It might seem to be intuitive, but pleasurable activities need to be a routine for the purpose of developing and to maintain emotional regulation, coping strategies, behavioral attention, and simply: fun, positive experiences.
Without some battery of coping strategies, our mind might be susceptible of filtering thoughts for doubt, negative evidence, and unhealthy judgment. With work, particularly in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, we can learn to be more mindful in how we participate in such thoughts. Even still, overwhelming emotions tend to bowl of positive emotions and experiences. A strategy for offsetting the negative is identifying and recording fun and positive experiences that can be done on a routine basis.
Creating a list
If you have nowhere else to start, begin by recording a list. The list can be as simple as writing down some activities, but it can also be composed categorically if you want to get a tad more complex. For myself, my list includes:
Feel free to refer back to the Hotspots and Worries article for related strategies.
Making Time by Managing Time
Often times, not always, the issue of time comes up when an activity has ceased to be a day-to-day habit. Therefore, part of understanding how to manage pleasurable activities is understanding the science between habituation. Neurologically, it's scientifically evidenced to take an average of 66 repetitions for an action to form as a habit. So, how do you find the time to make a habit work? Without getting too heavy into actual Time Management strategies in this article, the quickest solution is to allot even just a few minutes to check-in with an activity. The goal here is to be able to identify how much time we've permitted to negative energy in a way that we might hopefully redirect some of that toward a pleasurable activity. Some people do this by creating an activity log to demonstrate a record of activities, and some might block out their calendar.
Typically, I recommend spreading out activities to every day. I previously wrote a post on how I habituated myself back into reading books, and I recommend taking a glance at that for a deeper understanding of 1) why it was important to gain back leisure time and 2) how I was able to gain back a pleasurable experience that I can engage in intermittently throughout the day and week.
Why Pleasurable Activities take equal precedence
Again, if our mind has a quick and easy access to negative energy or harmful habits, the mind will go there readily to the point that positive emotions and experiences can easily be filtered out of our thoughts. The former becomes the neural pathway that dominants our minds and decisions, and one of the most powerful strategies for refocusing our attention is to find meaningful joy in life, hence creating a routine and presence for pleasure. This isn't hedonism or idleness, it's balance which can co-occur with positive communication, effective interpersonal relationships, and gainful life experiences.