Have you ever felt that the things that brought you happiness before – are just ‘meh’?
You’re not alone.
Many of us feel the occasional ‘I don’t enjoy anything anymore’ phase, although it could be a sign of a condition known as anhedonia.
Let’s delve right into the situation and explore the 21 things you should try whenever you feel ‘that’ way.
Anhedonia is characterized as an inability to feel pleasure. In most cases, it could be a symptom of any of the following mental health issues:
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
- Bipolar disorder
Anhedonia is often attributed to an imbalance of dopamine. These chemicals tell your brain what’s rewarding – what you need to do to attain it.
Inflammation of the brain – and body – plays a role as well. Sure, inflammation is good in the short run. But when it doesn’t let up, it will not only lead to anhedonia. It may also cause diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
The good news is the feeling of not enjoying anything is often fleeting. This case of the ‘blues’ is what experts call situational anhedonia/depression.
As psychologist Miranda Nadeau puts it, “It’s something a lot of people experience at least at one point in their lives.”
21 things to do when you don’t enjoy anything anymore
1) Breathe in, breathe out
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. It helps you fight or flee, making it crucial for either survival or recovery.
Unfortunately, prolonged stress can also activate your body’s inflammatory response. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, this inflammation can put you at risk of anhedonia.
So every time you feel like you can’t seem to enjoy things anymore, it’s a sign that you need to breathe.
See, feeling unhappy can harm your heart – and your soul.
That’s why I recommend you follow the unusual free breathwork video created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê.
I tried it myself because I felt tense all the time. My self-esteem and confidence were at rock bottom.
Needless to say, I’ve had incredible results after watching the free breathwork video.
Basically, it helped dissolve my stress and boost my inner peace. And since I’m a big believer in sharing – I want others to feel as empowered as I do.
And, if it worked for me, it could help you too.
Rudá hasn’t just created a bog-standard breathing exercise – he’s cleverly combined his many years of breathwork practice and shamanism to create this incredible flow – and it’s free to participate.
If you feel disconnected from yourself due to your anhedonia, I recommend checking out Rudá’s free breathwork video right now.
2) Sleep well
As mentioned above, anhedonia may be caused by inflammation. Fortunately, you may prevent this from wreaking havoc on your body simply by sleeping well.
As a Harvard Health Publishing report explains it:
“During sleep, blood pressure drops and blood vessels relax. When sleep is restricted, blood pressure doesn’t decline as it should , which could trigger cells in blood vessel walls that activate inflammation. A lack of sleep might also alter the body’s stress response system.
“In addition, a sleep shortfall interferes with the normal function of the brain’s housecleaning system. Without a good night’s sleep, this housecleaning process is less thorough, allowing the protein to accumulate—and inflammation to develop.”
So if you want to enjoy things the way you used to, make it a point to get the right amount of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, that’s 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye every night.
3) Eat healthily
You are what you eat. That’s why eating healthily is essential if you’re experiencing stress, for the latter could eventually trigger inflammation and anhedonia.
For starters, stress places a greater demand on the body for nutrients. It could also lead to unhealthy cravings, especially for fatty and sugary foods.
As such, one of the best ways to re-enjoy the things you love doing is to eat healthily.
Take the word of Harvard University experts, who recommend eating a lot of vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fats. After all, they help regulate cortisol, the hormone that causes cravings – and fat build-up along the belly area.
It’s also good to include fruits, nuts, beans, and fish, for these fares help fight inflammation in the body.
And, should you find these foods bland, don’t hold back on using spices. Just make sure to use those that help fight inflammation, for they can work hand-in-hand with the anti-inflammation foods I’ve just mentioned.
According to a WebMD report, the best candidates are “Turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger, for they may slow down processes in your body that lead to inflammation.”
4) Keep on moving
Physical activity will do more than just keep your body in tip-top shape. It’ll make you enjoy the things you liked doing before, too.
For one, it can fight the stress (and the sleepless nights) that can lead to anhedonia. As an Anxiety & Depression Association of America report explains:
“Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress…Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”
5) Tap into your personal power
So how do you overcome this feeling of not enjoying anything?
One of the best ways to do so is to tap into your personal power.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.
So if you’re tired of finding everything unenjoyable, you need to check out his life-changing advice.
Click here to watch the free video.
