Pleasurable activities for good mental health


When we aren’t feeling well the last thing we feel like doing is anything and we lack motivation. But if we go out and do something pleasurable, the truth is that we feel better after doing it. So the question is how do we get the motivation to do something? Our mind and body can spiral downwards with depression but it can also spiral upwards too. The trick is to don’t make it too hard, because if we do then we either won’t do it or we try doing something and don’t complete it and feel like a failure. So I challenge you to think of something achievable to do that is pleasurable and uplifts your mood and do it. Often the mind puts barriers in place and we can’t think of something to do. If this is the case then have a look at this list of 183 pleasurable activities to choose from and take the following steps;

The Steps

1. Read the whole list and mark off some pleasurable activities that are achievable and something you can do (remember don’t make it too hard eg if you think you can go for a 20 minute walk, go for 15 minutes to start with, so you can be sure to achieve it)
2. Write a time/day when you can complete the activity
3. Take the first step and do your activity, knowing that this is what you need to do to improve the way you feel.
4. After doing the activity, note how you feel, thoughts and physical sensations.

The first step is often the hardest but the more you do a pleasurable activity on a regular basis, the more you will experience the benefits of having positive thoughts, emotions and physical sensations.

The activities

1. Soaking in the bathtub
2. Planning my career
3. Collecting things (coins, shells, etc.)
4. Going for a holiday 5. Recycling old items
6. Relaxing
7. Going on a date
8. Going to a movie
9. Jogging, walking 10. Listening to music
11. Thinking I have done a full day’s work
12. Recalling past parties
13. Buying household gadgets
14. Lying in the sun
15. Planning a career change
16. Laughing
17. Thinking about my past trips
18. Listening to others
19. Reading magazines or newspapers
20. Hobbies (stamp collecting, model building, etc.)
21. Spending an evening with good friends
22. Planning a day’s activities
23. Meeting new people
24. Remembering beautiful scenery
25. Saving money
26. Gambling
27. Going to the gym, doing aerobics
28. Eating
29. Thinking how it will be when I finish school
30. Getting out of debt/paying debts
31. Practising karate, judo, yoga
32. Thinking about retirement
33. Repairing things around the house
34. Working on my car (bicycle)
35. Remembering the words and deeds of loving people
36. Wearing sexy clothes
37. Having quiet evenings
38. Taking care of my plants
39. Buying, selling stocks and shares
40. Going swimming
41. Doodling
42. Exercising
43. Collecting old things
44. Going to a party
45. Thinking about buying things
46. Playing golf
47. Playing soccer
48. Flying kites
49. Having discussions with friends
50. Having family get-togethers
51. Riding a motorbike
52. Sex 53. Playing squash
54. Going camping
55. Singing around the house
56. Arranging flowers
57. Going to church, praying (practising religion)
58. Losing weight
59. Going to the beach
60. Thinking I’m an OK person
61. A day with nothing to do
62. Having class reunions
63. Going ice skating, roller skating/blading
64. Going sailing
65.Travelling abroad, interstate or within the state 66. Sketching, painting
67. Doing something spontaneously
68. Doing embroidery, cross stitching
69. Sleeping
72. Going to clubs (garden, sewing, etc.)
73. Thinking about getting married
74. Going birdwatching
75. Singing with groups
76. Flirting
77. Playing musical instruments
78. Doing arts and crafts
79. Making a gift for someone
80. Buying CDs, tapes, records
81. Watching boxing, wrestling
82. Planning parties
83. Cooking, baking
84. Going hiking, bush walking
85. Writing books (poems, articles)
86. Sewing
87. Buying clothes
88. Working
89. Going out to dinner
90. Discussing books
91. Sightseeing
92. Gardening
93. Going to the beauty salon
94. Early morning coffee and newspaper
95. Playing tennis
96. Kissing
97. Watching my children (play)
98. Thinking I have a lot more going for me than most people
99. Going to plays and concerts
100. Daydreaming
101. Planning to go to TAFE or university
102. Going for a drive 103. Listening to a stereo
104. Refinishing furniture 105. Watching videos or DVDs
106. Making lists of tasks
107. Going bike riding
108. Walks on the riverfront/foreshore
109. Buying gifts
110. Travelling to national parks
111. Completing a task
112. Thinking about my achievements
113. Going to a footy game (or rugby, soccer, basketball, etc.)
114. Eating gooey, fattening foods
115. Exchanging emails, chatting on the internet
116. Photography
117. Going fishing
118. Thinking about pleasant events
119. Staying on a diet
120. Star gazing
121. Flying a plane
122. Reading fiction
123. Acting
124. Being alone
125. Writing diary/journal entries or letters
126. Cleaning
127. Reading non-fiction
128. Taking children places
129. Dancing 130. Going on a picnic
131. Thinking “I did that pretty well” after doing something
132. Meditating
133. Playing volleyball
134. Having lunch with a friend
135. Going to the hills
136. Thinking about having a family
137. Thoughts about happy moments in my childhood
138. Splurging
139. Playing cards
140. Having a political discussion
141. Solving riddles mentally
142. Playing cricket
143. Seeing and/or showing photos or slides
144. Knitting/crocheting/quilting 145. Doing crossword puzzles
146. Shooting pool/Playing billiards
147. Dressing up and looking nice
148. Reflecting on how I’ve improved
149. Buying things for myself
150. Talking on the phone
151. Going to museums, art galleries
152. Thinking religious thoughts
153. Surfing the internet
154. Lighting candles
155. Listening to the radio
156. Going crabbing or prawning
157. Having coffee at a cafe
158. Getting/giving a massage
159. Saying “I love you”
160. Thinking about my good qualities
161. Buying books
162. Having a spa, or sauna
163. Going skiing
164. Going canoeing or white-water rafting
165. Going bowling
166. Doing woodworking
167. Fantasising about the future
168. Doing ballet, jazz/tap dancing
169. Debating
170. Playing computer games
171. Having an aquarium
172. Erotica (sex books, movies)
173. Going horseback riding
174. Going rock climbing
175. Thinking about becoming active in the community
176. Doing something new
177. Doing jigsaw puzzles
178. Thinking I’m a person who can cope
179. Playing with my pets
180. Having a barbecue
181. Rearranging the furniture in my house
182. Buying new furniture
183. Going window shopping

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