over your life at a time when it seems the most chaotic.

Recovering from depression is a hard road, but with some planning and slow but steady progress you may be able to start feeling optimistic about your life again. For a list of more great depression resources, click here.

Meredith Walker is a guest blogger for PickTheBrain.com. She writes about online nursing programs and welcomes your feedback.

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58 Responses to 6 Motivation Tips When You’re Feeling Depressed

  1. Thanks for this. One thing I’d add is that getting really conscious of how I experience the depression is helpful — paying attention to what sensations I’m feeling, like a sinking feeling in my stomach or a heat in my forehead. When I see that the depression is really just a bunch of sensations, and I strip it of all the mental baggage, it doesn’t seem quite as serious or threatening.

  2. This is a great, uplifting post! Thank you so much for writing this.

  3. I agree with the last two points most of all. Start a project, and make a plan. That, in my opinion, is the best way to dig ones self out of a slump. If one wallows in the depression with out even looking for a way out that depression with last until something external changes.

    If we focus on the internal causes, and solutions, for our own state of mind we can take more control over that state and begin to improve it.

    Sometimes our external reality has to change as well, but if we make a solid plan to change our situation that act alone will start the long climb out of the doldrums.

  4. Kim says:

    Great article. I’ve also noticed that we tend to migrate to people like people. Moreover, I agree with the tip to ‘move around.’ I think keeping busy, especially physically is a great way to combat depression.

  5. I’ve a few periods of intense depression in my life, and the hardest thing I found was doing anything at all.

    Everything just seemed like too much effort … even getting out of bed. I find breaking things down into the smallest chunk possible helped. Even getting out of bed can be broken down into several steps (pull back the covers, sit up, legs over the side etc.).

    Each small step then becomes a small victory over inaction and away from depression.

  6. mike says:

    Great article. I think when somebody is in such a state, it’s important to make a plan and stick to it. People get depressed for so many different reasons – often times reasons that aren’t even a consequence of their own actions. It’s important to understand one’s ability to make conscious decisions about how their life will be moving forward starting now.

  7. All good tips. And if you have any reason to suspect clinical depression, seek help, especially if it’s been going on for years or even decades. I’ve known cases like that – where the person seems determined to solve it on their own and it never happens.

  8. Thank You Meredith, great blog. As a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher for over 20 years, I see depression as well as anxiety affected by our kindness toward ourselves. Learning to be kind helps us be realistic about what is possible. Exercise does certainly help or any kind of physical activity. Yes if folks can manage to get out and see other people, start a project or plan, it allows them to get out of their own internal tape loop and let in new information.

    Here’s to all of us shaking things up a bit

    Dr. Jennifer Howard

  9. Starting a project, that’s one that really keeps me going. Working on my website is great. It’s so good to have something that I can be excited to work on every night. I’m obsessed with checking the visits each day. So yeah, this is one I can definitely relate to.

  10. Sarah says:

    The power of positive feelings. For years when someone asked me “how are you?” I would respond with “It’s Good To Be Me.”

    Every time I said those words it made me feel good about myself. It’s not that I am a perfect person, but over time I realized that even my mistakes and unpleasant circumstances were a part of what made me the person I am.

    I feel good about myself much of the time and when I say those words, “It’s Good To Be Me.”, I feel great. Try it… post a comment here about why it is good to be you, and enjoy the powerful and empowered comments of others.

  11. I’ve found exercise to be one of the best ways to get out of a funk fast. Just a walk around the block is enough to clear the head. I think that movement creates more movement – the hardest part is taking the first step.

  12. Rosie says:

    I’m always feeling depressed. I’m from a traditional Indian background. My parents are very old fashioned. They dnt want me to talk to any of my friends, they won’t let me go out by myself and it’s always about how I shud change. I’m 22 and even though my faith keeps me going, I feel like running away. It’s been like this for 5 years and I cnt handle it ne more.

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  14. Thanks a lot. Have really enjoyed reading your article.

  15. I agree that exercise is a great way to improve your state. In addition, improving diet can be another great strategy, I find a huge difference in the way I feel when I cut out junk food and focus on eating healthy food instead.

  16. amritamundal says:

    hey thnx for this article :) it was really helpful.. i now feel better

  17. Thank you for this article!
    I would like to add that it is also important strategy is to cultivate a positive environment for yourself. And that includes being surrounded by people that you like.People that give you negative vibrations…keep away from them.If you like flowers, buy yourself a bouquet once in a while, or listen to uplifting music.Just do things that make you happy.
    Dina Ruth

  18. Oli Hille says:

    Thanks for this article. Six valid tips!

    People who liked this article might enjoy my free Lifestyle Tips service:


    Oli Hille
    “Creating the Perfect Lifestyle”

  19. Hi. When someone you care about has a psychological illness, this should be treated seriously. I’ve been checking out this great website on Psychological Treatment Center California and I think you guys should check it out and refer it to some you love. thanks

  20. What a clear and easy to understand post! Every suggestion is sensible and simple to do. It is true that while in the grip of depression it is hard to make oneself do anything much, but your article suggest breaking everything down into “baby steps.” Surrounding oneself with people is one of the best tools I have personally used-great article.