Meditation is one of the great, easy ways to relieve stress in life. Not only will it make you feel more peaceful, but it’ll help you fight the feelings of unenjoyment too:
In fact, here are some statistics that’ll convince you to try meditation for your anhedonia:
- Practicing meditation for 6-9 months may reduce anxiety by 60%.
- Meditation helps improve sleep. 75% of insomniacs who’ve started a daily meditation plan can fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed. It has also reduced the wake time for people with sleeping problems by up to 50%.
If you’re new to the world of meditation, here are some techniques you ought to try:
- Breathing meditation (Rudá’s breathwork video is a good one to follow)
- Mindfulness meditation
- Mindful walking meditation
- Focus meditation
- Mantra meditation
You can also try to refer to this ultimate cheat sheet for meditation beginners.
7) Be grateful
You may be feeling down right now, but I’m sure you have a lot of things going for you. You most likely have a roof over your head, food to eat, and a job that pays the bills.
So if you want to enjoy life once again, it’s time to show your gratitude. Remember: “Taking the time to feel gratitude may improve your emotional well-being by helping you cope with stress,” explains a National Institutes of Health report.
Perhaps the best way to boost your happiness is “to get into a habit of thinking of five different things you were grateful for during that day,” remarks life coach Jeanette Brown.
8) Stop thinking negative
When you suffer from anhedonia, it’ll feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. This can make you think (and feel) negatively, making things seem more unenjoyable.
That’s why you need to stop with the pessimistic self-talk, which, according to experts from the Mayo Clinic, could take the form of:
- Filtering or magnifying all the negativities around you
- Personalizing or blaming yourself
- Blaming, wherein you place the blame on others
- Catastrophizing or anticipating the worst things to happen
- Magnifying or making things seem bigger
Granted that it’s hard to think positive at times, following these tips will help you achieve a more optimistic outlook.
9) Always take good care of yourself
You may be working hard – among many other things. You have forgotten to take good care of yourself, which may be one of the reasons why you’re experiencing anhedonia.
See, no matter how busy you are, you must remember to love yourself and practice self-care.
“Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more,” explains Southern New Hampshire University experts.
The good news is all of the tips here are forms of self-care – eating right, sleeping well, exercising, etc. But, in case you want to do more, you can also follow these ten ways of practicing self-love.
10) Try to balance your life
Work gives you a sense of accomplishment (and money too.) But sometimes, putting it above all things can affect your mental health.
According to a report, “working more than 55 hours a week can have negative effects on your health.”
That’s because “If you’re overworked, your cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone) increase.”
Just think about it: working too much can cause you to lose sleep, eat fast food (instead of healthy fare), and skip exercise.
Worse, it can lead you to forego socializing, which, as mentioned, is also good at combating anhedonia.
In other words, it’s ok not to be career-driven all the time. If you want to enjoy the things you found pleasurable before, it’s a matter of keeping the right amount of work-life balance.
Isolation and loneliness can make you feel more stressed – and anhedonic in the long run. So if you want to enjoy the good ‘ol things again, go out more and socialize!
“Direct person-to-person contact triggers parts of our nervous system that release a “cocktail” of neurotransmitters tasked with regulating our response to stress and anxiety,” explains a Medical News Today report.
So whenever you feel sad, try to meet up with your family and friends. You can also exercise or take a nature trip with them if you want. Again, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone!
Fact: laughter is the best medicine – especially if you find things unpleasurable right now.
According to Mayo Clinic experts, in the short term, “A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure.”
As for its long-term effects, laughing can vastly improve your mood. That’s because “Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.”
So go ahead. Watch comedy shows – and whatever else makes you happy. Better yet, you can try to answer these ‘this or that’ questions that will make you laugh and enjoy the moment!
13) Turn up the music
Music, without a doubt, is a great tool to fight stress – and the anhedonic thoughts it brings.
“Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day,” explains a report from the University of Nevada-Reno (UN-R.)
Simply put, listening to fast or slow music may help improve your mood. But if you want to get the most of music’s stress-busting benefits, UN-R counselors recommend tuning in to the following:
- Native American, Celtic, and Indian stringed instruments, drums, and flutes (played moderately loud.)
- Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature mixed with other music, such as light jazz, classical (the “largo” movement), and easy-listening music.
