How 'Behavioural Activation' Can Help You Cope with Depression

by Nancy D about a year ago in advice


How 'Behavioural Activation' Can Help You Cope with Depression

Taking care of yourself doesn't have to break your bank. If you are on a budget there are still many little ways to help. One of these ways is called, behavioural activation.

This blog and other blogs are NOT a substitute for help in crisis situations.

Please note, using blogs is NOT a way to deal with a crisis. If you are in crisis and/or are in a serious threat of hurting yourself. Please call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.

What is behavioural activation?

Behavioural activation is a tool to help positively change your mood. It works by trying to build back a up person's motivation after or during depression. This can be done by encouraging the you to trying actives of your choosing.

Depression and Having 'Low Energy'

When you are depressed you start to lose interest in doing things that you use to love. This could be hanging out with your friends, doing arts and crafts or even, severe cases, just simply watching TV.

Worse yet, when you are depressed you can start to feel worthless. Like you have failed your friends and family. It's important to know that these thoughts are just your depression speaking. You are amazing and you can't be replaced.

One of the symptoms of depression is "loss of motivation." Which is exactly where behavioural activation comes in.

Make a list of things you like to do. Or, if needed, make a list of things you use to like to do.

Here are some examples:

  • Painting
  • Listening to music
  • Getting coffee with a friend
  • Playing board games
  • Taking photos
  • Taking a walk
  • Going to an art gallery

Now make a list of things that give you a sense of achievement.

  • Taking a shower
  • Doing some dishes
  • Doing a load of laundry
  • Dusting one room of the house
  • Going outside to get some milk
  • Getting a small amount of work done
  • Going for a jog
  • Doing some yoga

Maybe add some exercise to your list?

I know you will probably hate to hear this, but getting exercise is a very effective way to fight depression. Some of the results are almost immediate too. You don't have to buy a gym membership, just a little walk can help.

Exercise As a Natural Depressant

I just wanted to take a moment to focus on exercise for a quick moment. If you aren't in a position to think about it right now, it's okay to skip over this part. I promise not to judge, I've been there too. However, exercise is medicine to depression. Just 15-20 minutes a day of exercise can make a significant improvement in mood, reducing anxiety and of course decreasing symptoms of depression.

Here are some exercise ideas:

  • Walking your dog (or maybe even your cat)
  • Gardening
  • Hot Yoga (or just regular yoga)
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Playing sports
  • Zumba

Now, write it all down.

Grab a pen and paper (or open a word document) and write down a mini goal plan for yourself. If you want, you can follow these steps.

  1. Pick two activities to do—one for fun and one for a sense of achievement.
  2. Write down your mood before the activity. (From 1 to10)
  3. Do the activity.
  4. Write down your mood after you are done the activity. (From 1 to10)

Repeat once a week.

About The Author

Yes, I realize I have the same name as an amateur sleuth. No, I haven’t read the books. I am simply someone who is addicted to writing. Right now I'm a student who likes to blog while I procrastinate. Soon, I hope to be a librarian who blogs after work.

The truth is, I have been writing my whole life and I don’t think I could ever stop. Sometimes my writing gets real and I have been told by a couple of people that I have actually helped them before. Other times I just write about the "top ten" of something, which can be really fun to write!

My personal interests include eating pizza, playing video games, and cuddling with my dog. I hope to write lots more articles and blogs about Self Care in the future. So if you want, you are more than welcome to join the adventure by liking my facebook page. Then you will see updates when I have a new article or blog.

Nancy D
Nancy D
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
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