Many people with overwhelming emotions discount their pleasurable emotions, filter them out, or never take the opportunity to experience them in the first place. As a result they only focus on their distressing emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness, and they rarely notice their pleasurable emotions such as happiness, surprise and anger.
A very reliable method of focusing on pleasurable emotions is to create pleasurable experiences.
Clients should be encouraged to do something pleasurable for themselves every day.
Work with the client to identify activities that s/he has enjoyed in the past or would like to try. A list can be consulted if the client has difficulty thinking of any. Various approaches can be used depending on the specific context. For clients who do not currently participate in any structured recreation the focus should be on choosing 2 or 3 new activities that s/he could commit to trying out over the next few weeks. Practical support should be provided to encourage and facilitate attendance.
Deliberately creating pleasurable experiences also enhances the likelihood of being consciously aware when positive emotions are present.
The ‘Pleasurable Activities Log’ is an additional technique for further enhancing this awareness. A work sheet is used to record information about pleasurable activities that have been scheduled and completed: (i) When did you do it?; (ii) What did you do?; (iii) How did you feel?; (iv) What did you think?.