What to do when you feel uninterested in engaging with your life?
If you have come to a place where you feel absolutely no interest in living your life or engaging with the people or responsibilities in your life, you are not alone.
There are many possible factors that affect people on the daily- both personal issues as well as factors that are external to them that can cause demotivation and disinterest.
Here are a few things that you can do when you do not have any interest in engaging with your life:
- Understand what is causing this disinterest
- Reflect on what you want from your life
- Take stock of what you have been doing on the daily
- Evaluate your activities
- Make a plan
- Stick to the plan
- Evaluate and make changes
- Seek professional help
Reasons why you feel disinterested in your own life
Let us look at a few reasons why you might be feeling disinterested in engaging with your life and the people in it.
- Everyday is the same and it is mundane. This could be something that you recognise in your own life. That everyday is the same thing- wake up, work, school, eat, sleep- and this form of pattern that is mundane can become tiring to the point where you no longer get excited to wake up.
- You might be doing things online like standing time scrolling on instagram watching movies on netflix and find that there is nothing else you want to do anymore because it is always the same mindless screen time.
- You might be doing things that do not highlight your strengths or do not allow you to apply what you are good at and this can make things difficult for you- you might find yourself avoiding doing these activities because of how challenging it might be or because you do not feel satisfaction from it.
- You might also have unhelpful patterns of thoughts that are holding you back. You might be unconsciously holding on to beliefs and fears that stop you from trying out new things and giving yourself a chance to be happy about these opportunities in your life.
- You do not have a vision and this lack of direction might be making you feel stuck, lost, and unmotivated. Having a plan- be it long term or short term goals are an important part of living happy and satisfied lives as a result, if you have nothing that you are working towards- things that you are passionate and believe in- it could be affecting the way you engage with life.
- You are not allowing yourself to reach high which is limiting the scope of what you desire and also limiting what you can do. Putting a limit to our own goals because of fears and anxieties can limit our own growth and this lack of challenge can also be part of the reason why you feel dissatisfied.
- Another reason why you might be feeling disinterested in your life and the activities of your life could be because of Anhedonia, a symptom that indicates an underlying mental disorder. Anhedonia is a symptom that involves a loss of interest or excitement about things and people in our lives. I can cause a sense of apathy and is usually seen in disorders like depression, and schizophrenia.
How to cope and engage with life again?
So considering all the possible reasons why you might be feeling uninterested in engaging with your life and yourself, here are some things that you can do to help yourself get excited about your life:
Understand what is causing this disinterest
The first thing you can do is to take a moment to reflect on what is causing you so much apathy or disinterest about your life by taking stock of what distresses you the most.
Sometimes we aren’t even aware that we are distressed until someone points it out or something happens to us that brings it to light. So take a moment to take stock about your relationships, your job, your school, and also yourself.
Take time to journal out your thoughts or talk to a friend so that you are able to look at your life objectively and without judgement. If you feel like you do not want to get out of bed because of work, it could be your job-related stress that is causing you so much distress or if you feel anxious about meeting your friends, it could be that your relationships are not as healthy as you thought or that the thoughts you have of yourself is causing distress.
Once you have a somewhat clear picture of what is causing so much resistance in terms of engaging with your life, let us look at what reality therapists call the WDEP strategy.
The ABC Counselling and Psychotherapy, Hebden Bridge calls it,
“…a straightforward model which helps us clarify changes we want to make in our lives”
It uses a short sequence of questions, that is:
W = What do you want from life?
D = What are you Doing currently to get what you want?
E = Evaluating your behaviours, thoughts, and feelings that you are presently doing that might be working or not working
P = Making a new plan to effectively get you what you want
Reflect on what you want from your life
You can take this strategy and put it into action by reflecting on what you want from life that will make you more interested to engage in it.
For example, maybe you do not want to go to your 9-5 job that does not give you any sense of meaning or in a more positive light, maybe what you want is a job that gives you a sense of purpose.
Or maybe you want friends and relationships that give you meaning and fulfillment.
So take out a diary and make a list of what you want, and do so without judgement and a lot of empathy- there is no shame in wanting things- we humans are full of wants even if some of them seem impossible to attain, acknowledging them is a way of acknowledging ourselves.
Take stock of what you have been doing on the daily
Now, the next thing you can do is to be completely honest with yourself about what you have been doing so far to get you what you want or, to put it more bluntly, what have you been doing so far that is blocking you from what you want?
