The causes of apathy are varied. They depend on external circumstances and personal characteristics of a person, his adaptation to these circumstances.
In fact, there is no one universal way to deal with apathy. I offer various options for dealing with this symptom.
Is apathy a disease?
Apathy is not a recognized separate disease (not on the list of the international classification of diseases).
It is usually considered either as a symptom of a healthy person’s natural mental reaction to the circumstances of his life, or as a syndrome of severe mental illness.
In the usual definition, apathy is indifference and lack of emotion. As a result, a person’s intellectual and behavioral activity decreases.
It is because of this definition that in everyday life a person with signs of apathy is said to be simply lazy.
So am I apathetic or lazy?
The key difference that is important to understand is that laziness is an action/behavior. Laziness is a habit. The habit of choosing the simplest and most pleasant action. While apathy is a state, a feeling in the body.
It manifests itself as a lack of tone, increased lethargy, and you don’t want anything. Comparing them is like comparing completely opposite things.
Apathy as a reaction to stress (psychological anesthesia)
Each of us remembers a case when, after experiencing stress, an emergency or an extreme situation, the state of a “deflated balloon” turns on. It occurs either immediately after the situation ends, or the next day.
Thus, a schoolchild who is afraid that he will be called to the board, after the teacher announces the name of his classmate, is suddenly drawn to sleep. And the mother of a boy with a busted lip, who acts so clearly and quickly when first aid is needed, the next day can barely “scrape” herself to get out of bed.
After experiencing stress, a sharp loss of strength occurs, manifested by lethargy in the body and the absence of any desire. In such situations, apathy appears within the norm.
It acts as psychological anesthesia. Its duration depends on two main factors:
- The speed of translation of emotional experience into experience (when the event will be perceived separately from emotions). For example: you remember your first broken knee, but you no longer cry when you remember.
- Restoring physical resources and wasted energy.
Simple Self-Help Actions
- Perform the Shapiro technique. This is an eye movement technique. The simplest version of it is: close your eyes and, with your eyes closed, first make 8 horizontal eye movements, then, as if drawing an infinity sign 8 times, and finally – 8 circles clockwise;
- Healthy, uninterrupted sleep lasting 6-8 hours;
- Write down all your thoughts on a sheet of paper within an hour (the written sheets can then be thrown away);
- Allow yourself to rest or at least reduce your usual activity for the next 24 hours;
- Choose a day free from social networks and TV.
Other reasons that trigger apathy
- “I can, but I don’t want to” or “I want, but I can’t.”
- The reasons are different, but the result is the same – “I opened my eyes and was already tired.”
- The causes of apathy are also influenced by a person’s personality type. And the development of symptoms of apathy can develop slowly and unnoticeably.
Achievers and apathy
So, for active people who are accustomed to acting and moving, the cause of apathy will be the lack of a goal. Lost meaning of habitual actions and loss of understanding of “What I want.”
In practice, such patients describe their situation as: “Everything seems to be fine. Everything important is there, my needs are covered, but why do I feel so bad?” They are in search of the meaning of their life (mission).
The situation can be aggravated by the fact that there is no person around who understands him. Having heard a couple of times in his direction – “You’re crazy,” a person withdraws into his thoughts.
Since there is a lot of energy, and the goal is lost, if you get stuck on such thoughts, you can think of suicide. Therefore, it is very important to maintain moderate physical activity at this stage.
Useful actions for apathy
- Hiking, jogging, swimming;
- Make a list of your unfulfilled “wants” from childhood to the present. Let this list be at least 39 items. You will later cross out something from this list as no longer relevant. Something in it will remind you of your past hobby, without which you previously could not imagine life, but now you have forgotten about it or were forced to give it up at the beginning of your adult life. Start implementing them;
- Set yourself a goal for a week to try something new every day, to do something that you have never done before. For example: if you are right-handed, try writing with your left hand or brushing your teeth with it. Observe your emotions;
- The minimum action in the moment for quick self-help is to stand in the boss’s pose (feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides, chin raised, gaze 15 degrees above the horizon). Within the first minute you will feel an improvement in your condition.
Strategists, analysts and apathy
For those who like “Measure twice, cut once,” the reasons will be different. They know their goals, they often have a large wish list and never part with their planner. There are many goals. Most of these goals are large-scale.
They know their value and have already written step-by-step instructions on what needs to be done. Only now there is no strength for the actions themselves. There is no energy to achieve these goals. Simple tips in this case:
- Choose only one goal from your list and keep only that in your focus. Who, if not you, should know about the severity of the laws of mathematics? You, of course, remember that if effort is taken as one and raised to a power equal to the number of days in a year, then your effort is 1.01365 = 37.8. While the effort is 0.99365 = 0.03. You can’t argue with math. It’s better to do one thing for 1.01, and have the opportunity to praise yourself more often for your achievements, than to be scattered across ten things with investments of 0.99;
- Kundalini yoga;
- If you need to “recharge” before an event, dance music will help;
- Minimum action in the moment for quick self-help – imagine that you are playing volleyball: feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms bent at the elbows, hands in front of your face, palms forward; look 15-20 degrees above the horizon. At the same time, you exhale sharply through your mouth and throw your arms up, as if you are hitting a flying ball in the direction you are looking. Start at a pace that is comfortable for you and gradually increase the speed. After just 10 seconds of an energetic “volleyball game”, you will feel a rush of oxygen to the brain and a readiness to take action.
Choosing a psychologist to work with apathy
Please note that for achievers, a coach, mentor or psychologists-consultants on goals are more suitable. They need a “muse”, inspiration, purposeful work with semantic values.
But for strategists and analysts, psychosomatic psychologists who are body-oriented are more suitable. They need a coach. They need the skill of releasing energy and increasing stamina. Because some people need goals, and others need resources to achieve them.
Speaking metaphorically, apathy for our psyche performs the same function as the feeling of hunger for the body. In itself, it is a symptom of a lack of resource. If you recognize this symptom correctly and replenish the resource in time, then everything will be fine.
One of the first symptoms of incipient apathy is the inability to assimilate new information. Long texts are not read to the end. Therefore, if you have read the material up to these lines and the meaning of the article is clear, then you do not have apathy.
When apathy is not a symptom, but a syndrome
There are cases when apathy is no longer a symptom, but a syndrome of a more severe mental illness. In such situations, it manifests itself as severe lethargy and lethargy. The person’s speech will be very slow with long pauses.
The interest in oneself and others will be so small that the person will not pay attention, even if he is seated in an uncomfortable position. In some cases, when trying to stir him up, he may become aggressive.
In such cases, only specialized care in a clinic can help. Such assistance is provided at the request of the patient himself or at the request of a close relative.
Therefore, if you are not a close relative of a loved one who is in this condition, then the first step is to convey the seriousness of the situation to his relatives.