Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps you accept the difficulties that come with life. Wether it be personal trauma or sudden unexpected world wide emergency events unfolding around you.
Unwanted situations has happened before and they will happen again whether you like it or not… You can’t change them – but you can change your thoughts and feelings!
In times when crisis hits, you will be bombarded with self proclaimed experts that have all the answers and most of these sudden experts will be particularly fear mongering doomsday prophets. It will require a hard effort to avoid the noise around you.
But what good will it do to indulge in this excessive stress, fear and negativity that are already so widely spread? Will it help you or the situation? The easiest thing in the world is to be negative.
What about exercising your positivity muscle? The worst thing that can happen is that you end up feeling good during the hard times, no matter what the outcome!
Choosing your thoughts, what you feel and point of view with ACT
ACT is a form of mindfulness based therapy, theorizing that greater well-being can be attained by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings. Essentially, ACT looks at your character traits and behaviors to assist you in reducing avoidant coping styles.
ACT also addresses your commitment to making changes, and what to do about it when you can’t stick to your goals.
Accept what you can’t change, expect nothing from anything and anyone, free yourself from the burden of self-created obsessive worry.
ACT focuses on 3 areas:
Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
Whether it be a situation you cannot control, a personality trait that is hard to change or an emotion that overwhelms, accepting it can allow you to move forward. Obsessing, worrying and playing things over and over keep you stuck. In this sense, asking why can leave you helpless. ACT invites you to accept the reality and work with what you have.
Some acceptance strategies include:
1. Letting feelings or thoughts happen without the impulse to act on them.
2. Observe your weaknesses but take note of your strengths.
3. Give yourself permission to not be good at everything.
4. Acknowledge the difficulty in your life without escaping from it or avoiding it.
5. Realize that you can be in control of how you react, think and feel.
Another aspect of ACT is the skill-set of learning how to cognitively defuse psychologically heightened experiences. Defusion involves realizing thoughts and feelings for what they really are, like passing sensations or irrational things that we tell ourselves – instead of what we think they are like feelings that will never end or factual truths. The goal of defusion is not to help you avoid the experience, but to make it more manageable for you.
Some defusion strategies include:
1. Observe what you are feeling. What are the physical sensations?
2. Notice the way you are talking to yourself as these feelings are experienced.
3. What interpretations are you making about your experience? Are they based in reality?
4. Grab onto the strands of your negative self-talk and counter them with realistic ones.
5. Now re-evaluate your experience with your new-found outlook.
You can’t change the waves of the ocean nor the direction of the wind, float with it rather than resisting it.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is applicable in most situations and troubling events. The ACT experience of reworking your verbal connections to thoughts and feelings, known as comprehensive distancing, can be extremely helpful in the treatment of depression, anxiety and many other psychological disorders.
After rain comes sunshine!
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