As malleable as the human brain is, not everyone adapts favorably to ubiquitous circumstances, be it work, school or family life. Poor motivation to engage and thrive in various activities is an issue that plaques a significant number of people. People who struggle with poor motivation are usually labeled as lazy by those who know them. However based on recent research studies showing a connection between mental issues such as depression and physical illnesses such as heart disease, a new theory has developed that suggests poor motivation is the minds’ way of preventing the body from going into complete exhaustion. This occurs when a person finds himself engaged in an activity or chore he or she has no passion or desire to engage in. Engaging in an activity that a person has no passion for can prove to be energy consuming for the mind and body.
Energy is drained on two fronts, the first being the natural exhaustion that occurs from engaging in time consuming tasks, and the second occurs from the mind preparing itself to learn and engage in the activity. When a person has a passion for an activity, the brain produces pleasure chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which enables the brain to become more efficient in using less energy to stay mentally engaged on the task at hand.
So what does a person with no passion and faced with an essential task do to avoid poor motivation? Here are three effective cognitive behavioral techniques that can help.
One: Develop a primary goal.
Ideals aside, the truth is we all have to engage in numerous tasks we prefer not to, in order to find our passion. A good example most people can relate to would be high school (pick your worst subject), but what keeps most people in this predicament going? Simply put, setting a goal. It could be a student putting up with difficult classes in order to go to college, a recruit pushing her way through basic training in order to become a full time soldier, or a college student waiting tables in order to pay for text books. Setting goals provides a light at the end of the tunnel, which provides a sense of hope, which turn allows the person engaged in a task they prefer not to, motivation to see it through.
Research studies have shown that the practice of thinking about not thinking provides a marked improvement in cognitive functions. An improvement in memory, logic, planing and organizing provides significant improvement to symptoms of poor motivation. Another advantage from meditating is that the process of thinking about not thinking enables a person to develop a calmer sense of thinking and feeling. A consistency in calm thoughts and feelings is a good antidote to feelings of chaos and being overwhelmed. Most people who experience poor motivation report feelings of being overwhelmed, which they find easier to cope with by simply giving up.
Three: Cardiovascular Exercises
Depression, amongst other illnesses tends to be a frequent cause for poor motivation. A recent longitudinal study carried out over a period of two decades showed a correlation between increased physical activity and decreased symptoms of depression, while other participants in the study with increased symptoms of depression, reported engaging in little or no physical activity over the past two decades. Further more, studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart muscles and it’s functions, this by extension increases the transportation of oxygen to the brain. A well accepted theory about cognition and physical exercises, is that increased transportation of oxygenated blood to the brain improves overall cognitive functioning, which also improves symptoms of poor motivation.
If after practicing these three measures consistently for ninety days, and no significant improvement is experienced then it would be advisable to seek the services of a Professional Counselor.
Ugochukwu Uche MS., LPC