Being active, doing things we like helps to maintain or improve our well-being. Our brain is able to reduce the impact of negative emotions, negative experiences or stress, by releasing a sort of ‘’natural anti-depressants’’ that make our body and mind feel more relaxed. These ‘’natural anti-depressants’’ are released when we are active (exercise/sports), or doing something pleasant.
In our busy lives, many people find it difficult to find the time to do something pleasant/relaxing. And sometimes people even forget which things they liked to do, or which things made them feel relaxed.
If you want to engage more in pleasurable activities, but you are unsure what to do: here is a list of things you can think about. Hopefully it inspires you to think of even more pleasurable things to do!
If you are in a low mood, it is important to do pleasurable activities regularly, to release your natural ‘’anti-depressants’’. However, don’t expect that any of these activities makes you feel better right away. It is just as with taking ‘’anti-depressive pills’’, it takes a few weeks before you will notice differences in your mood. If you are really depressed, you might not even really enjoy the activities right now. That is why it is so hard to improve your mood: you have to perform activities you are not really enjoying at the moment…. But keep up the good work! Within a few weeks you should start to feel a little better!
Go for a walk or a run (preferably in a natural setting, such as the woods or a park)
Listen to (your favourite) music
(Re-)read your favourite/a book
Visit or invite a friend
Get a massage
Drink coffee/tea in a nice café
Take a relaxing shower/bath
Call someone you like on the phone
Watch your favorite/a movie
Surf the internet on topics you like
Dance (just in your living room or any other place)
Go to a museum
Draw, colour or paint
Write a postcard or letter to someone you like
Visit the library or a nice bookstore
Read your favorite magazine/newspaper
Play a musical instrument
Ride your bicycle
Go to a concert
Go out for a picknick
Practice yoga or meditate
Play cards or a board game
Do a crossword puzzle.
Prepare a healthy and nice meal