Woman enjoys a cup of tea while looking out a window.

Nourishing vs. Depleting Activities

If you have been following my blogs, you know that I am both a practitioner and researcher of mindfulness. To the extent that we face our own thoughts and emotions, can we offer our mindful presence to ourselves and others.

I’d like to suggest a short exercise that can help you become mindful of the ways in which our activities can affect our mood. This brief activity may help you better understand which things you do during the day feel good and which drain you of your precious energy.

Take a moment to make a list of what you do during a typical day. Break the activities into smaller parts, such as showering in the morning, making coffee, chatting with colleagues, working, and eating lunch. I’d like you to also consider those things you do during the evenings and weekends, too, such as making dinner, watching TV, reading a book to your children, and spending intimate time with your partner.

Notice which activities:

  1. Raise you up and give your energy, and are nourishing;
  2. Lower your mood or feel depleting;
  3. Feel neutral, neither nourishing nor depleting.

You might notice that a single activity can feel depleting in one context, neutral in another context, or nourishing, depending on your mood.

Beside each activity, I’d like you to write N for nourishing, D for depleting, and 0 for neutral. 

What do you observe?

Is there a way to think about the depleting activities so that they feel less depleting, or perhaps find a way to do fewer depleting activities?

How can you add more nourishing activities to your daily life?

Finally – select one small, manageable task that has a clear beginning and end, for example, making a meal. Finish this activity by writing a brief note to yourself with a plan describing how you might change your attitude or action. 

And feel free to email me about your experiences with this mindfulness activity! 

The good news? We often focus more on the activities that feel depleting than the activities that make us feel nourished.

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