383 Depression & Activity

Research by Cuijers, Pim., van Straten, A., & Warmerdam, Lisanne. (2007).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S

When depressed, we don’t feel like moving. But Activity Scheduling or being active is one behavioral treatment for depression. The steps are to make a list of one’s usual pleasurable and meaningful activities, engage in them daily, and assess your mood daily to demonstrate that the more active you are, the less depressed.

Netherland psychologists completed a meta-analysis by reviewing 16 controlled studies which included 780 participants with depression that used Activity Scheduling as the treatment for depression in comparison to other treatments.  

Results? Activity scheduling was effective in reducing depression. Activity scheduling when compared to Cognitive Therapy (which helps the person learn to change their thoughts that lead to depression) was equally effective. Also, the results indicated the two therapies were equally effective in maintaining long-term benefits at follow-up.

So, if you’re feeling depressed, reduce your tendency to do nothing. Instead, go for a walk, swim, run, engage in a craft, play music or a game with your kids, or take your pet for a walk. Take a step towards doing something you have enjoyed before. Research shows that increasing your behavioral activity will leave you in a better mood! Get moving!


Cuijers, P., van Straten, A., & Warmerdam, L. (2007). Behavioral activation treatments of depression: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 318-326.

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