Behavioural activation is a therapeutic technique that stimulates motivation, by way of action. Action is the first step, and motivation follows.
Depressed individuals can become lethargic, fatigued, and apathetic. They lack interest and motivation to do the things they once enjoyed. They wait, and wait, for that motivation to get out, to go to the store, to socialize, or to clean up, but that feeling never arrives. The longer they lack motivation, the more difficult it is to stir up the energy inside of them to just do something.
Behavioural activation is basically a way of jump-starting motivation. Rather than waiting for the feeling, just push yourself to take a step forward, to brush your teeth, make a meal, or to spend time with a friend. When you actually do something, your sense of motivation will appear. By acting, you create the feeling of motivation. Eventually, your level of motivation will increase, so that you are no longer forcing yourself to act.
Once you start participating in activities, getting outside, and talking to people, your mood will improve! Use the Activity Diary below. Track your activity, rest, thoughts and mood. You may notice that your mood spikes upward when you spend time with your family, or when you get out of the house. By monitoring your patterns, you will start to gain control over your life.