Change Your Feelings by Changing Your Behavior

Get Up and Get Moving

One of the most effective treatments for depression is behavioral activation.  Behavioral activation has its roots in Behavioral Therapy but now is regularly used as a component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).   Depressive symptoms include lack of motivation, tiredness, social withdrawal and worrying which can all contribute to a decrease in activity.   In CBT we learn that our behavior, thoughts and feelings are all connected.   We can change the way we feel by changing our behavior and/or thoughts. 

Here is a simple way to increase your activity level:
– Start with a calendar and write in necessary tasks each day
– Schedule a pleasurable event each day (it is good to start with small, achievable tasks)
– After each activity take time to give yourself praise for accomplishing the task
– You can also rate your feeling of accomplishment and pleasure (1-5 scale) and increase the activities that are most rewarding
– Review your calendar weekly to note improvement.   For the next week add activities that are rewarding.

By taking these small first steps you can start to experience improved mood and increase our motivation.  Then you can return to the activities that we enjoyed before.