ACT and ANXIETY

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  What can I do with my anxiety?

A:  Make friends with it

einstein

Anxiety gets a very bad press.  That’s not surprising is it?  Anxiety is uncomfortable, unpleasant and usually unwelcome.  No wonder our first reaction, our natural reaction is to try to get rid of it.

In fact, talking of bad press, I was reading an article just yesterday entitled “Why worries put you at a greater risk of dementia”.  A recent study has shown that anxious people are one and a half times more likely to develop dementia, whilst those who suffer high anxiety at some point in their lives are 48 per cent more likely to suffer cognitive decline.

This is definitely not good news!!

The article goes on to state that,

“Anxious people tend to have more stress hormones, including cortisol – very high levels of it can damage brain areas such as the hippocampus which stores memory.”

The study appears in Alzheimer’s & Dementia:  The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

For people who suffer from anxiety attacks this does not make pleasant reading.  What to do?

Well for a start off we would do well to heed Einstein’s advice.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

  • Worrying about our anxiety will not help
  • Trying to think our way out of our anxiety will not help
  • Distraction and thought replacement will not help long term

So what to do?

Well ACT suggests something radically different.

  • Stop fighting our anxiety and start accepting it
  • Stop trying to hide from our anxiety and start exploring it
  • Stop trying to get rid of our anxiety and start letting it just be there
  • Stop letting our anxiety stop us doing things and start doing them anyway

Most of us who live with anxiety know how debilitating it can be.  Most of us who live with anxiety have spent a lot of time and effort trying to get rid of it, usually unsuccessfully.

I wrote “THE WARNING BELL” to remind me that there is another way.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with anxiety attacks?
  • What do you do when anxiety comes calling?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

DSC_0097.jpg

THE WARNING BELL

There’s a sinking in the stomach, there’s a dryness in the throat,

Everything was going swimmingly ‘til someone rocked the boat

And upset our equilibrium, and left us feeling low,

And we didn’t see it coming, this unwelcome hammer blow.

Now it leaves us with a feeling we don’t want and didn’t choose

And we go to great extremes to try to now this feeling lose,

To dislodge it, or deny it, to just make it go away,

But we’re doubling the trouble if we’re acting in this way.

For we could become more skilful, choose another strategy,

Make a space, create some distance and accept it willingly,

For this feeling that we’re feeling is now ours to observe

So for starters we could work out why it’s hitting such a nerve.

And it’s likely that our body is just sending us a sign

There is something it’s detected, that it’s wanting to headline,

Maybe threats on the horizon or a thing closer to home,

This is body-mind combining in, “I’m warning you” syndrome.

And so let’s thank our body nicely for it’s doing its job well

And take notice if we need to as it rings its warning bell,

And then just go about our business, do whatever’s next to do,

And leave our feelings to decide when it is time to move on through.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

 If you enjoyed, “THE WARNING BELL” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

ACT has a radically different approach to dealing with uncomfortable emotions, such as anxiety.

It may seem counter-intuitive to accept something we don’t like, but ACT is only reiterating what Einstein said all those years previously.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

If we want to deal more effectively with our anxiety then we have to become more skilful.  ACT offers us another way.

Check out the Treasure Trove of ACT Resources Page for some of my suggestions.  I don’t recommend anything I haven’t already read and I am confident that you will find all of these resources useful.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

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Published by

Corinne Shields

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, erstwhile teacher for thirty plus years, and permanent student. I have long been interested in psychology and spirituality and enjoy writing inspirational poetry. Hence the publication of this blog at ACT Made Lyrical.com. I play golf badly, piano a little better and I love reading, writing, and all things French. I divide my time between Wales and France and enjoy travelling with my husband, Len and my dog Charlie.

6 thoughts on “ACT and ANXIETY”

  1. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I think I get what you’re saying. Instead of fighting anxiety and letting it control and upset us, we should accept it and learn to work through it. However, on the other hand, I feel that “accepting” it is almost like telling anxiety that it’s okay to take over our lives, which it’s not. Also, in your poem you mentioned that our anxiety is usually “a warning bell” that something bad is coming. I think that with irrational fears though, believing that something bad is going to happen leads us to worry more and possibly leads the bad thing TO happen.

    Maybe I’m understanding what you’ve said wrong though. I’d greatly appreciate it if you could please explain what you mean so I can understand. Thanks.

    Like

    1. Thanks for making such a thoughtful comment. I’ll try to answer as I see it. I think we agree about the acceptance part. You don’t have to like something to accept it, but if it is already here then accepting it instead of fruitlessly struggling to make it go is more skilful. In other words we are not wasting our energy trying to change the what is and we have more energy to spare to do something more worthwhile and meaningful. Viewing anxiety as something bad, the enemy, is not very useful either. In ACT terms “workability” is what is important rather than what is right or wrong. If something works for us, that’s fine, if it doesn’t then we may have to let it go. So angsting over anxiety is not working. It just makes things worse. Acceptance of it is cleaner than making contaminating it with struggle.

      The warning bell is another aspect. If we are anxious that is the body going into an instinctive fight, flight reaction. It perceives a threat and does what it is supposed to do, react. That is the body doing its job well and it deserves our applause. However, if as you suggest we are over sensitised on constant red alert then an awareness of this can help us to see that our perceptions are skewed. The body isn’t at fault, the perception maybe is. That awareness can help us to make changes and ACT can help us to do that too. I have found ACT has helped me to deal with my anxiety more skill fully. If you are interested in learning more have a look at the ACT resource page. Thanks so much for your comment. It made me clarify my own thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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