Depression is a very complex, multifaceted mental health condition. There are plenty of factors that contribute to its development and persistence, or the level of difficulty you might face in trying to treat it.

While there isn’t just one single cause of depression, it can often be caused by a combination of a chemical imbalance within the brain, and exterior circumstances within one’s life. One often-overlooked factor that can be a significant contributor to the development of depression is a lack of progress in one’s life.

Thankfully, being aware of how exactly a lack of progress can contribute to depression, and the things you can do to address this issue, can help you to take the first steps toward improving your mental wellbeing.

What do we mean by “a lack of progress”?

This phrase could be applied to many situations, but in general, a lack of progress refers to a situation in which you feel as though you’re not making advancements in various aspects of your life.

This lack of progress could manifest in different areas, like your career, personal goals, relationships, hobbies, or other life endeavors. Essentially, when we say “a lack of progress”, we mean the feeling of being stuck– like you’re unable to achieve your objectives, or aren’t able to grow and develop as quickly as you’d like in areas of your life that are important to you.

Of course, this phrase is highly subjective and will mean something slightly different to everyone. For some, it might apply only in terms of their career; for others, this might be tied to relationships or personal goals. Only you can identify the issue in your own life.

What are some links between depression and a lack of progress?

Loss of purpose

A lack of progress in various aspects of your life (career, personal goals, relationships, etc.) can lead to a sense of purposelessness. If you’re feeling stuck, or unable to make advancements, it can trigger feelings of hopelessness and despair– common feelings associated with depression.

Negative self-esteem

If you’re experiencing continuous setbacks in your life, and things are feeling stagnant, you might experience an erosion in your sense of self worth. Individuals experiencing this might start to view themselves as failures, or incapable of achieving their goals, fueling depressive thoughts and emotions.

Social isolation

A lack of progress can lead to depression, and depression can lead to social isolation– which, in turn, can worsen your struggle with depression. If you feel like you’re not making progress in life, you might feel compelled to isolate yourself from friends and family, compounding your feelings of loneliness and despair.

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How to combat depression caused by a lack of progress

While depression usually requires a multifaceted approach for treatment, there are a few important things you can do to manage symptoms of depression.

Goals create a sense of purpose

Setting and achieving goals can be a powerful antidote to the sense of stagnation that can lead to depression.

Making goals for yourself can provide a sense of direction and purpose. If you have clear objectives to work toward, it can go a long way toward counteracting feelings of aimlessness– giving you a good reason to get out of bed each day.

Boosting self-esteem

As you make progress toward your goals, you might experience a sense of accomplishment and improved self-esteem. Each small achievement can serve as a reminder of your capabilities, and as proof against negative self-perception.

Practice self-compassion

Be kind to yourself and recognize that setbacks are a part of life for absolutely everyone. Avoid harsh self-criticism and negative self-talk, and focus on self-compassion. Speak to yourself kindly and focus on things you like about yourself.


Seek professional help

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Therapy can help to provide you with valuable insights and coping strategies to address underlying issues.

While depression can be a difficult struggle, it is possible to break free from the cycle of depression and regain a sense of purpose and progress in your life. With 21 locations throughout Arkansas, we’re here to help you manage your depression and start your progress toward a positive and fulfilling life. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.