4 Keys to Motivation

Research Shows 4 Keys to Motivation When You Are Depressed

People who struggle with depression say a primary need is increased motivation. That has absolutely been true for me during my seasons of sadness and depression.

The lack of motivation that accompanies depression is brutal.

As someone who has lived with loved ones with depression, I can be honestly say it’s also one of the biggest frustrations for living with a person with depression, too. When your spouse, child, parent, or co-worker cannot get moving and get things done, it is extremely hard on everyone involved. Do I let it go? Do I say something?

Everyday Health researched people who are currently depressed and asked what helps them feel motivated. Keep in mind this was an online poll so not the purest of scientific research, but still helpful feedback. Click here to see the full article.

The 4 main ways research found that people get moving during times of depression were productivity (79%), leisure time (62%), acts of kindness (53%), and personal connections (25%).

I’ve simplified it a bit further so it’s easy to remember. Here’s how to find motivation when you are depressed:

The 4 Keys to Motivation When You Are Depressed

  1. Do
  2. Create
  3. Give
  4. Connect

When you are feeling down, choose one of these areas, pick something, and DO it.

DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU FEEL LIKE IT. You might never feel like it. Start it anyway. Tell yourself you’ll just do it for 5 minutes. Set a timer.

Don’t over think it. Ready? Go!

Do (For 79% Productivity Helped Motivate)


4 Keys to Motivation:
1. Do

Accomplish a task.

Question: What is a task I can complete in a short amount of time and feel successful?

Examples: Clean out a junk drawer, organize, exercise, small project, household chore

Create (For 62% Hobbies Helped Motivate)

Colored Pencils

4 Keys to Motivation:
2. Create

Spend time doing something for fun.

Question: What is a hobby I enjoy?

Examples: Crafts, baking, yoga, movies, reading, sports, walking in nature, scrapbooking, journaling

Give (For 53% Acts of Kindness Helped Motivate)

Woman at Park

4 Keys to Motivation:
3. Give

Do something for someone else.

Question: What can I do to help someone else and not focus on myself?

Examples: Volunteer, collect items to donate, help a friend or family member, write a gratitude list, pets

Connect (For 25% Relationships Helped Motivate)


4 Keys to Motivation:
4. Connect

Enjoy relationships with other people.

Question: How can I develop relationships with other people?

Examples: Church activities, go out with friends, spend time with family, community events

While finding motivation during times of depression is not easy, just taking one tiny small, positive step forward will make a difference. Do what you can, no matter how small, and build upon it. God will bless your efforts.

Be sure to check out My Hope Toolbox printable workbook, which has a page to work on increasing your motivation during depression, and positive steps forward to take, starting today.My Hope Toolbox Printable Kit for Depression and Sadness

Which of these 4 areas works best for you when you are feeling down?

4 Keys to Motivation

The Hope Toolbox

hope for depression

Today’s Bible Verse

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Today’s Journaling Prompt:

What small act will you do today to get motivated? Which area of the 4 (Do, Create, Give, Connect) appeals to you the most?


EveryDay Health: Finding Motivation When You’re Depressed

The Toothless Grin: Hope for the Depressed

Life with Green Eyes: It is Not Just Okay

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