BLOGGING BEHAVIORAL



LISTEN IN AS AN AUSTIN PSYCHOLOGIST TALKS ABOUT CBT - COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY

January 6, 2012

Feeling Low? Make a Pleasant Events List


In honor of the New Year and good intentions to make improvements in our lives, I am re-posting a revised Pleasant Events List.  Those of you who read the previous post will be glad to see I've made a few changes, out with some of the old and in with some new ideas.

For those reading this list for the first time, what is it all about?

When someone is experiencing a sad, down, angry, lonely, or otherwise lowered mood, one tip that can help is to consult your own personal Pleasant Events List.

Below is a lonnnnnng list of Pleasant Events. It was compiled from a variety of sources, some of which I no longer recall. But I do remember a co-therapist telling me she gathered lists generated by clients in a former therapy group she ran. I kept most of the list intact, even when I was puzzled by the content. Different people find different activities uplifting (cleaning the bathroom, being one that I find a real stretch, but... different strokes).

The list is meant as a starting point: A list of ideas that will help you generate a list of your own. So that you can write your own personalized list of activities and thoughts you find pleasant, fun, funny, joyful, entertaining, relaxing, soothing, or in some other way, mood-lifting.

So I post this list in the hopes that readers will be inspired to read it, to do some of the things on the list, or to merely think about doing some of the things on the list, to leave a comment with some new pleasant event that can be added to the list, or to generate a new list of your own. Best of all, generate your list with as many readily do-able, easily accessable, easily affordable events as you can come up with.

As one exercise, I often suggest before reading the list that you rate your mood on a scale of 1 to 10, where:

1 = feeling very down or "low"

and

10 = feeling really happy or "up"


Then, after you have finished reading the list, rate how you feel once again. Any change?

