4 Exercises and Worksheets for Depression and Anxiety
- Are you particularly looking forward to anything? Is there something new that has happened in your life recently?
Ask each member one of these questions or all of these questions if time permits, and encourage them to give it some thought and answer it honestly and in a meaningful way.
These questions will help group members to become more comfortable talking and sharing with others, as well as helping members learn about one another. Try our Fast Friends Exercise for more questions you can use when your group members are ready to know each other better.
Group therapy is commonly used in the treatment of people with depression and anxiety. A group setting is a perfect place for people suffering from depression or anxiety to connect with others, practice important social skills, and learn healthy coping strategies from one another.
While many of the activities and exercises mentioned above can be applied to individuals with any diagnosis or issue that brings them to therapy, there are some that can be especially effective for those with depression or anxiety. A few of these exercises and worksheets are listed below.
Dealing With Guilt Through Writing
While negative feelings such as guilt are not exclusive to those with a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, those suffering from these disorders often have the most trouble confronting those feelings.
Many of those struggling with depression or anxiety will turn to unhealthy, unhelpful, or even harmful ways to cope. This activity can help them find new, healthy ways to cope.
This exercise aims to elicit the cathartic benefits of expressive writing therapy, a popular positive coping intervention that was developed in the 1980s. It’s a slightly adapted take on traditional expressive writing, however, in that it includes some questions and prompts to stimulate and guide participants as they write.
On Day One, the focus is Reflection on what is underpinning those shameful or guilty feelings. Among others, participants use prompts such as:
- What is it you feel guilty about? and
- How do you feel right now about this?
Encourage your group to be as heartfelt and descriptive as they wish for a deep exploration of their feelings and thoughts.
Day Two builds on this reflection, but participants are encouraged to write a different and more positive ending to the event or situation they described on Day One.
The final part of this three-day writing therapy covers Lessons Learned, which includes prompts and questions such as “What kind of future behaviour would demonstrate that you learned this lesson?”
This activity can be particularly effective for group therapy that targets trauma or helps anxious people deal with stressful life events. Find out more about and download Dealing With Guilt Through Writing from our Positive Psychology Toolkit.
Setting and striving towards goals can be tough for us all, but for those struggling with depression, even setting a realistic goal can seem like a monumental task. This Goal Visualization activity can help facilitate goal-directed behavior in group members by:
- Enhancing their perspectives of success;
- Boosting their commitment and motivation; and
- Getting them started with the tactical aspects of the goal-setting process.
Essentially, goal visualization is mental imagery of the participant’s desired positive future, whether that relates to the goal achievement itself or simply to the process of working toward it. This worksheet provides some helpful theoretical insights into the activity.
“I’d like you to think about a goal that you want to accomplish in the next year of your life. This might be a relationship goal, an educational goal, a personal goal, or a work-related goal. Take a moment to bring this goal forward and visualise it in your mind’s eye.”