Behavioral Activation

Behavioral Activation Helps You Get Going

Behavioral Activation is Effective in Treating Depression

Behavior therapy was developed to help people get control of their own behavior. Sometimes it is used to decrease behaviors such as tobacco use and alcohol dependence. Sometimes it is used to increase things like sleep and social interaction. By focusing on observable behaviors and applying scientific principles one can gain greater control over their actions.

Behavioral Activation Builds Activity Levels

Lack of interest in doing enjoyable activities and difficulty initiating action are hallmarks of a clinical depression.

Start Small – the Kindling Effect

When we start a campfire or a fire in the fireplace we usually use small amounts of dry material called kindling to take a spark and start a small fire. Depressed people can do the same by setting up small tasks to complet early in the day in order to get themselves going. Sometimes it is as simple as setting out the clothes to put on upon arising. Sometimes it is engaging is a simple sorting task.

Example: Breaking the Inertia of Depression

Once action is started it is easier to keep going, just like the campfire. Having projects set up in advance, during periods of higher energy, makes it easier to continue from activity to activity. Eventually the lethargy of the morning may break and the person can choose appropriate tasks and complete them, thus feeling more vital and useful.

Daily Actions, However Small, Build Success

As Winston Churchill once said: “When going through hell, keep going. Whether one is trying to stay active or desires to accomplish a major task, daily progress is often key to lasting success.

The Role of Mindfulness in Behavioral Activation

In trying to develop a new habit or routine it usually takes at least 8-weeks of daily progress. That’s about 50 repetitions, a daunting challenge to someone with depression. Focusing on just one more day, not the whole package, makes it much easier. That is an example of mindfulness – focusing only on the task at hand.

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