When people feel depressed or anxious, they may be less likely to do the things they enjoy, and therefore, it is important to learn how to be more active. Behavioral activation is a way to do this. The goal of behavioral activation is simple. It helps people get more active in areas of their life that are pleasurable and enjoyable. Being more connected and involved with these experiences can improve your mood.
Behavioral activation is easy. Follow the steps below to identify the goals and activities you want to accomplish so you can get started on your new, more active and positive lifestyle as soon as possible.
Time Required: It is completely up to you!
Identify your goals. Come up with a list of several short- and long-term goals that you would like to accomplish. These goals can have a definite end-point (for example, getting a new job) or may be never-ending (for example, being a more giving person).
Next, identify smaller activities that you can complete each week that are going to take you closer to the goals that you identify. For example, if you want to be a more giving person, you might want to choose an activity that involves volunteer work or giving to a charity.
On a sheet of paper, write down all the activities you want to complete for a certain week. Also indicate how many times you want to do the activity and for how long. For example, someone who writes down exercise as an activity may also write down that they want to exercise three times a week for at least half an hour.
Each day, track your progress. When you have completed a goal for that week, place a checkmark next to the activity to indicate its completion.
If you complete all your goals for a certain week, reward yourself. Give yourself credit for being more active and getting closer to meeting your life goals.
Each week, build upon the previous week. Carry activities over from week to week. If there are certain activities that you want to make into a habit (for example, weekly exercise), repetition is important.
Enjoy your new, more active and enjoyable lifestyle!
When coming up with goals and activities, variety is key. Choose goals and activities from a number of different life areas, such as those that involve relationships, education, career, hobbies, spirituality, health.
The purpose of behavioral activation is to improve your mood, not stress you out even more. Come up with activities that you find enjoyable. Also, start out slow. In the first couple weeks, come up with a list of activities that you know you can easily accomplish and then slowly build from there. Coming up with too many activities in the first week can be challenging and stressful, making it less likely that you will meet your goals.
Track your progress. If you decide to use a form to keep track of your goals, hold onto forms from weeks past. Each month, review the progress you have made in getting closer to reaching your goals.
Finally, commit to completing the activities you choose from week to week. However, it is important to remember that there are going to be times when other pressing needs take precedence over these activities. If you find that you are unable to complete your goals for a certain week, take a look back at the week and identify any obstacles that prevented you from doing so. Problem-solve how to side-step those obstacles next time they present themselves.