14) Write a journal
Writing can help clear your mind – but don’t just take it from a writer like me. According to experts from the University of Rochester Medical Center, it can help you reduce stress and manage anxiety by:
- Allowing you to identify negative thoughts
- Giving you an opportunity for positive self-talk
- Helping you track your anhedonia triggers or symptoms
- Enabling you to prioritize your concerns – as well as your fears and worries
If it’s your first time journaling, make sure to:
- Write every day (or as often as you can)
- Keep your journal and pen at bay
- Write whatever feels right
- Use your journal in whatever way you deem fit
15) Take a nature trip
When I felt heartbroken and stressed, I discovered that walking in nature made me feel better. That’s why I suggest you do it too – for research has already proven the benefits I’ve experienced scientifically.
As experts from the University of Minnesota explained, “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.”
It can also improve your mood, changing it from “depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced.”
Tip: Take a hike whenever you can, for it’ll help you hit two birds with one stone. Not only is it an environmental treat for the senses, but it’s also an excellent way to exercise.
16) Learn something new
If you find it hard to enjoy the things you once loved doing, learning something new might help.
“As you learn new skills, you’ll discover more gifts about yourself and improve your confidence and sense of well-being. You can also positively affect others with your new skills.”
So, if you’re looking to better yourself, my co-writer Jude Paler has these recommendations:
- Leveling up your current skills
- Taking up a new course
- Studying a new language
Now that borders are reopening, you should consider traveling more. After all, it has mental health benefits that may help you feel happy again.
In fact, a WebMD report states that “Travel has been linked to stress reduction and can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.”
Case in point: “Some people can feel the positive impacts of their vacation for up to five weeks after their return,” the report adds.
As to why traveling may help with your anhedonia, one of its benefits is it can make you feel calm.
“Taking time from work to see new places releases the stress you’ve been holding onto. Relieving the tension and stress of your work life lets your mind relax and heal,” remarks the above report.
When traveling, always make sure to go to a place that you’d like to visit. As WebMD explaints it, “When you visit somewhere you want to go, you’re more excited and your cortisol levels (stress hormones) will decrease.”
18) Stay away from the screens
Cellphones, tablets, and computers have made our life easier (and enjoyable too.) Sadly, it can heighten our stress and trigger unpleasurable feelings.
As a study explains it, “Those who depended on screens for entertainment and social networking had up to 19% more emotional stress and up to 14% more perceptual stress.”
Granted that most of us have to look at screens for the majority of the day, here are some tips that’ll help you keep screen time to a minimum:
- Do other activities that don’t involve screens.
- Keep your phone out of the bedroom – and the bathroom.
- Change your screen’s auto-lock settings (e.g., from 10 minutes to 5.)
- Minimize downloading apps that you don’t really need.
- Limit the use of apps that you do need.
19) Say no to nicotine
Smoking cigarettes may be your way of countering stress. Unfortunately, this only does more harm than good.
As a Cleveland Clinic report explains it: “Nicotine actually places more stress on the body by increasing physical arousal and reducing blood flow and breathing.”
20) Abstain from alcohol
Many people turn to alcohol in times of stress. It can help you relax in the short run, but it’s not advisable as a long-term stress reducer.
According to Cleveland Clinic counselor Denise Graham, “increased alcohol intake can lead to ruminating on negative things, the sort of dread thoughts that can heighten your emotional state.”
And, contrary to popular beliefs, it doesn’t make you sleep better. Explains liver specialist Dr. Christina Lindenmeyer:
“When alcohol is used as a sleep aid, it reduces the amount of time you spend in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep.
“You may fall asleep faster and you may sleep more deeply for the first few hours, but you’re not reaching the truly restorative stage of the sleep cycle (REM.) As a result, the next day you are likely to be more drowsy and feel less rested.”
And, as I’ve previously mentioned, when you lack sleep, inflammation occurs – a factor that can readily trigger (or worsen) anhedonia.
21) Consult with a professional
Are you still feeling bleak even after trying all these tips? Then you may want to consult with a mental health professional. As I’ve mentioned, not enjoying the things you once loved doing could be a sign of a serious mental health issue.
There all comes a part in our lives where we feel anhedonia – where things we used to do aren’t pleasurable anymore. But the great part is you can always do something about it.
It’s a matter of fighting stress and inflammation through sleeping well, eating healthy, and exercising, among many other things.
Most importantly, it’s all about breathwork and tapping into personal power. Doing these, as well as the tips I’ve mentioned above, will help you enjoy the things you once loved.