Thoughtful Thursday: Pleasurable Activities List

Thoughtful Thursday posts are focused on assisting you with managing your emotions connected with the stresses of relationship disappointments. Whether you are trying to overcome disappointed, hurt or abandoned feelings related to your current relationship, trying to overcome hurts from your past relationship that are creating roadblocks in your current situation or working on letting love in – Thoughtful Thursday posts are aimed at building the foundation of effective personal preparation for relationship success. Try to incorporate Thoughtful Thursday activities/ideas into your daily routine and your overall ability to cope will improve. A few weeks ago, I discussed Distress Tolerance and suggested finding pleasurable activities to use when you are trying to deal with a painful situation.

Pleasurable Activities Help you Bring your best self to relationship

Pleasurable activities help you bring your best self to relationship

In truth, it is very important to incorporate pleasurable activities as part of your daily stress management strategy. When you work with me personally or participate in my online course, I will provide you with the exact structure for managing your stress in a way that allows you to grow your relationship in a healthy way. (To connect with me, visit

In the meantime, I want to share a list of pleasurable activities – I’ve often found in my work with women that knowing where to start can be difficult. With that in mind, check out this list. Choose a few activities that you can incorporate into your life on a regular basis. Here’s the key: the more uncomfortable you are with your current feelings, the more pleasurable activities you need to use. Why? Because engaging in pleasurable activities allows some distance from the effects of stress caused by feeling painful feelings. They also give your body a shot of endorphins – which can assist in clarifying your thought process. So, pick a few suggestions, give them a try and see how you are feeling after a few weeks. If you are experiencing more clarity and creativity related to improving your relationship, it’s working!

Pleasurable activities can improve who you are in relationship

Pleasurable activities can improve who you are in relationship

If you need more support, feel free to reach out to me. Either by clicking the big green button on the right of my site that invites you to tell me more about your #1 Biggest Relationship Challenge or set up a FREE 30 minute consult.

Here’s the list:

  • Talk to a friend on the phone
  • Go out and visit a friend
  • Invite a friend over
  • Organize a party
  • Exercise
  • Lift weights
  • Do yoga, tai chi, or pilates
  • Take a belly dance class
  • Stretch your muscles
  • Go for a long walk in a peaceful place that you enjoy
  • Go outside and listen to the birds
  • Go for a run
  • Ride a bike
  • Go hiking
  • Go to your local playground and watch people playing
  • Go play a game by yourself – shoot hoops, bowl, play handball, miniature golf, billiards or hit a tennis ball against a wall
  • Get a massage
  • Go to a spa and relax in the steam rooms, sauna and other rooms available
  • Go outside to get out of your house
  • Go for a drive or take a ride on public transportation
  • Plan a trip to a new location
  • Take a nap
  • Have a snack you enjoy
  • Cook your favorite dish or meal
  • Try a new recipe
  • Bake something for someone else
  • Take a cooking class
  • Go outside and play with your pet
  • Borrow a friend’s dog and take it for a walk
  • Watch a funny movie on Netflix
  • Go to the movie theater and watch whatever’s playing
  • Watch television
  • Listen to a podcast (you can search virtually any topic you enjoy or are curious about in itunes)
  • Listen to the radio
  • Play a game with a friend
  • Go online to chat
  • Visit your favorite websites
  • Create your own blog
  • Put a puzzle together
  • Go shopping
  • Get a manicure
  • Go to the library and read
  • Go to a bookstore and read
  • Go to your favorite cafe for coffee or tea
  • Visit a museum or local art gallery
  • Go to the mall or the park and watch other people
  • Pray or meditate
  • Go to your church, synagogue, temple or other place of worship
  • Join a group
  • Call a family member you haven’t spoken to in a long time
  • Learn a new language
  • Sing or learn how to sing
  • Play a musical instrument or learn how to play one
  • Write a song
  • Listen to some upbeat, happy music
  • Turn on some loud music and dance
  • Make a movie with your phone
  • Take pictures
  • Organize your pictures into an album or scrapbook
  • Go to and find a craft project to enjoy
  • Participate in a local theater group
  • Join Toastmasters and improve your communication and leadership skills
  • Sing in a local choir
  • Join a club
  • Plant a garden
  • Work outside
  • Paint your nails
  • Take a bubble bath or shower
  • Sign up for a class that excites you at a local college, adult school or online
  • Read your favorite book, magazine, blog or poem
  • Read a trashy celebrity magazine
  • Write a letter to a friend or family member
  • Write in your journal or diary about what happened to you today
  • Write in your journal about the things that make you feel good or what you are learning that is helpful so you can go back to it when things are tough
  • Draw
  • Paint
  • Write your Bucket List

Reading through this list should have given you some ideas of how you can incorporate pleasurable activities more effectively into your life if you aren’t doing so already. Maybe it brought other ideas to you about pleasurable activities you’ve been meaning to participate in, but haven’t taken the time.

When I was struggling in difficult relationships, incorporating things into my daily life that helped fill me up created a “buffer” that allowed me to deal with more than I would have been able to handle without those pleasurable activities. If you find your life is so full that the thought of taking a class overwhelms you, start small. Even a 10 minute walk every morning can make a difference.

© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2016 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited.

For more of Tamara’s work, please visit Tamara’s podcast can also be found on  iTunes.

Exercise adapted from: Copyright © 2007 by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C Wood and Jeffrey Brantley. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.


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