It has been shown in many different studies that when people plan and structure their time with meaningful activity, depression lifts and mood improves. In CBT, the first part of treatment is helping clients to engage in activity that gives a sense of accomplishment (e.g., things you need to do) and activity that gives a sense of pleasure (e.g., things you want to do).
People often think that when they feel better, they will be motivated, and then they will do something. This theory is incorrect. Psychology research has shown that when people do something, motivation comes after doing the activity, and then mood improves.
In CBT, the therapist works with the client collaboratively to help them find meaningful activity and to structure their time. Through these interventions, clients begin to feel less isolated, more engaged in life, and more hopeful for the future.