Author: Diana Gordon, Psy.D.
Our patients come to us with a wide range of concerns, but one thing that many people we see have in common is that most of us want to feel happier. We want to experience more joy and contentment in our day to day lives. Sometimes psychiatric symptoms such as depression or anxiety can make it difficult for people to engage in the activities that help them feel relaxed and happy.
We all have busy lives, and making time for fun can be really challenging. What do you think about when you first think about making more time for activities that you enjoy? Many of our patients have a lot of good reasons for having difficulty making time in their schedules, including:
For these and many more reasons, many of our patients report that there are many days where they don’t engage in activities that bring them joy. When we start working with someone experiencing mood challenges, one of the first suggestions we will make is to set aside time every day to do something pleasurable. This doesn’t need to be a lot of time; there are many small things you can do over the course of the day that are fun and can bring you joy. Some examples might include:
We encourage our clients to make time each day for at least one activity that truly makes them happy. We find that when people make time for joy, they experience a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression. We work together with our patients to identify the activities that really bring them joy, and to problem-solve barriers to fitting these into their day to day lives. If you’re struggling to feel happy, try implementing this practice in your day to day life and notice how it impacts your mood. And feel free to reach out to us for a free phone consultation to learn more about evidence-based skills for managing depression and anxiety.
Diana Gordon, Psy.D., Kari Kagan Psy.D., and Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
Drs. Gordon, Kagan, and Leoni practice psychotherapy in downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Their areas of expertise include anxiety, sleep, stress, depression, and addiction. They blog about these topics to provide research-based information about common problems and strategies to help manage them.