I sometimes experience apathy: a lack of enthusiasm for everyone and everything. I am typically a pretty passionate person. Distancing myself from loved ones isn’t normal behavior. Losing interest in things that typically excite me is a red flag. When I exhibit this behavior I pay attention.
Apathy can turn into isolation and pummel me into the dumps (depression, anxiety, emptiness). Sometimes feeling down is a normal, healthy reaction to circumstances. Other times it’s because of the assault by an uninvited guest, such as apathy.
Fighting the lack of care is difficult. To shake the feeling requires taking intentional steps. I created an acronym, G.R.A.C.E, to remind myself how to defend against apathy:
- Gratitude- I imagine that everything I don’t actively appreciate today will disappear tomorrow. I don’t have to identify many before gratefulness emerges.
- Reach out– I tell someone how I feel. Though in the moment I may feel distant from others, I choose one safe person and let them know what I’m experiencing. Handling apathy alone only leads to loneliness and depression.
- Activity– I do exactly the thing I don’t want to do, be active. Whether it’s a solo activity like getting exercise or planning an outing with friends. I push myself to get out and do something that goes against my mood.
- Creativity– I spend time creating something: cooking, journaling, drawing, taking pictures, organizing, crafting, coloring, choreographing a dance in my PJs, etc. Letting creative juices flow is known to enhance well being. It feels good.
- Encouragement- I find someone to encourage. I take my attention off my own circumstances and focus on someone else’s need. Serving others often fills me up with positivity and offers a different perspective.
These steps don’t always pinpoint when or how mental and spiritual sloth began. However, working through these steps helps me get to the place where I am able to tackle (and care about) the hard questions: What caused apathy and how can I avoid it coming back?
The answers to these questions will be unique to each of our circumstances. The ultimate deliverance from apathy is living a purpose filled life. Each day I spend following G.R.A.C.E and remembering my purpose is a day apathy can’t get in. You have a unique purpose, don’t let apathy snuff it out.