When counseling our patients with mood disorders regarding behavioral activation/activity scheduling, we may like to encourage more value based actions rather than just “generic” ones. Generic actions can be like visit the family or friends, going for regular walks, or checking out new activities in the area.
Value based actions are linked to inner values, feelings, and principles and hence, are more emotive, meaningful, and purposeful. If they are more emotive, meaningful, and purposeful, then they may be more sustainable.
If a patient has strong values around family and connection, then explore activities around that. If they have strong values around creativity and beauty, then maybe explore some activities around that. For some it might be values around productivity and helpfulness, so explore around that.
Values are hard for folks to define, so helping them to define these first would be helpful.
Having said that, sometimes clarity around values may not be there yet, and therefore action first before clarity is not necessarily a bad option.