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  22. Very true say its very hard to come out of depression we need motivation from someone or to need motivational words to come out of this situation. I have personally read many motivational things to come out of it. 

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  24. I have the same feeling with you!

  25. I have the same feeling with you!

  26. I have the same feeling with you!

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  28. Thanks for sharing!It is very useful.

  29. Drakecastle says:

    I suffer from clinical depression, but this didn’t help. :( I don’t know how to feel better!

  30. A. says:

    What if you just want to die instead, how are you supposed to come out of that?

  31. A. says:

    What if you just want to die instead, how are you supposed to come out of that?

  32. Carrisa says:

    Surrounding yourself with people is the hardest yet one of the most important things to do!
    When we get depressed we feel like no one cares so we isolate ourselves and that makes our depression 100x worse. When we’re alone we can convince ourselves of all kinds of dangerous things.
    It’s hard to make ourselves seek out people when depressed but there is no two ways around it, we just have to do it.

  33. I totally agree with you!Thanks for sharing!

  34. Jeny says:

    I’m glad that i found out about this because i sometimes have problems with my family they push me too hard and they make me do that at once. I don’t get them at all. So i just follow the steps and get a good mood.

  35. ya says:

    fuck man. thanks. just… thank you.

  36. Kristen Odden says:

    sound like some good tips. its worth a try. here i go.

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  39. Guest says:

    Great post- one of the best I’ve read. Clear, easy to read and remember, and one of the few that includes “Don’t be hard on yourself” and acknowledges that performance WILL be down ie acceptance. Really good job! Thanks:)

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  41. After 40 years of depression and mood swings, I recently realized a VERY important thing…

    There is a difference between Depression and a PANIC  ATTACK!

    In the throes of a Panic, I feel completely overwhelmed…   

    I cannot focus myself,  calm down my mind OR  body, become “motivated” by  cajoling, pep-talking, promising myself rewards,  etc. or FUNCTION at all!

    I am literally at the mercy of being stuck in mental glue and free-falling emotionally and physically.

    For 40 years, I suffered DEPRESSION because I beat myself up over my inability to accomplish even the smallest goal while under the weight of a Panic Attack…

    FINALLY,  I found that Panic Attacks are, for the most part,  BRIEF  “Flare-Ups”- (Comparatively so, as in contrast to “Chronic” Depression which can last days, weeks, months and Years-)  and that if I can “Weather” these Storms, I can  pick myself up and continue LIVING!

    When I am suffering with a Panic Attack now,  I’ve learned to just CUT MYSELF SOME SLACK-

    If all I can do is sleep… then that is what I do.

    If  I feel like I need to scream… I do. (privately-)

    If nothing “productive” gets done during this time…  So be it!

    After 40 years,  I now know that the Panic will come and go, but remind myself of the fact that they Do GO…  and that I Can and DO accomplish some pretty amazing things when my mind and body feel more “Up”!

    The Depression is less frequent and less severe when I realize that-

    Hope this helps you as well!!!

  42. Lorato Fani says:

    i am depressed,i fil like m out and down i cannot even read ma books.

  43. Hollymclane1224 says:

    It’s hard when you’re living with someone that doesn’t understand and is not suppotive I have four beautiful boys and my husband is on my case constantly I never do anything I enjoy any more and it’s very hard to get away from him since he’s working from home I feel hopeless because he just makes me feel worse I have major depression and anxiety it’s hard for me to drive or go out and be social and I’m finding it hard to care for my family I have a lot on my plate any idea’s of how to get him to understand what I am going threw?

  44. Laurascardino says:

    concentrate on what you can do and not what you cant

  45. Melissajasmine says:

    Thanks for your comment, i have currently been in bed all day and your advice has helped me feel just a little bit more capable.

  46. Guest says:

    I am experiencing an intense depression which is dramatically affecting my ability to  function. I have always been somewhat obsessive/compulsive when it came to my surroundings and found a dirty, cluttered environment impossible to live in. Everything had to have a place and I would become physically ill if things were moved around by friends or family. I knew immediately if something was touched, I was that fanatical about it. Now, my house is completely out of control. Dishes are stacked, trash is getting crazy, laundry taking over, it is insane! But I just look at it and cannot bring myself to clean. What is happening to me? Everyday I say this will be the day and I cannot do it. Each day it gets worse and now it is overwhelming. I feel broken and I don’t let anyone know how bad things really are. It says force yourself to get up and do things, but what happens when you cannot even do that? Something that always motivated me in the past was looking around and seeing that so many others have had worse tragedies hit their lives and I should be grateful things were not as horrific as they could be. Now that doesn’t even work. I don’t even really feel sadness anymore, I just don’t feel.

