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Behavioral Activation

Behavioral Activation

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Behavioral Activation infographic
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Behavioral activation is a widely used tool in psychotherapy. Its main use is in the treatment of depression. But it is also known for its benefits in improving and maintaining mood.

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Possible Benefits

  • May help improve mood
  • Can decrease negative emotions
  • Can help increase happiness
  • Can help increase productivity
  • Can strengthen willpower
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Required Equipment


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How to Do It

  1. Identify the things that matter most to you in your life. These are your values.
    1. The habit of value reflection in our directory can help you. 
  2. Define activities that relate to what you learned in Step 1. 
  3. Make a list of weekly activities and commit to doing them.

For example, if one of your values is learning: study a topic of your interest for one or two hours each week.

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Why it works

  • According to operant conditioning, the actions that reinforce us in a positive way can improve our mood. 
  • Inactivity leads to a pattern of avoidance behavior. We become overly sedentary and our mood decreases. 
  • Having a more active life, with a routine, makes us more likely to feel happy. 
  • The consistent effort to be active trains our willpower and discipline.
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Time Commitment

+30 minutes

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Suggested Frequency


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Time of Day


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Possible Side Effects

None known. 

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  • If you reflect properly on your values, the actions you choose will be more meaningful and more satisfying to you. This leads to more happiness. 
  • Ideally, you should create a routine of two or three activities per week. 
  • The more active you are, the more satisfied you will be. 
  • A good idea is to share part of your routine with someone you like.
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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. Behavioral Activation. https://sdlab.fas.harvard.edu/behavioral-activation
  2. Behavioural Activation for Depression; An Update of Meta-Analysis of Effectiveness and Sub Group Analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061095/
  3. What is behavioral activation?: A review of the empirical literature. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272735810000504?via%3Dihub
  4. Behavioral Activation Is an Evidence-Based Treatment for Depression. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0145445509350094
  5. Behavioral Activation. A Strategy to Enhance Treatment Response. https://journals.lww.com/practicalpsychiatry/Abstract/2014/07000/Behavioral_Activation__A_Strategy_to_Enhance.4.aspx
  6. Behavioral activation interventions for well-being: A meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2882847/
  7. Behavioural Activation Therapy: Philosophy, Concepts, and Techniques. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behaviour-change/article/behavioural-activation-therapy-philosophy-concepts-and-techniques/1006F300A65553880DB220C5CFFB8A4E
  8. Behavioural Activation Delivered by the Non-Specialist: Phase II Randomised Controlled Trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21200079/
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 Happiness  Productivity  Sharpness  Motivation
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