We all want to feel motivated and get unstuck from whatever’s holding us back. The question, of course, is how!

At a certain point, rest creates inertia, and it’s here where many can benefit from deploying a psychological concept called “behavioral activation” to get out of that state, says Brad Stulberg for The New York Times.

First developed in the 1970s by the clinical psychologist Peter Lewinsohn as a way to help people work through depression, apathy and negative moods, behavioral activation is based on the idea that action can create motivation, especially when you’re in a rut.

The challenge with behavioral activation is mustering enough energy to start acting on the things that matter to you: making that phone call, scheduling that walk with friends, writing that email, starting that creative project, etc. This may sound simple, but when you’re languishing, simple does not mean easy!

But a mindset shift can be a powerful tool. When you feel down, unmotivated or apathetic, you can give yourself permission to have those feelings … just be sure not to dwell on them or take them as your final destiny.

Instead, shift your focus to getting started with your plans, taking your feelings — whatever they may be — along for the ride. Doing so will give you the best chance at improving your mood.

It can be helpful to think of this initial oomph as activation energy. Sometimes we need more, and sometimes we need less. For many of us, even the little things require more these days, and that’s OK. It won’t be like this forever. If anything, the more we get going, the easier it will become.

Just as rest and languishing can create inertia that builds on itself, action and energy can be self-reinforcing. It just takes some extra work to overcome the initial stasis and friction — it can feel like the laws of physics apply to our psyches, too.