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How To Stay Interested In Your Life When Depressed

source: gnurf at

When depressed we often lose interest in ourselves, our family, friends and colleagues, our world, and the little things around us.  We’re so down that those things don’t seem to matter anymore.  The problem is, then there’s nothing to keep us going, nothing to look forward to, nothing to distract us from the mundane or painful parts of life.  It’s such a common experience there’s a technical term for the loss of interest and pleasure – it’s called anhedonia.  It can leave us with a big hole to fill, one that previously overflowed with all the little things that had occupied our minds in the past.

The challenge for us all is: How do you stay interested in your Life?  How do you keep that spark ignited when depression overwhelms you, when you dislike yourself and your world?

One way I’ve heard is to keep curious!  This means that you maintain an avid desire to know or learn about what is around you.

Hmmm… Curious about what, you might wonder?

Curious about life, the people you encounter in your life and how they interact, the world around you and how it works, everyday objects and events, activities, hobbies, things that might interest or intrigue you, or used to interest you, things you care just a little bit about, things you can do by choice.

Curiosity is actually great!  It brings you to places you’ve never been, allows you to think in ways you’ve never tried, broadens your experiences and enriches your life while learning about things that catch your eye, fascinate and appeal to you.  Curiosity keeps us engaged and sharp.  It can be a fabulous way to get back in touch with yourself and your world when you feel numb, lost or down.  You do this by paying attention to what little things intrigue you and grab your curiosity.  It works kind of like a big life preserver, pulling you back into the flow of life.  And there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

Having a sense of curiosity makes you think about things in new ways, such as:

          I wonder…

          How does this work?

          What if…

          Imagine what would happen if…

          Can I do…

          What is my upper limit, my best effort…

 Yes, curiosity does take a bit of thinking-effort.  Sometimes this is more than you can muster when depressed.  I argue that you might just give it a try anyway, a little bit at a time, and see what happens!

So then, let your imagination soar, allow your mind the freedom to stretch and explore.  Ask questions.  Ponder.  See how things connect with each other.  When you keep curious, you give yourself the gift of endless possibility.  You never know what each moment might uncover, what you might discover.  It draws you back into life and all it has to offer, even if you don’t feel like it right now.  But, you see, at some moment you might.  And having curiosity is a guarantee that you’ll not be bored.


Stay well!


A version of this article was previously posted on Psychology Today in View From the Mist.

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