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  • Writer's picturejeankussnyder

Fight Depression with a Pleasant Activities List


It’s not surprising to hear that doing activities that you find fun or pleasant daily will help to improve your overall mood and sense of happiness. The idea is to build these types of activities into your daily routine.


A common problem that people with depression note is that they no longer feel like doing things. Because of this, they slowly stop doing the “less important” activities in their daily lives and eventually are left only with activities of things they “have” to do, things like going to work, cleaning the dishes, and sleeping. How depressing is that?!! If instead, you scheduled activities that bring you happiness, and commit to doing them, even when you don’t feel like it, you start to notice that you are feeling a little bit lighter, happier, and maybe even less depressed.


What Type of Activities Should I Think of?

I think the best practice is to try and think of activities that you have enjoyed in the past, and of activities that are easy or convenient for you to do. You can add some bigger, more expensive items to your list, but the majority of the list should be made up of simple, inexpensive activities that you can easily fit into your day. This will make it easier to actually complete these activities so you can get the benefits from them. That makes sense, right?


Another important consideration is to have a long list with lots of different activities to choose from. This will allow you to have a variety which will increase your happiness effect.


What Things Can I Do?

I’ve listed several things below to get you started. Don’t limit yourself to my ideas, but rather use the list as a place to start your own personalized list.


  • Soak your feet. You can even buy yourself an inexpensive foot spa from the local drugstore.

  • Go to the park for a few hours

  • Go for a walk

  • Go see a play

  • Put out some bird seeds to watch the birds

  • Play with your dog (or other pet)

  • Take a warm bubble bath

  • Read a good book

  • Do some deep breathing

  • Watch a good movie

  • Call a friend

  • Tell someone a joke or a story

  • Plant some seeds and watch the plants grow

  • Find a funny YouTube or TicToc to laugh at

  • Read the funny pages from the newspaper

  • Listen to music from your youth. Or any music that makes you happy or nostalgic

  • Learn a magic trick

  • Plan a day trip to a local attraction like the museum, greenhouse, or the zoo

  • Make a puzzle

  • Go to the local farmer’s market

  • Paint some rocks and hide them around town for people to find

  • Learn a new fact or 2 about a subject you're interested in

  • Wear your favorite piece of jewelry

  • Look through old photos of your last vacation

  • Plan a vacation to take next summer

  • Buy yourself some flowers

  • Buy a gift for someone you love

  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure

  • Go for a bike ride

  • Challenge a friend or family member to a fun game that you enjoy

  • Pull out an old hobby that you used to enjoy! Or start a new one.

  • Go for a scenic drive

  • Go take some pics of nature, or of your child (grandchild, best friend, etc)

  • Exercise

  • Go swimming

  • Hang out at the beach

  • Decorate your house for the season


  • Fix something in your house that is broken and that you’ve been meaning to get around to

  • Do some gardening

  • Compliment 5 people

  • Dress up nicely for the day and fix your hair

  • Bake a cake or cookies for no reason

  • Draw a picture. Or get yourself an adult coloring book and color

  • Do a crossword puzzle

  • Volunteer someplace where you can help other people

  • Go fishing

  • Play horseshoes

  • Buy a new outfit for yourself

  • Spend some time laying out in the sun

  • Rearrange your furniture and hang up those pictures that you never bothered to hang up before

  • Color your hair a new, fun color

  • Go out to eat

  • Volunteer at the dog (or cat) shelter

  • Take a class in a subject that you’ve always been interested in. Coursera offers lots of different free options.

  • Eat an ice cream cone or other favored treat

  • Go to a concert

  • Start a collection such as rocks, coins, depression glass, or seashells

  • Do some yoga or meditation

  • Try a new recipe

  • Take a long lunch break at your favorite restaurant

  • Give your significant other a massage

  • Go to the local fair

  • Visit a farm

  • Use some nice-smelling lotion

  • Go dancing

  • Go star gazing. Michigan even has a dark sky park up near Mackinaw City.

  • Read poetry, or try your hand at writing it

  • Plant a tree or two

  • Organize a neighborhood cleanup

  • Organize a block party

  • Buy some fun new sunglasses

  • Run through the sprinkler with children


  • paint a picture

  • Start a new Pinterest board

  • Connect with an old friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while

  • Go fly a kite

  • Learn to build a kite

  • Teach yourself a new card trick

  • Play a new video game

  • Play a card game or even solitaire

  • Go camping. Go glamping!

  • Sing a song

  • Try geo-caching

  • Embroider a pillowcase

  • Daydream

  • Refinish some furniture

  • Learn a new craft

  • Take a nap

  • Go to a coffee shop for a latte or cappuccino


Closing Thoughts


Once you’ve made up your pleasant activities list of things that YOU personally enjoy doing, then make a plan or a schedule that will include at least 1 activity per day. This will help you to focus on more pleasant feelings while you are depressed and help to lift your mood. Doing this may not cure your depression, but if it helps even a little, it may be worth a try.


If you continue to have trouble coping with your depression, or would like to talk with someone about depression treatment, please follow the link.

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