Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pleasurable Activities

When we talk about relapse prevention, and overall quality of life, I encourage clients to schedule time each day to do things they enjoy. They often stare at me blankly, in response. Many of them can't actually identify anything they enjoy, and others feel like there are too many more important things or responsibilities they have to meet to "waste time" having fun.

I make sure to tell them that it is not a waste of time. In fact, research supports the value of spending even a brief period of time on positive or enjoyable activities each day in changing brain chemistry and (therefore) mood. Spending 10 minutes "playing" makes the time you spend "working" more productive and less overwhelming. It is well worth it!

For people who don't know what they enjoy, I provide the following list, and encourage them to highlight the things they think they might like, or are curious about. People might also be able to identify things they used to enjoy, or things they heard about that interested them but they haven't tried. Here is the list I've compiled. If you notice anything missing, add on using the comments!
  • Shopping
  • Event planning and organizing
  • Wedding planning
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Party planning
  • Dog training
  • Fitness and aerobic exercise sessions
  • Horse riding
  • Traveling
  • Cooking
  • Knitting
  • Jewelry making
  • Making gift baskets
  • Crochet
  • Family tree
  • Geocaching
  • Puzzles (Sudoku, crossword, jigsaw, etc)
  • Reiki
  • Different types of painting such as:
    • Oil painting
    • Glass painting
    • Acrylic painting
    • Faux painting
    • Watercolor painting
    • Paint by numbers
  • Quilting
  • Writing
  • Interior decorating and designing
  • Listening to new music
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Home decorating
  • Creating wall art and wall hangings
  • Candle making
  • Learning foreign languages
  • Visiting beauty salons, clinics, and indulging in the following:
    • Spas
    • Manicures
    • Massages
    • Steam saunas
    • Tanning
    • Acupressure
    • Acupuncture
  • New hair accessories, and haircut styles and ideas
  • Designer handbags and jewelry
  • Embroidery
  • Crystal healing
  • Learning tarot card reading, astrology, or handwriting analysis
  • Buying antiques and unique collectibles
  • Going to garage sales and flea markets
  • Becoming a collector of anything
  • Handcrafted jewelry
  • Setting up a fish tank with aquarium fish
  • Beading
  • Spiritual healing
  • Aromatherapy
  • Cake decorating
  • Handicrafts
  • Cosmetics
  • Flower arrangements
  • Origami
  • Sewing
  • Indoor gardening and other similar activities such as:
    • Growing roses
    • Managing flower gardens
    • Growing bonsai trees
    • Caring for houseplants
    • Growing vegetable gardens
    • Building a rock garden
    • Organic gardening and composting
  • Yoga
  • Coaching
  • Feng shui
  • Pottery
  • Pursuing mosaic, stained glass and pastel art
  • Home based business opportunities
  • Start a blog
  • Scrapbooking
  • Wood carving/crafts
  • Learn about investments
  • Make a gift for someone
  • Watch sports, join a fantasy league
  • Fishing
  • Watch children or animals play
  • Go to plays, concerts, or museums
  • Refinish old furniture
  • Visit national parks
  • Photography
  • Kite flying
  • Identify a topic of interest and learn more about it
  • Play pool or darts
  • Sit at a sidewalk cafĂ©
  • Browse used book stores, or consignment stores

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