What to do when you feel demotivated. The psychology of Intrinsic motivation, by Sharilynn H

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Its perfectly fine to feel demotivated sometimes, finding pleasure in simplicity By Sharilynn H

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Productivity and motivation often go hand in hand. If you’re like most people and me, then productivity comes in waves. There are days when you’re on top of your game, and everything is manageable. Suddenly organization has become your middle name, you’re meeting deadlines, and you’re ahead of schedule. You’ve caught up on all your reading, starting new projects, scheduling time to work out; you’re eating healthier and feeling overall good. In my previous article titled the comfort zone- the science of laziness, I discuss the importance of balance when it comes to improving productivity.

The psychological mechanism behind procrastination and demotivation involves manycomprehensive studies, theories, and focus underlined psychological issues. Issues such as depression, and anxiety.

  • Task aversion.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Fear of evaluation or negative feedback.
  • Fear of failure.
  • A perceived lack of control.
  • ADHD.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Lack of energy.

However, based on numerous studies many of the above-mentioned issues are often the result of negative environmental factors. This can be relative to your personal home life as well as your professional life. A supportive healthy environment is often the place you feel the most energized and optimistic. A positive environment offers positive reinforcement when it comes to criticism by allowing you to evaluate both your positive attributes and areas that may still require further development.

Stress and fear, more particularly fear of failure are also very common reasons for failure. It’s essential to take quiet moments void of distractions in order to gain mental clarity and lower stress. This will allow you to feel more in control of your thoughts as well as allow you to project your focus onto something positive. This will ultimately shift your focus from negative self-talk towards positive positive affirmations.

Shift your mind towards thinking about intrinsically motivating activities. Intrinsic motivation is doing something because it’s inherently enjoyable, the reward is in the act itself, intrinsic activities are vital for learning and development, and increasing motivation, it’s also motivated by a need to self-direct by reestablishing control over areas such as autonomy and purpose.

Motivation isn’t always constant- and doesnt need to be.

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Motivation can last a few days, two weeks, and even longer. And to be honest, it feels great, and there’s a reason we crave productivity on an intrinsic level. It’s because it’s an activity that’s self-rewarding. It’s like getting off on hard work. When we think about work, we think about chores and activities that are not enjoyable. However, when we feel motivated we are able to do tasks and find enjoyment in them, even ones like housekeeping. Thus motivation is often a mental shift and alteration of your way of thinking or viewing a particular task. When you are motivated housework may seem like an opportunity for home improvement, however when you’re demotivated it may feel like a chore that takes up to much of your free time. However it’s the same task, you’re just approaching it from a different emotion.

Motivation feels like a drug

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Motivation feels great since it produces chemicals associated with reward. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter molecule that influences brain pathways involved in motivation, cognition, and reward. And much like the high produced from a drug, the low we experience when our productivity levels begin to decline and dissipate can be frustrating. But, again, this is because productivity comes in waves. And like most surfers chasing their next big wave, they often ride it out until the next big break hits. However, waiting for your next point break can feel like a waiting game, but this isn’t a bad thing. For a wave to be great, the conditions have to be just right. When it comes to surfing, there will always be another great wave to ride. However, when it comes to riding the wave of motivation, you may be left with a feeling of uncertainty.


Professional surfers are often very patient. They usually understand that even though a wave ends, there will be another, perhaps not today or tomorrow, but when the conditions are just right. Because, like nature, there are some things you can’t control. Thus focus on what you can control. Make one small change and stick to it. For example, limit your phone usage or go to bed earlier. You may feel as if you need to be plugged into this matric of information 24/7 in order to get stuff done but that will only drain you.

Disconnect to reconnect


Turn your phone off, don’t respond to messages when you aren’t ready, disconnect from society so you can reconnect with yourself. Take some personal time for yourself to do one thing you love that doesn’t require too much physical or mental energy, like having a cup of tea, going for a walk, or just sitting in a park by yourself eating a sandwich, because why not? Go outside experience life through your own eyes, not your smart devices. Stepping into nature stimulates all your other senses, like sound, and smell, and touch. Nature allows you to step outside of your own thoughts and into this big world where everything just exists, as it should, in perfect harmony. It’s often small changes that ignite the most significant changes within us.

Many of my articles focus on self-development and productivity. However, you’re entitled to feel demotivated; it’s very normal to have moments of low productivity. While I think it’s essential always to push yourself a little further each day, this does not mean you aren’t allowed a day off. I’m agnostic; however, if you’re religious, then let’s not forget even Jesus took a day off. So if he couldn’t do it all, you shouldn’t either. However, let’s not forget Jesus took one day off, not an entire semester. So if you’re motivation and productivity haven’t made their return yet, you should probably read my other article below 😉


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