Tips For Finding Motivation When You’re Depressed

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world today. People with depression experience a range of symptoms, including feeling low or sad, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and a lack of motivation. When you’re struggling with depression, finding the motivation to do anything can be difficult – even just getting out of bed in the morning can feel like an insurmountable task. However, there are things that you can do to help yourself find motivation when you’re feeling low. Here are some tips that may help:

1. Break tasks down into smaller steps

One of the most overwhelming things about depression is feeling as though you can’t accomplish anything. When you feel like every task is insurmountable, it can be helpful to break tasks down into smaller steps. For example, instead of trying to tackle a whole day’s worth of tasks at once, you might start by setting yourself one small goal, such as getting out of bed and making yourself breakfast. Once you’ve accomplished that goal, you can move on to the next one.

2. Set achievable goals

When you’re feeling depressed, it’s important to set yourself goals that you can realistically achieve. It can be tempting to set yourself ambitious goals in the hope that they will motivate you, but if you can’t realistically achieve those goals, you may end up feeling even more discouraged. Instead, set yourself small goals that you can achieve easily. For example, instead of setting yourself the goal of exercising for an hour every day, you might start by aiming to go for a 10-minute walk every day.

3. Challenge negative thoughts

Depression often involves negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself and the world around you. These thoughts can be incredibly demotivating and can make it difficult to find the energy to do anything. It can be helpful to challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic ones. For example, if you find yourself thinking “I can’t do anything right”, you might challenge that thought by reminding yourself of times that you have succeeded in the past.

4. Practice self-compassion

Depression can be incredibly isolating, and it can be easy to blame yourself for the way that you feel. It’s important to practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself, even when you feel like you aren’t achieving anything. Remember that depression is a real and valid illness, and it’s not your fault that you’re feeling this way. Give yourself permission to take things at your own pace and to prioritize self-care when you need it.

5. Use rewards and incentives

Motivating yourself when you’re feeling depressed can be a real challenge, but using rewards and incentives can help. Set yourself small rewards for accomplishing tasks or achieving goals, such as treating yourself to your favorite snack or indulging in a relaxing activity. These rewards can help to give you the extra push that you need to get things done.

6. Reach out for support

When you’re feeling depressed, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Reach out to friends, family members, or a mental health professional for support. Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can be incredibly helpful, and they may be able to offer you the encouragement and motivation that you need to keep going.

7. Remember that motivation comes and goes

Finally, it’s important to remember that motivation comes and goes, even for people who aren’t struggling with depression. There will be days when you feel like you can conquer the world, and there will be days when getting out of bed feels impossible. Be gentle with yourself on the days when you’re struggling, and remember that you don’t have to achieve everything all at once. Take things one step at a time, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.


Finding motivation when you’re feeling depressed can be tough, but there are things that you can do to help yourself. By breaking tasks down into smaller steps, setting achievable goals, challenging negative thoughts, practicing self-compassion, using rewards and incentives, reaching out for support, and remembering that motivation comes and goes, you can start to find the energy and enthusiasm that you need to move forward. Remember that depression is a real and valid illness, and it’s important to prioritize your mental health and well-being.


What are some common symptoms of depression that may affect motivation?

Depression can cause a variety of symptoms that can make it difficult to find motivation, including feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

What are some practical tips for finding motivation when you’re depressed?

Some helpful tips for finding motivation when you’re depressed include setting small achievable goals, using positive self-talk, practicing self-care activities like exercise and eating well, focusing on your values and priorities, and seeking support from loved ones or a mental health professional.

Why is it important to seek professional help for depression?

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can have a significant impact on your overall well-being and quality of life. Seeking professional help from a mental health professional can provide you with additional support and resources to help you manage your symptoms and improve your mental health outcomes. It’s essential to seek help if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, as this can improve your chances of recovery and decrease your risk of developing more severe symptoms.


1) De las Cuevas, C., & Peñate, W. (2021). Motivation and adherence in depressed patients: a systematic review. Patient preference and adherence, 15, 1057-1069. Retrieved from

2) Garrison, A. M., & Earleywine, M. (2020). Depressive symptoms predict motivation and self-efficacy for exercise of depressed adults. Journal of occupational health psychology, 25(2), 84-95. Retrieved from

3) Thompson, A., Kent, L., Smith, A., & McCracken, L. M. (2017). Living with chronic pain: The role of motivation, personality and adherence to self-management strategies. The Journal of Pain, 18(9), 1154-1165. Retrieved from