Posted by: silverliningsblog | November 1, 2018

Motivating yourself…when you just don’t feel like it

MotivationWhen you’re feeling down, it can be hard to want to do anything. Everything just feels like too…much…effort.

I understand this feeling very well. I’ve suffered from both adrenal burnout and depression in the past, so I’ve had periods when I’ve wanted to lie in bed all day and do nothing. When bending over to pick something up off the floor felt too hard. And exercise? No way I had the energy for that.

A lot of the work I do with my clients is helping them to get in touch with their emotions…to listen to their bodies and validate how they’re feeling (e.g. if you feel tired, rest). But there are times when it’s not useful to simply “do what you’re feeling” – like when you’re in the lower vibrational energies of sadness, despair, powerlessness, and depression. Because what you’re likely feeling like doing is watching Netflix and eating an entire cake…and that’s not ultimately going to make you feel better.

When you’re feeling really down, it’s important to know how to motivate yourself to do something different so you can shift out of your current (non-resourceful) state. It’s a myth that you’re going to wake up one day and you’ll suddenly feel motivated to do what you already know you need to do. We’re wired to do what’s easy and familiar, so we all have a natural resistance to doing anything that feels uncomfortable or hard. Which is how we get stuck.

As Mel Robbins says in her powerful interview on motivation, you don’t have to feel good or ready in order to change. You just have to decide to do it, one tiny step at a time. And it’s only once you begin to take those steps and climb the vibrational ladder that you’ll begin to feel better and your desire to pursue your goals will kick back in.

So let’s take that first step…

Taking control of your state

It is normal to experience feelings of sadness and despair in response to adverse life events (e.g. death, job loss, major life changes). In most cases, these sad feelings resolve as you come to terms with the changes. It makes sense at these times to listen to your body, slow your pace down, process your emotions, nurture yourself, and give yourself time to heal.

But sometimes these feelings linger, and turn into excessive sadness, loss of interest in enjoyable things, and low motivation. And it starts negatively impacting your life. That’s when you know a different tactic is needed…it’s no longer useful to simply “listen to your body” and “do what you feel.”

Instead, you want to take steps to consciously change your state (instead of accepting that you have to feel this way). And this will often involve doing things you DON’T initially feel like doing (i.e. taking action opposite to how you feel).

3 ways to change your state

Once you’ve taken some time to observe, process, and validate your feelings, you’re ready to begin shifting out of a non-resourceful state back into a state where you feel motivated to create change.

The three ways to change your state are by changing your:

  1. thoughts (mind)
  2. physical state (body)
  3. emotional state (spirit)

Changing your thoughts (mind)

Some ways to change your thoughts about the situation include:

  • Journal to process your thoughts and feelings so you can let them go.
  • Ask yourself empowering questions to challenge the thoughts that are making you feel sad.
  • Remind yourself of times you’ve gotten through situations like this.
  • Decide how you’d like to feel instead. (e.g. “I want to feel happy and joyful.”)
  • Journal about all the good things in your life/day that you’re grateful

Changing your physical state (body)

Ways to change your physical state include:

  • Get out of bed and have a hot shower. Dress up in your favourite outfit.
  • Stand/sit upright, in a confident position. Pull your shoulders down away from your ears.
  • Release endorphins and move the negative energy out of your body by exercising.
  • Go for a walk outside in nature (better yet, go with a friend).
  • Do an enjoyable activity (e.g. get a massage, do a craft, play an instrument, have a bubble bath, walk in nature, watch a comedy).

Changing your emotional state (spirit)

And finally, ways to change your emotional state include:

  • Listen to upbeat, uplifting music. (Better yet, sing or dance!)
  • Watch inspirational videos, like these TED talks on motivation.
  • Use energizing essential oils.
  • Spend time with loving, supportive people.
  • Reach out for support (call a supportive friend, mental health professional or crisis line).

Just do it!

Nike had it right all along…it really is about “just doing it.”

There will naturally be times in your life when you just don’t feel motivated, or when you feel afraid. In fact, that may be most of the time. But you can take control of your state and consciously shift it by doing what will help you to feel better…whether you “feel like it” or not.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and just take the next step. Soon, you’ll realize you’re moving in the right direction, away from fear and pain and towards the life you want to create.

Good luck…sending you a big virtual hug and lots of positive energy!

Share your thoughts!

I’d love to hear from you…please share your ideas and insights below.

Resources for further learning

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IMG_1956a_5x7Karen Strang Allen is an empowerment coach for single women and mother of two. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great, turn their heartbreak into a breakthrough, and create a life they love, so they become a magnet for their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.


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