Episode #128 Train Your Emotions

Two of the greatest barriers to our success and well-being are depression and lack of motivation. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and family physician Dr. Justin Brown introduce a mental health treatment through a life coaching lens.

Show Notes

I have found myself these past few weeks struggling with this mood that is of a lower quality than I would want. I feel sad today, and I don’t know why. And I’m trying to do my normal things, but I don’t have the energy.
Dr. Justin Brown

Seven Problems

  • Depression is a medical condition characterized by feeling down and struggling to enjoy the things we would normally enjoy.
  • Depressive episodes occur in 10% of Americans each year and 20% of Americans throughout the course of their lives.
  • Our tendency when we feel depressed is to avoid the activities we would typically enjoy, which makes us feel even more depressed.
  • Depression may cause a profound lack of motivation accompanied by feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness.
  • If we only make healthy choices when we feel motivated, we will rarely make healthy choices.
  • Sometimes our emotions lag behind our actions, and the joy from pleasurable activities is often delayed.
  • It is hard to do hard things when life is hard.

Three Paradigms

  • We cannot change how we feel at this very moment, but we can make choices that will change our emotional state in the near future.
  • We cannot choose our emotions, but we can always choose our attitude.
  • We cannot choose our feelings, but we can choose our response to those feelings.

Five Principles

  • Behavioral activation is the practice of doing enjoyable activities even if they are not enjoyable in the moment in order to train ourselves to experience joy again.
  • Doing enjoyable activities when we feel sad is not a way of ignoring and minimizing our emotions but a way of identifying and addressing them.
  • We don’t need to wait until we feel normal to do the things we would normally do, and we don’t need to wait to feel motivated to pursue our goals.
  • The satisfaction we experience from accomplishing something difficult actually increases our motivation to continue doing difficult things.
  • The accumulation of healthy choices makes us healthier, even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.

Five Practices

  • Train your mind to become motivated by a lack of motivation.
  • Consider which daily rhythms and routines are essential to your well-being, and commit to doing them every day – even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Identify which activities improve your mood, and create an ‘activity menu’ to pick and choose from when you are feeling down.
  • Speak honestly with friends and family about your mood and motivation.
  • Schedule an appointment with a medical provider or mental health professional when you feel stuck and stagnant due to a depressed mood or lack of motivation.