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Keeping Your Balance Keeping Your Balance

Module 4

Behavioural Strategies for Managing & Preventing Depression Contents


Page The Depression Cycle Behavioural Activation Worksheet Pleasurable Activities Catalogue Weekly Activity Schedule Module Summary 2 4 5 7 8

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Keeping Your Balance

The Depression Cycle


The symptoms of depression can bring about some drastic changes in a depressed persons life, daily routines, and their behaviour. Often these changes can perpetuate the depression and prevent the depressed person from getting better. For example, a lack of motivation or a lack of energy can result in a depressed person cutting back on their activities, neglecting their daily tasks and responsibilities, or leaving decision-making to others. Have you noticed these changes in yourself when you are depressed? When your activity level decreases, you may become even less motivated and more lethargic. When you stop doing the things you used to love, you miss out on experiencing pleasant feelings and positive experiences. Your depression could get worse and this becomes a vicious cycle. Similarly, when one begins neglecting a few tasks and responsibilities at work or at home, the list may begin to pile up. As such, often when a depressed person thinks about the things they have to do, they might feel overwhelmed by the accumulation of the things that they have neglected. This might result in them feeling guilty or thinking that they are ineffective or even, a failure. This will also perpetuate the depression and the depression cycle.

The Depression Cycle


Depression Increased guilt, hopelessness, ineffectiveness

Low energy, fatigue, decreased interest

Decreased activity, neglect of responsibilities

Reversing the Depression Cycle


The first step in reversing depression cycle is to simply increase your activity level, especially in pleasurable activities and tackling your list of tasks and responsibilities. However, its important to remember to do this in a realistic and achievable way, so that you set yourself up to succeed. Becoming more active has a number of advantages.

Activity helps you to feel better. At the very least, when you start engaging in some activity, it gives
your mind something else to think abouta different focus. Doing things, even a little at a time, can help to give you a sense that you are moving forward, taking control of your life again, and achieving something. You might even find pleasure and enjoyment in the activities you do.

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Keeping Your Balance Activity helps you to feel less tired. Usually, when you are physically tired, you need rest. However, when you are depressed, the opposite is true. Sleeping more and sitting around doing nothing will only make you feel more lethargic and tired. Also, doing nothing leaves room for your mind to dwell on depressive thoughts, which will make you feel even more depressed. Activity can help you think more clearly. Once you get started, you might find that you take a different perspective on particular problems in your life. Also, because your mind takes a different focus as a result of the activity, your thoughts may become clearer.
This strategy of breaking or reversing the depression cycle is considered a behavioural strategy, and includes scheduling activity into your week, such as tackling small tasks and engaging in pleasurable activities. Use the worksheet on the next page to set up a few pleasant or fun activities and one or two simple tasks for yourself this coming week. Think of it as an experiment, and see if you feel better after you have engaged in some pleasant activities. Having a bit of difficulty thinking of fun things to do? Refer to the Pleasurable Activities Catalogue on pages 5 and 6. On page 7 is a Weekly Activity Schedule. You can use this worksheet to plan your schedule for a week. Try including a few tasks you need to tackle or some errands that you need to run and remember to put in some fun activities. If you stick to your plan and increase your activity level, a reversed Depression Cycle will look like this:

Reversing The Depression Cycle


Increased Activity

Greater energy & motivation

Feeling hopeful, more confident, less guilty

Improved Depression

This behavioural strategy not only is able to lift your depression, but also to prevent its recurrence. Just remember to keep a good balance between responsibilities and fun activities in your life.

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Keeping Your Balance

Behavioural Activation Worksheet

FUN & ACHIEVEMENT

One way of combating depression is to prescribe some fun for yourself. By engaging in some simple, pleasant activities, you can improve your mood and your energy level. However, because youre feeling depressed right now, you might not experience the same level of pleasure doing an activity as when you were not depressed. But dont stop after one or two activities. Keep going and youll find that your mood will begin to lift. Try it and see! You may also want to engage in some simple tasks or responsibilities that you have neglected for some time. Often, accomplishing tasks can improve your motivation and give you a sense of achievement. Start with tasks that are simple and achievable. BUT remember that it is important to BALANCE both responsibilities and pleasurable activities. Try not to go overboard on one and leave out the other. Use the following rating scale to rate your depression, pleasant feelings, and sense of achievement BEFORE and AFTER the activity.

0 Absolutely None

1 Minimal

2 Slight

3 Mild

4 Moderate

5 Much

6 Higher

7 Very High

8 Extreme

Depression Activity & Date: Before: After:

Pleasure

Achievement

Activity & Date:

Before: After:

Activity & Date:

Before: After:

Activity & Date:

Before: After:

What did you notice about yourself?

