building self-esteem depression

Work more to Reduce Depression

This article provides a tip to reduce depression when depression is caused by a lack of motivation or life direction.

One Cause of Depression

Many of my younger clients become depressed because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives. They talk about nothing motivating them and so they often just “hang out” or play video games. This can lead to more depression because they know they didn’t do anything that day to improve their situation.

One of my male clients in his early twenties told me that he hates it when his dad has friends over because the conversation inevitably turns to them asking him, “what he’s doing these days?” meaning, “what job do you have now?” He hates the fact that the honest answer is “nothing”. Generally speaking, men do best when they have goals they are working towards that lead to meaningful success in life. The goal can be self improvement such as learning something new, whether or not it applies to a career or not. Sometimes a useful goal can be as simple as getting better and cleaning, organizing, and maintaining your bedroom, apartment, or house.

Strategies to Reduce Depression

Many of my clients who struggle to gain a sense of direction or purpose, and want to reduce depression find that just making themselves get out of bed, off the couch, and turn off the video games is a good start. When they make themselves start chores, check off things on a to-do list, and tackle small jobs or obstacles, they find it builds their sense of agency and they are more interested and motivated to do other productive things such as look for work, fill out college applications, etc.

If you are struggling with life direction and want to reduce depression, you might try some of these tips too. Start with making your bed every morning and staightening up your living area. Start one small job or chore each morning. Pay attention to whether “getting things done” makes a difference in your overall mood at the end of the day. If you notice a positive difference, you know this is a tool that can work for you.

Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan.  He provides counseling for couples, counseling for teenagers, and adults.  He provides counseling for anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, and relationship problems.  For more information, please visit the website at