Whether you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, having experiences of enjoyment and pleasure are essential for mental and emotional health. Stress can so quickly and easily build up until you suddenly feel like you're overwhelmed. The same is true with anxiety and depression, without pleasurable experiences, symptoms can quickly grow into uncomfortable states of mood.
If you find yourself working long hours, tending to your children's needs, taking care of your spouse, and forgetting to take care of yourself, you might notice that after awhile you don't have the same level of enjoyment in your life. Even if you are working on your mental health symptoms and you're attending therapy, support groups, and possibly taking medication, you'll still need to have enjoyment in your life. Even too much therapy and therapeutic activities can be draining. It's important to have fun, exciting, and pleasurable experiences to bring balance to a life that is full of responsibilities.
One of the most common symptoms of mental illness is anhedonia. This is the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, such as exercise, hobbies, spending time with friends, or quality time with family members. Anhedonia can also include the lack of motivation and desire that we sometimes need to get started in an activity we enjoy. Lacking the desire to do something fun is common among those who have been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.
If you're feeling like you need a boost of joy in your life, here are tips to get you going:
1. Make a list of what you enjoy doing and see if you can do one each day this week.
2. Decide this week to take a trip somewhere that fills you with enjoyment.
3. Visit the ocean and soak up the sun and surf.
4. Get a good workout in your day.
5. Imagine yourself happy and full of excitement. What do you see yourself doing?
6. Let go of the feeling of busyness. Let yourself experience relaxation.
7. Look for the good in other people.
8. Surf the web for happy news and the good that is happening around the world.
9. Get a massage.
10. Play with your nieces, nephews, or other children. Find a way to be playful.
12. Draw, paint, or be creative in another way.
13. Make love with your spouse or intimate partner.
14. Watch your favorite comedy.
15. Visit your local comedy club.
16. Call a friend you haven't spoken to in awhile.
17. Try some laughter yoga.
18. Revise your schedule so that you're working less and having more fun.
19. Decide to smile once a day.
20. Spend time in nature.
21. Make a list of what you are grateful for in your life.
Sometimes, enjoying life isn't only about having fun; it's also about having meaning in your life. For this reason, other facets of life, such as relying upon your spirituality or being creative can also be rewarding. Once you find a few activities that bring you joy, keep them in your schedule and make them a regular part of your life.
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