Giving yourself a chance to feel good
To feel good we have to do things that give us the chance to feel good whether it is through pleasure or mastery. For instance the smallest commonplace activities like walking or being aware of your surroundings could have a dramatic affect on your mental health. One way to combat negative feelings or barriers is through behavioural activation. By strategically identifying the activities that make you happy, you are equipping yourself with the tools needed to claim back some control over your life.
We simply start this process by accumulating small positives, building mastery and strength to cope with any hurdles ahead.
Advice from Dr Anna & Elena
The research suggests that when we are feeling low we often reduce the things we do – in particular the things that give us opportunities for mastery and pleasure. This reduces our chances of experiencing a more positive mood. Psychologists have therefore developed a technique called behavioural activation. This requires people to engage in activity even when they are not ‘feeling’ like doing so. The research has suggested that this is more effective than talking for some people combating depression.
Schedule in some ‘Me-time’
By increasing the opportunities that allow you to feel an improved mood, you can increase the chance of the depression lifting. This will require strategies such as scheduling and trouble-shooting. In my clinical practice I have seen the impact of clients grasping this idea and increasingly watching their mood improve.
For people who are not experiencing depression but wanting to increase their satisfaction with their life these techniques can be very helpful. We can all benefit from increasing our opportunities to feel good through pleasure and mastery. Further, if you notice that you are feeling stressed or starting to feel a bit low, concentrating on these ideas may help to reduce the stress or to stop a downward spiral of mood from happening.
It’s the little things in life
To help yourself further with this you can begin to identify day to day events that increase your mood, either through pleasure or mastery – be it looking at a made bed, a tidy kitchen, the smell of a particular shower gel, a special coffee or something else. This can then allow you to call on these and make sure that you schedule these in to your every day to increase your mood and hopefully your happiness.
You can read more about the benefits of behavioural activation here
You can also find helpful tips about behavioural activation in this book: Manage your mood, how to use behavioural activation techniques to overcome depression by David Veale.