3 mins

How to start a self-care routine you can stick to

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.


Reliable resources

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.

7 April 2016

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.