It is tempting to label those who have no motivation as “lazy.” However, not wanting to engage in life is a red flag that one’s natural state of health is out of balance and that it’s time to investigate an underlying health condition.
Researchers have now discovered that chronic low-grade inflammation negatively impacts activity in areas of the brain responsible for motivation, drive, and self-worth called the dopaminergic signaling system. When these parts of the brain don’t get sufficient dopamine, motivation and drive can plummet and then be followed by feelings of worthlessness.
The idea is that chronic inflammation puts demands on the immune system to heal from injury or illness. This down regulates areas of the brain that link a sense of reward to effort and work, thus lowering drive and motivation.
This is helpful if we’re laid up with the flu or a bad injury. However, low-grade chronic inflammation can make everyday tasks and chores or working toward goals no longer feel worth the effort.
Many brain-based disorders are also very often a consequence of inflammation, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, memory loss, brain development disorders in children, and even acute psychiatric conditions.
Lifting the shame and stigma of no motivation
People who suffer from chronic illness and inflammation – along with the accompanying symptoms of fatigue and lack of motivation – are often disbelieved or dismissed as “lazy” by their doctors and family members.
Understanding that these can be symptoms of a larger, underlying problem rather than character flaws can help lift the stigmatization and relieve the shame and isolation commonly associated with low energy and lack of motivation.
Why is modern life so inflammatory?
While Americans enjoy an abundance of ease and convenience compared to our ancestors and many people on the planet today, we are also among the most inflamed and chronically ill.
This epidemic is being driven by the following factors:
Blood sugar is too high. Advertising bombards us with messages directing us to consume more and more sugar and processed carbohydrates while restaurants and grocery store aisles offer an abundance of opportunities to overindulge. However, the science says that high blood sugar is one of the most common and relentless sources of chronic inflammation.
Modern foods are pro-inflammatory. Modern hybridization, storage methods, and pesticide use make gluten more inflammatory than people realize leading to more cases of intolerance. Industrialized fats such as canola oil, soybean oil, and hydrogenated fats, ubiquitous in the food supply, are also highly inflammatory.
People eat too little produce. Americans eat about half the amount of fiber they should to be healthy. Eating a variety of plant fibers creates a gut microbiome rich in healthy gut bacteria. Bad gut bacteria and an unhealthy microbiome contribute to inflammation and disease.
Modern life is sedentary. The lure of screens and accessibility of modern conveniences can lead to an extremely sedentary lifestyle. Lack of regular physical activity leads to chronic inflammation and “sitting disease.”
Modern life is toxic. Many studies have linked inflammatory-based conditions with environmental toxins. We are constantly being exposed to toxins and heavy metals that the body is not designed to process from sources like plastics, pesticides, car exhaust, scented cleaning products, chemically laden body products, and foods. We are also exposed to too much artificial light, which confuses our biological rhythms and triggers inflammation..
People are stressed out. The rates of depression, anxiety, and stress are on the rise and impacting younger and younger people. These negative emotions are known triggers of inflammation. Experiencing them all the time can lead to inflammatory-based health disorders..
How functional medicine can help you restore your natural motivation
Functional medicine acknowledges the daunting assaults on our physiology and offers strategies and protocols to improve overall health.
“Laziness” and lack of motivation are symptoms that can be remedied by following a dietary, lifestyle, and nutritional game plan based on the principles of functional medicine.
Contact our office if you’d like to learn how to restore your energy, motivation, and ambition.