5 Things to Do If You Feel a Loss of Interest

what to do when you feel a loss of interest

Verywell / Laura Porter

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Feeling a loss of interest can make it harder to do the things you need to do each day. It can leave you feeling listless, disinterested, and unmotivated to do much of anything at all. There might be things that used to interest you, but now you can’t seem to find the motivation or inspiration to do them.

Known as anhedonia, this feeling can cause people to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. It also causes people to not enjoy or experience pleasure when engaging in things that they used to love doing.

Why You Feel a Loss of Interest

Loss of interest is one of the key symptoms of depression. In addition to depression, loss of interest can also be caused by:

It is also important to note that loss of interest is not necessarily linked to a mental disorder. It can also be caused by things such as overwork, relationship problems, boring activities, or just plain feeling stuck in a rut

This can create a cycle from which it's hard to break free. Because of decreased interest, you might stop spending time with others and engaging in things that normally help you feel less stressed. This increased isolation, decreased activity, and lowered social support can then play a part in making you feel more anxious and depressed. 

What to Do

Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to feel better when you are experiencing a loss of interest. Here are some things that may help.

Focus on Staying Active

A loss of interest can make it difficult to stick to an exercise routine but focus on getting some physical activity in each day. Exercise has been shown to have a number of positive effects on mental health, including improving mood and decreasing symptoms of depression.  Even going for a brisk walk each day can help.

Get Enough Rest

Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. For example, one study found that having insomnia led to a two-fold increase in the risk for developing depression. So if you are struggling with a loss of interest, make sure that you are practicing good sleep habits and giving yourself plenty of time each night to get quality rest.

Take Small Steps

While it may not be possible to throw yourself into the activities you normally love with the same gusto as before, it can help to do little things each day. If there is a hobby that you normally love but have lost interest in, challenge yourself to learn something new about it. Or break up a larger project into much smaller steps and set aside a little time each day to tackle just one thing. 

Make Plans

Even though it can be difficult to get inspired, you may find it helpful to make plans for things that you want to do in the future. Research has found that planning for the future, known as proactive coping, can help improve resilience.

Giving yourself things to look forward to and looking for things to get excited about can help you cope with the lack of interest you might be feeling at the moment. 

Find Support

When you’re feeling disinterested, it can be helpful to turn to friends and family for support. Let them know that you’re struggling with this lack of interest.

Sometimes just spending time around other people can lift your mood. Other people’s enthusiasm can also be contagious, so you might find that their zest for different activities starts to rub off on you as well.

How to Get Help

If feeling a lack of interest is making it difficult to cope, it is important to reach out for help. Talk to your doctor about what you are feeling, especially if these feelings are accompanied by other symptoms such as low mood, irritability, or feelings of worthlessness.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask questions about the symptoms you are experiencing. They may also perform a physical exam and lab tests to help rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be contributing to how you’ve been feeling.

Your doctor may then recommend different treatments depending on your diagnosis. For example, if you are diagnosed with depression, your doctor may suggest psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. You can also consider just seeking help directly from a mental health professional without first seeing your primary care physician or nurse practitioner.

Treatment

There are a number of different treatment approaches like psychotherapy that can be used to address loss of interest including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help change your thoughts and behaviors. Antidepressants or other medications may also be prescribed to help elevate your mood, although it may take some time for these drugs to begin working. 

You might also want to consider trying online therapy or a mental health app to help address feelings of lost interest. Mobile apps can be useful for setting goals, offering mental health tips, and tracking your progress. Online therapy can connect you with a trained therapist who can offer support and advice delivered by email, video chat, text message, or phone. 

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares an exercise that can help you feel better when you feel depressed.

A Word From Verywell

Everyone experiences some degree of disinterest from time to time. Sometimes it might be because you are just feeling uninspired. In other cases, it might mean that you’ve lost interest in some of your old hobbies and need to explore some new passions. 

But sometimes this feeling can be a sign of a mental health condition such as depression. If a loss of interest is making it difficult to cope or interfering with your life, it is important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional about how you are feeling.

Depression can worsen over time, so the sooner you get help, the sooner you will begin feeling better and able to regain your passion for the things that bring you joy.

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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