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. Known as anhedonia, this feeling can cause people to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.
If you feel like you're losing interest in everything, you may be wondering what to do. Here are five options, along with some potential causes of your lost of interest. We also talk about how to get help so you can start to enjoy life again.
'What Is the Point of Life?': Why You Might Feel This Way
Why You Feel a Loss of Interest
Loss of interest is one of the key symptoms of depression. In addition to depression, feeling like you're losing interest in everything can also be caused by several other mental health conditions says psychiatrist Steven Gans, MD, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Trauma related disorders
- Substance related disorders
Loss of interest 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 lower social support can then play a part in making you feel more anxious and depressed.
It's important to note that loss of interest is not necessarily linked to a mental health disorder. It can also be caused by things such as stress, overwork, relationship problems, boring activities, or just plain feeling stuck in a rut.
What to Do When Losing Interest in Everything
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 mental health. For instance, one meta-analysis of 34 studies found that insomnia significantly increases depression risk. 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 used to 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.
Although it can be difficult to get inspired when you're losing interest in everything, 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.
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.
Best Depression Support Groups
Getting Help For Your Loss of Interest
It's important to know that you don't have to live with a loss of interest in your life. Instead, reach out to your healthcare provider and talk to them about what you are feeling suggests Dr. Gans.
If feeling a lack of interest is causing significant distress or impacting your functioning in important areas of your life, it is important to reach out for help.
— STEVEN GANS, MD, PSYCHIATRIST
Dr. Gans adds that getting help is especially important if your loss of interest is accompanied by other symptoms like "a depressed, sad, or irritable mood, significant changes in appetite or sleep, loss of energy, trouble thinking and concentrating, or changes in outlook such as hopelessness, worthlessness, or thoughts of death or suicide."
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact theNational Suicide Prevention Lifelineat988for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see ourNational Helpline Database.
Your physician 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.
They may then recommend different treatments depending on your diagnosis. For example, if you are diagnosed with depression, your provider may suggest psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. You might also consider just seeking help directly from a mental health professional without first seeing your primary care physician or nurse practitioner.
Get Help Now
We've tried, tested, and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and ReGain. Find out which option is the best for you.
There are a number of different treatment approaches that can be used to address the loss of interest, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help change your thoughts and behaviors. Antidepressants or other medications may be prescribed to help elevate your mood.
You might also 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 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 losing interest in everything can also 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 physician 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 regain your passion for the things that bring you joy.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helplineat 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see ourNational Helpline Database.
8 Things to Do If You Feel Irritable
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.
American Psychiatric Association. What is depression?
Biddle S. Physical activity and mental health: evidence is growing. World Psychiatry. 2016;15(2):176-177. doi:10.1002/wps.20331
Li L, Wu C, Gan Y, Qu X, Lu Z. Insomnia and the risk of depression: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:375. doi:10.1186/s12888-016-1075-3
Polk MG, Smith EL, Zhang L-R, Neupert SD. Thinking ahead and staying in the present: Implications for reactivity to daily stressors.Personal Individ Diff. 2020;161:109971. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.109971
By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
See Our Editorial Process
Meet Our Review Board
Was this page helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!
What is your feedback?
Speak to a Therapist for Depression × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.
Speak to a Therapist for Depression
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.