Self-help Lesson #13 How To Reduce Depression Through Pleasurable Activities for Depression Relief

How To Reduce Depression Through Pleasure 

Although there are many ways to reduce depression, one way that has been shown to be effective is to increase the amount of pleasure you are receiving on a day to day basis.  The following steps can help you to do this.

  1. Create a list of pleasurable activities. Include particularly on this list activities that you use to do (and enjoy) but no longer do
  2. Only include items on the list that are practical. For example, you could include ‘gardening’, but taking a plane ride to Paris would likely not be practical.  If you have a highly interactive work life, you pleasurable activities may be solitary in nature to bring balance, or vice versa.
  3. Include on your list activities that you have not done in the past but would like to do so.
  4. Create your own list using the sample items below as suggestions for specific pleasurable activities.
  5. Create a schedule where you select at least four of these activities to do per week. Write down exactly when you will do them.
  6. Write down the obstacles that will likely get in your way of doing these activities and write down ways to defeat the obstacles. See the search box to look up a sample of a star chart.
  7. After doing the activities note feeling much better, both immediately afterwards and also after a week’s worth of pleasurable activities.


  • going to hear live music
  • visiting with friends
  • writing a letter
  • going for a walk
  • surfing the net
  • ‘going to a pet store
  • going to a party
  • going to the beach
  • creating some art
  • flying a kite
  • reading a good book
  • shopping
  • photography
  • cooking
  • playing cards
  • exercising
  • playing a sport
  • playing a musical instrument
  • sewing
  • cleaning the house
  • accomplishing a goal
  • sitting in the sun
  • community events
  • going to a museum
  • acting
  • gardening
  • working on your car engine
  • going to a restaurant
  • journaling
  • going for a hike
  • going to a bookstore
  • meditating
  • listening to favorite music
  • spending time with family
  • pet or cuddle a dog or a cat

Taking all these things together note if things shift.

3 thoughts on “Self-help Lesson #13 How To Reduce Depression Through Pleasurable Activities for Depression Relief

  1. My grandfather is on fluoxetine, but he is still getting very sporadic thoughts of suicide. I don’t want the doctor to just keep increasing his medication, it’s already giving him insomnia at times. We’re looking for an activity that he enjoys and trying to engage him in it. After all, we can’t just stay by his side every single minute.

  2. It’s funny how psychiatrists often prescribe drugs based on your depression symptoms and other clinical parameters, without actually dealing with the underlying cause. And the underlying cause often lies in being stranded with unpleasant situations. If we think for ourselves, be brave enough to face the cause, we will make things pleasurable for ourselves.

  3. My schedule is almost impossible to squeeze in any pleasurable activities…

    Everyday, life gets darker for me. Maybe I should just plan to go on unpaid leave for a while.

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