Running Benefits: 25 Reasons Running Is Better Than the GymBehavioral activation is part of the ‘B’ or behavioral side of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on changing what people do. I should mention that during college, I worked in the laboratory of Neil Jacobson, who studied behavioral activation. I may be biased in favor of behavioral activation.

Behavioral activation primarily targets depression. It usually starts with activity tracking to determine which activities make a person feel better and which do not. Then a client schedules pleasant activities and achievement or mastery activities.

Pleasant activities increase positive emotions such as feeling happy or relaxed. Achievement activities promote a sense of mastery because the client accomplishes something, but it might not be pleasant.

For example, one client may enjoy knitting and have to change the oil in their cars. The first activity (knitting) makes the client feel better, while the oil change provides a sense of accomplishment and mastery.

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