When you begin to lose interest in everything around you, including your hobbies, passions, or other things you used to love, it can be disheartening and upsetting.
This kind of loss of interest is known as anhedonia, and it is a main symptom of depression, i.e. major depressive disorder. Loss of interest can be an overwhelming and far-reaching symptom, and it can impact several areas of your life including friends, family, relationships, work, hobbies, school, sex, and even more.
Anhedonia and loss of interest is thought to be caused by low serotonin levels. If you find that you’re just not able to enjoy the things around you anymore, you are not alone.
This is your guide to anhedonia, and what to do if you find yourself losing interest in everything. Let’s get into it.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
First of all, it is important to talk about the fact that loss of interest in things you once enjoyed is a main symptom of depression. About 7% of all adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode, so you are far from alone in experiencing this. So, if you do not yet have a diagnosis, and you are experiencing other common symptoms of depression as well, it is very possible that this may be the cause of your discomfort.
Some other very common symptoms of depression that you may want to keep an eye out for:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, or tearfulness
- Outbursts of anger, irritability, or frustration
- Anger or irritability over minor occurrences
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Insomnia, over-sleeping, or other sleep disturbances
- Prolonged tiredness and lack of energy such that small tasks require a lot of effort
- Loss of appetite which may lead to weight loss
- Increased appetite or cravings which may lead to weight gain
- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fixation on past failures or self-blame
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
- Frequent or repeated thoughts of death or suicide
- Suicidal actions
- Unexplained physical ailments such as headaches or back pain
Depression can manifest in different ways for different people, so even if you are experiencing other symptoms not on the list above, you should not rule out depression until you speak with a professional.
How To Reconnect with the Things You Once Loved
If depression is at the root of these feelings, treatment through medication, therapy, or both is the most effective way to get back to feeling like yourself. However, in addition to your treatment, the tips below can also help:
Here are some tips that may help you get back on your feet and return to the things you once loved:
- Practice self-care: If you are not taking care of yourself, meaning both your body and your mind, your passions and interests will suffer, too. Practicing self-care can help you feel better about yourself which in turn may give you your motivation back. This could be as simple as blocking out 15 minutes in your day to read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand, or it might be taking a walk around the neighborhood everyday after lunch. It might be something a little more involved like setting aside a few hours every Friday night to give yourself a little spa treatment, or it might be something more implemented like making sure you’re getting a full night’s rest. Self-care is all about making sure you have what you need physically, mentally, and emotionally to set yourself up for health and happiness.
- Differentiate between disinterest and avoidance: Lack of interest and avoidance are two very different things, and distinguishing between the two may be helpful. When you feel yourself not wanting to do something you used to enjoy, ask yourself whether you have a lack of feeling towards the activity or negative feelings towards the activity. Lack of feeling indicates disinterest, whereas negative feelings indicate avoidance and may be a sign that you have new, negative associations with the activity. If this is the case, a professional therapist can work with you to try to identify where these associations may be coming from.
- Find a friend with similar hobbies: Buddying up with somebody who shares your hobbies may bring you the motivation, inspiration, and support you need if you feel like you are losing interest in everything.
- Take a class or join a club: Joining clubs or classes pertaining to a certain activity may help you reconnect with your passion by giving you an opportunity to learn more about it, further your skills, and meet others with the same interests.
- Take small steps toward what you once enjoyed: Even though you might not get the rush of an all-day hike, or you don’t quite have that craving to pull out the mixing bowls and start measuring out ingredients, it’s worth a try to take small steps toward activities you once loved. Maybe that means going on a walk in the park instead of packing up for an all-day adventure, or buying premixed cupcake batter and popping it in the oven instead of baking a Swedish Princess Cake from scratch — working to revive that joy by taking baby steps toward your once favorite activities can help to get the ball rolling again toward actually enjoying those pastimes.
- Think about why you loved it in the first place: Getting back to your roots and thinking about all the reasons why you used to enjoy a certain activity or hobby may help you get back in touch with yourself and your abilities.
Mindfulness and Self-Care Techniques To Try
When you are feeling a loss of interest in everything, practicing certain methods of self-care and mindfulness can help to cultivate a more positive mood, and may help you feel like yourself again:
- Practice gratitude: It can be easy to focus on all of the things in your life that feel like they are going wrong, but taking some time to practice gratitude for the things that are going right can help tune up your mindset. You can do this in the form of journaling everyday, writing down what you’re thankful for, or you can go down a list of people you want to call or text a little thank you to.
- Stay connected with your loved ones: When you lose interest in the things around you, you may find yourself feeling isolated. For this reason, it is important to make a conscious effort to stay connected with those you love and those who bring light into your life.
- Try mindfulness techniques: Practicing mindfulness techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help you get in touch with your body and mind and find peace.
Getting Professional Help: Where To Turn
If you are experiencing depression, self-care alone might not be enough and you may need to seek professional help.
Speaking to a professional can help you understand your symptoms as well as if there might be something more serious going on, like depression.
Brightside can help you understand what your symptoms mean and what you can do about it. We offer personalized treatment plans and unlimited access to caring providers who stay by your side at every step.
Start by filling out our free online assessment which allows us to better understand your needs, and you can then be matched with a provider. Whether your treatment plan entails medication, therapy, or a combination of both, Brightside is here to help you right in the comfort of your own home.
The Bottom Line
Losing interest in things that you used to love, can be an extremely heavy and disheartening side effect of mental health conditions like depression, and it can be tough to get back in touch with yourself and your passions.
Certain tips, like practicing mindfulness, trying 30-day challenges, finding a buddy, or going back to your roots may help you reconnect with your hobbies, but also may need to seek professional help to get back to feeling like you, and there is no shame in getting help.