For example, you might hate your job and yet make no efforts to find another job that gives you more fulfillment or you could even be blocking yourself from progressing in your career by not improving your skill set or changing projects.
Or you might want meaningful relationships but choose to hang out with people who do not care about you or you might be blocking any form of emotional closeness with the people who do care about you.
Be honest as you go through the exercise of understanding your patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviours and the choices you make that get in the way of you enjoying your life.
Evaluate your activities
The next thing you need to do is to take courage as you evaluate these choices you have made so far and be honest when you take responsibility for the things you have done or are doing that are making you miserable.
While there are external factors that make you miserable- like a terrible boss or abusive friends- the choice of getting out of these situations and changing your life around is all up to you.
So evaluate what you have been doing so far to enable your patterns or the patterns of others that have affected you so negatively that you are no longer excited or motivated to even try.
Make a plan
Once you have evaluated what you have been doing, take time to understand that these are patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and feelings that have been your way of doing things for a long time and change will be hard.
However, the choice is up to you if you want to change things around. So the next thing you can do is to make a plan- a strategy to help you get what you want.
If you want to change jobs or shift roles that will make you happier or more excited about going to work- make a plan to get that.
Your plan can include- talking to your supervisor, or HR about possible changes or you can even talk to a job coach about possibly looking for new jobs at a different place of work.
If you want to build meaningful relationships, you might have to sit down with a trusted friend or a relationship therapist to understand how you can go about it.
Make sure your plan of action is based on realistic goals and minute steps so that it does not overwhelm you.
Stick to the plan
Making changes is hard and can be scary- especially when you have become so comfortable in the way things have been done so far.
However, to change requires courage and effort- so whenever you make plans to change things around- stick to it, even if the results of change are not what you expected- the fact that you made an attempt is an accomplishment in itself.
Make sure your plans are realistic and so are your goals and stick to the plan even if you have to improvise.
Evaluate and make changes
Sometimes the things we plan out and the steps we take might not be the best and it might not give you the results you want. That is when you take a step back and evaluate your strategies and tailor them to adapt.
You might have made changes in the way you deal with your colleagues at your job which might have differing results but take notice of how you feel, how you behave, and your thoughts- if you feel better then do more of it.
However, if you notice no positive progress, then evaluate your strategies so that it gives you the result you want.
Similarly, awareness in dealing with your relationships comes when you reflect on how the changes make you feel.
For example, if you have abusive relationships, setting your foot down and saying no or cutting them off can have a myriad of reactions- by being aware of how it affects you, you can make the changes you want.
Seek professional help
Now, if you feel like you have done all that you could do to make changes and your disinterest is causing much distress to the point that it is affecting your relationships, your ability to go to work, and the way you see yourself.
It could be indicative of an underlying problem, so it is advisable that you seek professional help- a doctor or a psychologist- who can help you understand what is happening to you and if it is a symptom of a mental disorder, they can help you get the treatment you need.
In this article we have discussed some of the possible reasons why you might be feeling disinterested in life and what steps you can take to overcome it by taking stock of you current patterns and making plans to change it.
Frequently asked questions related to “What to do when you feel uninterested in life”
How do I get over being unmotivated?
Here are some things you can do to overcome lack of motivation:
- Don’t fight the lack of motivation- sometimes you need to take rest and accept that you are unmotivated and having a hard time coping with the demands of your life.
- Take time to understand why you are feeling this way
- Make efforts to understand some possible intrinsic and extrinsic reasons why you feel unmotivated
- Make a list of things that will get you motivated and make plans on achieving it.
- Get support for creating the life you want.
What are signs of being unmotivated?
Some signs and patterns of behaviour that indicate that you are unmotivated include:
- Lack of punctuality
- Change in mood towards colleagues- social isolation or irritability
- Increased absence from work or not meeting demands of responsibility and role
- Lack of focus
- Negativity and pessimism
- And disinterest in the task
How did I get so lazy?
Laziness can be caused by
- Lack of motivation
- No direction or interests
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Stress avoidance
- And it is also caused by the patterns of how we deal with our challenges.
Why do I suddenly lose interest in things?
A possible reasons why you might be losing interest in things suddenly could be because of anhedonia which is a symptoms of underlying mental disorders- such as depression.
People who experience anhedonia have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy and have a decreased ability to feel pleasure.