  47. Dparks says:

    Part of my depression may be my limitations of physical movement. I have gained an enormous amount of weight and have developed serious foot problems which makes walking extremely painful. I give into the pain and never get any physical activity. I am living a completely sedentary lifestyle and this cycle is literally killing me. Is it the physical limitations causing the depression or the depression inhibiting me from getting the exercise I need?

  48. Holly44_2000 says:

    I can identify with your response.  I have a family history of serve depression and your response is exactly how my family response to it all.  In fact, it killed my brother.  He weighed over 600 pounds and never moved…ever…neither did our mother.   I have to fight it constantly.  I too, break things down.  If you can set a chair where the chores need to be done.  And, commit to bathing everyday…..no matter how empty you’re feeling.    That’s a good start for a few months.    30 minutes a day of housework will make all the difference  to maintaining your environment and the bathing….you’ll feel so much better about yourself. 

  49. I appreciate you taking the time to write this post. It has been quite valuable to me indeed. Appreciate it……………..

  50. Indeed, depression can really hit anyone even the most iron-willed. The worse part of it is that sometimes, an individual may not even be completely aware that he or she is going through this stage. At times, they are in denial. However, if you know that you are getting depressed, these tips will definitely help you out.

  51. Just Me says:

    Wow. Out of every post here, this just completely reflects me right now. I call it my “dark night of the soul.” Logic tells me that nothing lasts forever, but the feeling right now is that ive been (finally) handed too much to handle, and im planning my escape route. Its as much as I can do to write on here and surround myself with this support. Ive always been a fighter but this is feeling out of hand this time. I dont know the answer, but I just keep telling myself the definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. So, with nothing left to lose, and everything to be gained, here’s to making a change and trying something new…..
    Wishing you all love and laughter xx

  52. deepthi says:

    thank you so much….i feel much better now

  53. whatsleft says:

    Having read a large portion of this, I am even more convinced
    I’m an odd-ball.

    extremely confident person, especially in my own ability with work, and sports
    I partake in, and no evidence of any panic attacks. However, for around 16 years I have wished to go
    to bed and not awake, therefore each morning I’m extremely disappointed. Aside
    from the odd day, in all those years, my mind does run riot with how to end it;
    I simply have no real regrets and there’s nothing I wish to achieve in the
    future. I’ve led a very interesting life compared to most.

    I foresee I won’t act on those daily thoughts, as I’m still
    here, and a very poor effort made years ago suggests I’m either too weak to do
    it or unwilling to give up hope of feeling differently.

    I am a mess, for sure, but people around me wouldn’t dream of
    such a thing as they all perceive me to be ‘in control’, largely because of my
    confident display; this makes things harder because the few friends I have
    talked to seem to not believe I’m for real.

    I do know where the initial upset stems from (a failed
    relationship, and no answers as to what went wrong), but also accept that
    although I still think about her almost every day, I know that my [mental]
    issues are more a result of my actions from that point on, less the actual
    event itself. I’ve had numerous relationships since and have lived and worked
    abroad for over a decade, but those night-time feelings just won’t go away.

    You see, bonkers! I display a confidence, often beyond most, but
    don’t want to awake. Though I drink and smoke every day (not huge amounts), I
    have enough control to stay away from drugs. I am at the higher end [skills] of
    my trade, but get depressed at the idea of returning to it.

    Each day/week/month over the last 16 years, I’ve tried hard to
    embrace things (sometimes with brief periods of improved enthusiasm, and only intermittent
    depression), which in itself is seen by others that my foresight is positive, but
    once the honeymoon period is over I’m back to the same slump. I’m too long in
    the tooth now (44) to believe I can turn my character around completely, but I
    would just like to feel some motivation and enthusiasm for the future. And for
    once look forward to seeing a brand new day.

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  56. youfidd says:

    get in contact with me… my email is omkarborkar95@icloud.com
    I have been going through this and i am partially out of it. And on my way to being completely out of depression.

  57. Pingback: 6 Motivation Tips When You’re Feeling Depressed | ELLEWORLD

  58. Purvi Sharma says:

    I have actually nothing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to cry about, my life is very good….I mean I have caring and loving parents and relatives, good academic performance, I m popular in school (yes,I am 16 and in class 11), loved by everyone who meets and knows me and above all that everyone feels I am a confident, optimistic and courageous girl (except my parents)…but still I get a lot very depressed and suicidal thoughts keep on occurring and even a class test can make me fell like running away and killing myself and during exam time appetite loss, sleeplessness and being irritable is very common apart from ending my life thoughts. While half of my time studying is actually devoted to overcome this feeling of ending myself and the rest half to uplift my mood. this is taking a toll on my studies and I not able to help myself further.
    And everyone else I share this with suggests me to stay strong but now being strong anymore is making me weak and while typing this as well i am being tempted to take that paper cutter kept in my drawer and slaughter myself….
    Please I need help for it and I have tried all the above mentioned tips but all ways lead to the graveyard it seems….. I want to overcome it and dont want it to come back ever…

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