Behavioral Activation can improve your mood

Mental Health and Wellness
Behavioral  Activation can improve your mood

Have you ever had a day that started badly, continued to get worse, and ended on a sour note?  We all have. And it stinks.  How can you set yourself up for success even if something bad happens?  You’ve got to get going with Behavioral Activation.

Here are two scenarios:

  • You wake up feeling down, decide to stay in your pajamas, binge watch a show on Netflix, ignore texts from friends, and order a pizza for dinner.  About 9 pm you think, “Wow, that was a waste of a day.  I haven’t even showered and consumed half a pizza.  Now I feel even worse.”

  • You wake up feeling down, decide to stay in your pajamas and start to binge watch a show.  Your best friend calls, asks you to join her to run errands for her upcoming birthday party, and in return she’ll buy you a coffee.  You agree and start getting ready. Since the gym is near your favorite coffee shop, you pack a bag and do some cardio before heading home.  Since you feel motivated from exercise, you decide to make a big salad with the lettuce that’s about to go bad.

What’s the difference in these two situations?  Making CHOICES to improve your mood.  Everyone is entitled to a lazy day, but if you’re already feeling sad, anxious, angry — why make choices that perpetuate that state?  The best part is that it starts with only ONE choice, ONE action. 

Once you’ve started down the path of behavioral activation and started using coping skills, the next choice is easier.  Is this hard?  Yes!  But here are ways to make it less challenging:

  • Enlist a friend/family member to motivate you into action.

  • Create a list of coping skills that you can easily find so you’re not grasping for an idea when your mood is low.

  • Give yourself credit for small changes that improve your situation.

  • Forgive yourself if you can’t get activated one day.  You can always try again tomorrow!