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Keeping Your Balance

Pleasurable Activities Catalogue


The following is a list of activities that might be pleasurable for you. Feel free to add your own pleasurable activities to the list.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. Soaking in the bathtub Planning my career Collecting things (coins, shells, etc.) Going for a holiday Recycling old items Relaxing Going on a date Going to a movie Jogging, walking Listening to music Thinking I have done a full days work Recalling past parties Buying household gadgets Lying in the sun Planning a career change Laughing Thinking about my past trips Listening to others Reading magazines or newspapers Hobbies (stamp collecting, model building, etc.) Spending an evening with good friends Planning a days activities Meeting new people Remembering beautiful scenery Saving money Card and board games Going to the gym, doing aerobics Eating Thinking how it will be when I finish school Getting out of debt/paying debts Practising karate, judo, yoga Thinking about retirement Repairing things around the house Working on my car (bicycle) Remembering the words and deeds of loving people Wearing sexy clothes Having quiet evenings Taking care of my plants Buying, selling stocks and shares Going swimming Doodling Exercising Collecting old things Going to a party Thinking about buying things Playing golf Playing soccer Flying kites Having discussions with friends Having family get-togethers Riding a motorbike Sex Playing squash Going camping Singing around the house 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. Arranging flowers Going to church, praying (practising religion) Losing weight Going to the beach Thinking Im an OK person A day with nothing to do Having class reunions Going ice skating, roller skating/blading Going sailing Travelling abroad, interstate or within the state Sketching, painting Doing something spontaneously Doing embroidery, cross stitching Sleeping Driving Entertaining Going to clubs (garden, sewing, etc.) Thinking about getting married Going birdwatching Singing with groups Flirting Playing musical instruments Doing arts and crafts Making a gift for someone Buying CDs, tapes, records Watching boxing, wrestling Planning parties Cooking, baking Going hiking, bush walking Writing books (poems, articles) Sewing Buying clothes Working Going out to dinner Discussing books Sightseeing Gardening Going to the beauty salon Early morning coffee and newspaper Playing tennis Kissing Watching my children (play) Thinking I have a lot more going for me than most people Going to plays and concerts Daydreaming Planning to go to school Thinking about sex Going for a drive Listening to a stereo Refinishing furniture Watching TV, videos Making lists of tasks Going bike riding Walks on the riverfront/foreshore

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Keeping Your Balance


110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141. 142. 143. 144. 145. 146. 147. 148. 149. 150. 151. 152. 153. 154. 155. 156. 157. 158. 159. 160. 161. 162. 163. 164. 165. 166. 167. 168. 169. 170. 171. 172. Buying gifts Travelling to national parks Completing a task Thinking about my achievements Going to a footy game (or rugby, soccer, basketball, etc.) Eating gooey, fattening foods Exchanging emails, chatting on the internet Photography Going fishing Thinking about pleasant events Staying on a diet Star gazing Flying a plane Reading fiction Acting Being alone Writing diary/journal entries or letters Cleaning Reading non-fiction Taking children places Dancing Going on a picnic Thinking I did that pretty well after doing something Meditating Playing volleyball Having lunch with a friend Going to the hills Thinking about having a family Thoughts about happy moments in my childhood Splurging Playing cards Solving riddles mentally Having a political discussion Playing cricket Seeing and/or showing photos or slides Knitting/crocheting/quilting Doing crossword puzzles Shooting pool/Playing billiards Dressing up and looking nice Reflecting on how Ive improved Buying things for myself Talking on the phone Going to museums, art galleries Thinking religious thoughts Surfing the internet Lighting candles Listening to the radio Going crabbing Having coffee at a cafe Listening to the radio Getting/giving a massage Saying I love you Thinking about my good qualities Buying books Taking a sauna or a steam bath Going skiing Going canoeing or white-water rafting Going bowling Doing woodworking Fantasising about the future Doing ballet, jazz/tap dancing Debating Playing computer games 173. 174. 175. 176. 177. 178. 179. 180. 181. 182. 183. 184. 185. Having an aquarium Erotica (sex books, movies) Going horseback riding Going rock climbing Thinking about becoming active in the community Doing something new Making jigsaw puzzles Thinking Im a person who can cope Playing with my pets Having a barbecue Rearranging the furniture in my house Buying new furniture Going window shopping

Others:

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Keeping Your Balance

Weekly Activity Schedule


Use the schedule below to plan your activities for the coming week. Make sure you balance fun and pleasurable activities with your daily responsibilities and duties.

Mon
8 to 9am 9 to 10 10 to 11 11 to 12pm 12 to 1

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

1 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 4

4 to 5

5 to 6

6 to 7

7 to 8

8 to 10 10 to 12 am

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Keeping Your Balance

Module Summary
Often, the symptoms of depression can, in themselves, perpetuate the depression and prevent the depressed person from feeling better A lack of motivation and energy can result in a person becoming less active, which can cause further problems because the person may feel even less motivated and more lethargic, resulting in a vicious cycle This vicious cycle can be broken by simply increasing your activity level When you increase your activity levels, this helps you feel better, less tired, and able to think more clearly Neglecting your daily responsibilities may lead to you feeling guilty and overwhelmed, especially if those responsibilities pile up It is important to schedule pleasurable activities as well as daily responsibilities into your weekly schedule, and to balance these with time for rest

Keep Going ...


In the next module, we will discuss how your thoughts play a part in the way you feel, and how you can challenge and change them so that you feel better and more able to manage your moods.

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