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    Do You Suffer From Anhedonia? What To Do When You Just Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything

    When your mood is low, you may find that you’ve lost interest in activities or relationships that were once a staple part of your life and made you happy. In psychology, such loss of interest or pleasure in people and things that were previously enjoyed is known as anhedonia.


    Anhedonia can occur during normal “down” periods that might come about when we experience stressors in day-to-day life. It often accompanies mood disorders, including major depression or acute anxiety. Having less joy and pleasure in life can create more withdrawal, isolation and unhappiness — and even feed depression.


    If you or someone close to you is experiencing anhedonia, take heart: There are strategies to regain interest and pleasure in life. One advantage of targeting anhedonia is that we know that underneath, there’s still a felt sense of interest and pleasure that doesn’t simply go away entirely. It’s just temporarily less accessible.


    Reactivating your body can begin to reactivate interests and pleasures. Often, an effective way to do this is simply by doing some of the things that the “healthier you” liked to do, but for a shorter period of time or with less intensity (at first). However, it’s important to schedule such activities so that there’s no deciding whether you “feel up to it.” Otherwise, you might find yourself saying “just one more episode and I’ll get to it.” Then before you know it, the couch has you in its grips for the rest of the day. It’s important that when you assign yourself a pleasure/interest practice, don’t overdo it at first because if you’re overwhelmed, you might find yourself avoiding — or giving up entirely.


    The goal or expectation should not be to feel a full return of pleasure and interest immediately, but to gradually reactivate your physical body as a way of connecting with the underlying pleasures and interests that still exist inside you. Also, avoid things that might contribute to feelings of depression, such as excessive drinking or substance use. Remember, less is more at first. Perhaps 15 minutes in the beginning with a plan to gradually increase with practice. Here are a few ideas:


    • Go for a short walk and notice the world around you.
    • Play a musical instrument or engage in a hobby.
    • Savor a hot cup of tea.
    • Call a family member.
    • Take a warm bath and listen to music.
    • Ride a bicycle.
    • Participate in a group activity, like a basketball game.
    • Go to a coffee shop with a friend.
    • Write a card or note to a loved one.


    The key is coming up with ideas based on things that would typically interest you or make you feel good to allow your body to reactivate those thoughts and feelings again. Your mood may also benefit due to increased socialization or exercise.


    If mood issues persist despite your best efforts, don’t let your struggle take a toll on your mental health and relationships. I encourage you to find a counselor who can help you find the ways — and the will — to reengage with yourself and the world around you. You can reach out to me at 407-579-2070. With help, happiness and joy can be rediscovered.




    Therapy services available via Telehealth.