Since this month’s feature is about a balanced approach to anxiety treatment, today I am going to share  five categories of activities that have been shown to foster resiliency, hope, and well-being in the face of challenging situations. 

These five different types of activities were first identified in Occupational Therapy literature, by Dr. Rachel Thibault, who specialized in working community-based rehabilitation settings in post conflict and disaster relief initiatives. During her work in these settings, Dr. Thibeault conducted research on what activities supported individuals in finding hope, resiliency, and meaning despite their dire circumstances. She was able identify five different types of activities essential to fostering well-being in the face of challenging situations. It has since been suggested that all people should strive to incorporate these activities within their daily routine as a way to buffer against the stressors of everyday life. 

Below is a chart that describes the different activity subtypes, along with examples of activities for that category. It is recommended that someone try to engage in at least two of the five activity categories a day as a means to promote their hope, resiliency, and wellbeing. 

Activity Type Definition Examples
Centering Activities that foster presence, awareness, and calmness. They are often repetitive or rhythmic. They typically have a low cognitive demand and engage the body through the senses. Examples include meditation and mindfulness, breathing exercises, knitting/crocheting, beading, organizing, mental games or puzzles, chores (sweeping, washing dishes, laundry etc.), jogging/walking
Contemplation Activities that induce awe, wonder, and deep reflection. Often allows one to see new or different perspectives. Often involve feelings of curiosity, which lead to inquiry about oneself, the world, and one’s place within it. Examples include journaling, guided meditations, nature walks/hiking, socratic questioning, reading
Creation Activities that foster exploration, play, and creativity. Typically offer experiences for freedom, autonomy, and novelty. Driven by the individual and their inspiration. Examples include painting & drawing, crotchet & knitting, music, writing poetry & stories, cooking, role-play games
Connection Activities that foster connection to self, other, or life. Often involves interaction with people, animals, and nature. Examples include eating meals together, calling friends, coffee or tea times, group games, walking with others, social gatherings, spending time with pets
Contribution Activities that facilitate an experience of giving back and having a role within a group or community. Offers opportunities for individual’s strengths to contribute to a collective goal. Examples include helping others, chores, caring for animals, volunteering, work