12 Aug The Lazy Way To An Awesome Life: 3 Secrets Backed By Research
via Eric Barker
We all want things to just be normal again.
But in this year-that-will-not-end, life has felt like some sort of gypsy curse. A quantum superposition of malaise. The spring was all of us just standing around slack-jawed, wondering what the universe had planned as a third act for this prank show we call “Nowadays.”
And currently we’re still a herd-and-a-half away from herd immunity, understandably restricted from many things like socializing which we count on for happiness. We’re frazzled, there’s a low hum of anxiety underneath everything we do, and we can’t even go to Olive Garden.
Luckily, we are starting to acclimate, accepting it all as just another episode of the COVID-19 Variety Hour. Problem is, many of us are not acclimating in a good way. Our positive daily routines are screwed up and COVID is throwing Miracle-Gro on our bad habits. Doomscrolling online, endless TV binges, aimless web surfing or far, far worse things are replacing constructive activities that promote true joy and productivity.
I’d argue that the limitations of COVID and lockdown are mimicking depression: we engage in fewer rewarding activities, ruminate on stresses we can do nothing about, we don’t see friends as frequently, and often unconsciously replace good habits with short-term soothing behaviors that keep us stuck in a rut. Now it’s not actual clinical depression — filled with more melancholy than a Lana Del Rey breakup — but our current limitations mimic characteristics of depression, and we’re all feeling the effects. It’s like having your soul deep fried.
In one way or another many of us are unconsciously hitting the “pause” button on the remote, trying to wait this out until “real life” starts again. Sorry, but we cannot take a mulligan on 2020. We need to be safe and keep others safe but we cannot act like thislife is not real life. (Your gym might give you credit for missed months during the pandemic but life won’t.)
So what’s the best way to proceed, given the current could-not-be-further-from-idealsituation? It’s called “Behavioral Activation Therapy.” (Yes, the acronym for the solution to our COVID-induced unhappiness is “BAT.” I know what you’re thinking. Don’t say it. Bat jokes stopped being cool in April.)
The gist of Behavioral Activation Therapy is we gotta do happy to feel happy. Often, we wait until we feel right to do what’s right. Nope, BAT says it’s the complete opposite. Instead of our mood changing what we do, we need to change what we do to fix our mood. This may not sound like the “lazy” way to an awesome life but changing your feelings directly can seem impossible when the world has gone inferno. Altering how we act is easier.
And BAT is legit. In head-to-head studies it matched CBT-style strategies (the most battle-tested system out there) and was even as effective as meds.
The acute outcomes of patients who received BA were comparable to those who received antidepressant medication, even among more severely depressed patients. Patients assigned to BA tended to stay in treatment longer than those assigned to pharmacotherapy. BA was also superior to CT in the acute treatment of more severely depressed patients. There were no differences among treatments for the less severely depressed patients.
The book we’ll be getting the skinny on is Behavioral Activation for Depression. It’s a manual for therapists but it’s solid for us (at least as good as the many texts on ADD I haven’t finished).
Maybe you’re not feeling the pandemic pinch as bad as others. Good for you. But BAT isn’t just a Hail Mary pass against our COVID-induced pseudo-depression; it’s actually a path to a better life for all of us, all the time.
Let’s get to it…
… keep reading the full & original article HERE
#happiness #happy #life #goodlife #depression #mentalhealth #activation