PLEASANT EVENTS LIST

1. Soaking in the bathtub   

2. Looking at the stars       

3. Feeling the wind in my hair

4. Collecting things (coins, shells, etc)

5. Listening to fun, educational programming, such as TED or NPR podcasts

6. Thinking how it will be when I finish school

7. Working a crossword or sudoku puzzle

8. Trying out a new hair style

9. Sitting under a shade tree

10. Going to a movie in the middle of the week




11. Taking a walk around the block or even to the mailbox

12. Thinking about how I have done a full day's work

13. Watching or renting a favorite old movie

14. Recalling past parties

15.  Surfing the internet

16. Lying in the sun

17. Planning a career change

18. Rearranging furniture in a room or a bookshelf or a cabinet

19. Thinking about or looking at pictures of my past trips and vacations 

20. Listening to others tell happy stories

21. Reading magazines I've got sitting around  

22. Hobbies (stamp collecting, model building, etc.)

23. Spending time with good friends

24. Planning my next day off

25. Hunting around for beautiful images on the web:  flickr or photobucket, etc

26. Looking for pictures in magazines, books or on the internet of places I'd like to visit

27. Thinking of ways to meet new people

28. Looking at clouds and imagining different shapes

29.  Re-potting a plant

30. Eating my favorite dessert

31. Practicing karate, judo, yoga

32. Thinking what I will do when I retire, writing a "bucket list"

33. Repairing things around the house

34. Working on my car (bicycle, motorcycle)

35. Remembering the words and deeds of loving people

36. Looking at artists' paintings and works online, such as Olga's Gallery or Artspan

37. Writing a hand-written note, letter or thank you card 

38. Taking care of my plants    

39. Plan a healthy meal, make a salad 

40. Going swimming

41. Doodling

42. Exercising, watching an excercise video, jogging in place, or jumping rope

43.  Phoning up a friend and asking them to tell you a joke

44. Going to a party

45. Learning something new on video, like how to make a the best paper airplane.

46. Playing golf, hitting practice balls

47. Playing soccer

48. Flying kites

49. Having discussions with friends

50. Planning family get-togethers

51. Riding a motorbike or scooter

52. Having sex with the person I love or with myself

53. Hugging a tree, yes literally hugging a tree

54. Going camping  

55. Singing around the house

56. Arranging flowers

57. Practicing religion (go to church, praying, etc)

58. Going to an art gallery

59. Going to the beach

60. Thinking of the many ways I'm an OK person

61. Thinking how I would spend a day with nothing to do

62. Looking into class reunions

63. Going skating

64. Walking in a field and looking for different wildflowers or birds  

65.  Exploring local clubs or groups, by reading the paper or looking online (i.e., MeetUp )

66. Painting, drawing, watercolor

67. Doing something spontaneously

68. Go to a local nature or botanical garden.  Ladybird's Wildflower Center free the month of January!

69. Sleeping, taking a nap

70. Taking a drive in the country

71. Planning the next time I'll entertain, making calls to invite people 

72. Going to clubs (garden, support groups)

73. Thinking about getting married

74. Going hunting

75. Singing with groups or karaoke

76. Flirting    

77. Playing musical instruments

78. Doing hobbies, arts and crafts   

79. Making a gift for someone

80. Buying CDs

81. Watching boxing or wrestling

82. Window shopping on such sites as Craigslist or Ebay or Etsy (handmade items)

83. Cooking something special

84. Going hiking

85. Writing poems, personal journals, articles or essays

86. Sewing or mending something

87. Light a scented candle and watch the flame flicker

88. Going out to dinner

89. Scrapbooking

90. Discussing books, joining or looking for a book club

91. Taking a walk in tourist areas of my city

92. Gardening

93. Getting my hair done

94. Early morning coffee and newspaper

95. Taking up some new, interesting form of exercise (but going easy) 

96. Kissing

97. Watching children play

98. Thinking I have a lot more going for me than most

99. Going to plays and concerts

100. Daydreaming

101. Exploring ideas for a new hobby or interest at educational center such as UT Informal Classes

102. Stretching my muscles

103.  Making a collage, book making,  therapeutic collage using magazine cut outs

104. Listening to a stereo

105. Refinishing furniture

107. Making a to do list. Choosing one that takes 15 minutes and deciding to do it 

108. Going bike riding

109. Walking in the woods, in a park, or along a waterfront

110. Buying gifts for someone special

111. Thinking about what national or state parks I want to visit

112. Completing a 15-minute task I've been putting off

113. Collecting shells

114. Going to a spectator sport

115. Eating my favorite comfort food 

116. Teaching, planning a new lesson

117. Photography

118. Going fishing

119. Exploring new hiking trails   

120. Thrift shopping

121. Playing with my pets or a neighbor's pets

122. Looking up volunteer opportunities

123. Re-reading a favorite novel 

124. Pursuing acting in local theatre or helping with production

125. Being alone

126. Writing diary entries or letters

127. Organizing one drawer that needs it

128. Reading a self-help book or magazine article

129. Taking children to fun places

130. Dancing 

131. Going on a picnic

132. Listening to online radio, such as Pandora or KUT

133. Meditating, visualizing my special place

134.  Playing basketball, shooting baskets

135.  Having lunch with a friend

136. Reading blogs (hey, you're doing that now!), starting or writing a blog

137. Thinking about having a family

138. Writing a list of my Top Ten Happiest Moments

139. Splurging on a fun treat, such as a fruit smoothie or snow cone

140. Playing cards, solitaire

141. Going to garage sales

142. Having a political discussion, following political blogs

143. Signing up and playing softball

144. Seeing and/or showing photos or slides

145. Playing guitar or other musical instrument

146. Knitting or crochet or cross stitch or other hand work

147. Doing crossword puzzles   

148. Shooting pool

149. Reading the newspaper

150. Reflecting on how I've improved

151. Playing online video games such as Pogo or Yahoo games

152. Talking on the phone

153. Going to museums

154. Thinking religious thoughts

155. Going to a sports bar to catch a game

156. Listening to the radio or stereo

157. Sending an email to someone I've lost touch with

158. Saying "I love you" to someone I love

159. Making bead jewelry  

160. Buying or trading books

161. Taking a sauna or steam bath

162. Holding hands with someone I care about

163. Spending time at the library

164. Canoeing

165. Throwing a frisbee

166. Doing woodworking

167. Fantasizing about the future

168. Practicing ballet or tap dancing

169. Taking a drive on a pretty road or in a unique neighborhood

168. Taking my dog for a walk  or offering to walk a neighbor's dog

169. Sitting in a sidewalk cafe   

170. Having an aquarium

171. Painting my nails

172. Going horseback riding

173. Thinking about becoming active in the community

174. Doing something new and challenging

175. Completing jigsaw puzzles

176. Thinking I'm a person who can cope

177. Giving myself a pedicure

178. Thinking about the last time I laughed so hard my face hurt 

179. Taking a hot shower

180. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside

181. Making a long distance phone call

182. Taking a bubble bath

183. Browsing a book store

184. Thinking of someone I could have a good conversation with

185. Going to the beach

186. Finding a $20 bill in your coat from last winter

187. Laughing at yourself

188. Midnight phone calls that last for hours

189. Running through sprinklers

190. Reading blogs (like you are doing now), starting or writing a blog

191. Writing a list of my strengths, what I have to offer a friend or partner

192.  Relaxing in a hot tub

193.  Playing tennis, hitting balls against a backboard

194.  Watching the sunrise or sunset

195. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep

196. Thinking about a first kiss (my very first or with a new partner)

197.  Playing pingpong

198. Visiting a local animal shelter or humane society.  Better yet, volunteer.  

199. Letting a child or grandchild play with my hair    

200.  Hula hooping

201. Making myself a hot chocolate or cup of herbal tea

202. Thinking about a road trip with friends, a previous one or one I'd like to take

203. Swinging on a swing 

204. Drinking a glass of ice water with lemon

205. Reading song lyrics printed inside your new CD so you can sing along

206. Going to a music concert

207. Eating chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven

208. Winning a really competitive game

209.  Reader? Can you add a pleasant event?

210. Looking at old pictures or home movies

211.  Turning off and tuning in to myself and being one with source

212. Taking a moon bath

213.  Using tarot cards

214.  Surfing in the ocean

215. Reader? Can you add a pleasant event?  Or spot check and let me know if my list repeats?



Sandy Andrews, PhD is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist in Austin, Texas