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A Guide To Behavioral Activation For Depression

Anxiety affects 18.1% of the population every year, and over 322 million people worldwide live with depression. These startling facts are why it is so important that you take steps to learn coping strategies and speak to a professional if it affects you.

What Is Behavioral Activation?

One coping strategy known as behavioral activation is also a short-term treatment and can have an incredible effect on your mood. When you are depressed or feel anxious, you are usually far less likely to partake in activities that you enjoy.

The consequence of avoiding fun or avoiding pleasurable activities, in general, is that your pre-existing fragile mood becomes worsened. You can also become detached, and more isolated. If you are previously being treated for depression or PTSD, behavioral activation can be beneficial as part of your treatment.

How Behavioral Activation Works

Behavioral activation increases your contact with positively gratifying activities. Behavioral activation is setting goals and working towards them. These are not just any goals. However, they are goals that take the form of pleasurable activities that you want to be a part of your life or the life you want to live.

As an example, these goals could be to be a more charitable person. Giving your time to a charity, or donating money if you can spare it, even helping out friends in need can help you to feel accomplished. Feeling accomplished by being charitable when you are seeking nothing in return will very quickly teach you that your behavior can and will affect your mood.

Tips to Enhance Behavioral Activation

Yes, behavioral activation can be very difficult to achieve, depending on your current level of depression. However, it is a coping skill that will benefit you considerably once produced. Here are a few tips to help you make your behavioral activation more effective.

Identify the activities that are important to you. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is identifying the activities that you think other people might find valuable. This is not about making other people happy; it’s about you. Don’t waste your energy on activities that aren’t important to you. Think about what sort of life you want to lead, and set your goals to achieve it.

Make sure you can measure your progress. You should also make sure the activities are specific enough to be achieved and recognized easily. Build a list of your desired activities from easy to difficult and work your way down the list. Focus on one activity at a time, and choose an activity you can progress quickly on. If you lack in motivation, you need to select a task that you can get moving on immediately, so avoidant behavior doesn’t begin.
Don’t allow the behavioral activation to become an added stress source. It’s important to remember that if you start easy, the harder items will become more achievable.

Don’t let your behavioral activations become too dull. Make them a little bit exciting and fun, so you want to activate them. Choosing specific goals in a range of your life areas is a great way to begin. Relationships, career, family, friends, and personal care are an excellent place to start. The more variety you have in your life, and during behavioral activations, the more balanced your life be. Rewarding your progress is essential to genuinely see your accomplishments. Take it one step at a time.