ACT and Energy Conservation

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  What do I do when things go wrong?

A:  Pause and stay calm!

pause and stay calm

When things go wrong our natural reaction is to react, usually not very positively!  All sorts of uncomfortable thoughts and emotions surge through us.  Of course they do, we are human!

In ACT though, we are learning that after the initial reaction we do have a choice.  We can take a deep breath, pause and make a choice.  We can choose to respond in a more considered way.  We can choose how we are going to use our energy, our precious energy.  We can choose what happens here.

When we discover the power of the pause things can change.

I wrote “ENERGY CONSERVATION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at energy conservation?
  • Do you practice the power of the pause?
  • 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

We-have-learned-that-in

POEM FOR TODAY

 

LostLake-2015

ENERGY CONSERVATION

It’s in the being willing that some peace at last we find,

When we set aside the struggle and observe what comes to mind

In a spirit of acceptance, without judgement, without fear,

We’re not swept away by impulse, we can choose what happens here.

There’s a pause that we have practiced long enough to make it stick,

We’ve conserved our precious energy and now we get to pick

Where we’re going to deploy it, maybe here or maybe there,

For when we’re not caught in struggle we have energy to spare.

And though it may still be tempting to fall into those old traps,

Every time that we resist them, every time we don’t relapse

Becomes another little victory which gradually will build

Into a set of better habits, where we’ve now become more skilled

At selecting other options, not for us a spat today,

There’s a sunset with our name on, there’s a joy won’t brook delay,

And we have learned that in our willingness we’ve strength on which to call,

Because our struggles are redundant if we just accept it all.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “ENERGY CONSERVATION” 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 many applications!  When I was thinking about it in relation to energy conservation I surfed around and I came across a really interesting article at the ACBS Website.

It is entitled “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Insomnia” by Dr Guy Meadows, a sleep physiologist.

For those of us who suffer from insomnia, and thankfully these days thanks to ACT I have more restful than sleepless nights, it is definitely worth checking out.

Essentially Dr Meadows suggests that,

“It could be more effective to teach patients to adopt a more accepting attitude towards what spontaneously arises when experiencing difficulty sleeping.  The greater willingness to experience poor sleep results in fewer struggles, less arousal and paradoxically greater levels of sleepiness.”

Sleepless nights are horrible.  Anything that helps to alleviate them has to be worth a look!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will not fight

 

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

ACT and Decision Making

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I still feel so confused.  Nothing is clearer.  What now?

A:  Turn to your values

"It's not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are." Roy E. Disney #freeprintable:

Because confusion does not always behave nicely and suddenly clear and present us with the right answers, I wrote a follow up post!

What to do if the mists don’t suddenly lift?  What if, despite all our analysing and ruminating, we are still no further forward?  What do we do if we don’t know what to do?

Well ACT is very helpful here.  ACT suggests that when in doubt turn to our values.  Feelings change, we know that.  Thoughts come and go, we know that too.  But our values are steadfast, they do not change.  If we know what our values are then it will make our decision making much easier.  If we do not know what our values are, it might be time we spent some time finding out.

I wrote “STERNER STUFF” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you spent time clarifying your values?
  • Have you used them as a touchstone in your decision making?
  • 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

Its-not-our-job-to-know

POEM FOR TODAY

file000412949493

STERNER STUFF

If we return to values then no matter we’re confused,

For we’ve a touchstone to rely on even though we are bemused,

It’s not our job to know all outcomes, nor to work all problems out,

But just as long as we have values we’ll know what our life’s about.

It can be tricky to negotiate a crisis that appears

Or to find ways to best accommodate our doubts and all our fears,

And it is hard to remain constant when a little voice within

Whispers treacherous misgivings and we’re tempted to give in.

But just as long as we have values we need not be too concerned,

For though our feelings come and go our values won’t be overturned,

For in the midst of our confusions, they are plenty strong enough

To overcome our flimsy feelings, for they’re made of sterner stuff.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “STERNER STUFF” 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 …..

In ACT terms values are very important.  Much ACT therapeutic work rests on using values to move a client forward.  If there are conflicting values, then a positive value can be used to counteract a more negative one.

This would help me!!!  I want to lose weight.  But do I want to lose it enough to give up all those lovely goodies???

Recently I have been reading “The Diet Trap” which uses ACT strategies to approach the issue of weight loss.  I haven’t done very well so far, but I do understand that it is going to involve me establishing what matters most in terms of my values.

Product Details

Watch this space!  I will report back!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will

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

ACT and Confusion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I feel so confused.  What should I do?

A:  Accept it.

Oh how we love certainty.  How we love to feel sure of ourselves, sure of the world, sure of those around us, sure of outcomes.

Our minds love certainty too.  In fact our minds love certainty so much that even when alternative evidence is staring us in the face, our minds will go to extraordinary lengths to disprove it.  Minds are like that.  To a large extent we see only what we want to see, preferably things that support our prevailing view.

When something doesn’t fit in with our view our natural tendency is to oppose it, challenge it, fight against it.  When we feel confused the same thing goes.  Confusion is uncomfortable.  Naturally we want to get rid of it and get back to the lovely comfort blanket of certainty.

ACT takes a rather different view.  Uncertainty, confusion, doubt, these are uncomfortable feelings.  Our natural reaction is to struggle against them, to try to get rid of them, to try to change them, to try to think them away.  But ACT says, “Stop!  Cease the struggle.  Accept what you are feeling just as it is.  It’s here anyway so just accept it.  Let it be and let it go.  Choose a meaningful action and get on with living.”

I wrote “CONFUSION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with uncertainty and doubt?
  • What strategies do you use to lead a meaningful life in the midst of confusion?
  • 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

At-such-times-of

POEM FOR TODAY

file6271279942259

CONFUSION

Sometimes we may well wonder, “Have we really got this right?

Are we fixed on a fool’s errand with no clear outcomes in sight?

And are we going round in circles whilst the others forge ahead?

Are we wasting precious time, should we do something else instead?”

At such times of indecision when uncertainty abounds

It is best to just accept what now confuses and confounds,

And not be huddled all defensive, nor else poised for an attack,

Let’s just be with what we’re feeling without trying to send it back.

And then it’s likely it will move through as our feelings always do,

Just a temporary sensation, truth to tell it’s nothing new,

And in the aftermath we’ll know if this confusion was a sign

Saying, “Stick with where you’re headed,” or, “It’s time to re-align.”

And so next time we’re in confusion and uncertainties begin

Let’s not get into a panic, let us simply let them in

And then observe them from a distance, and just let them have their say,

And if things still need clarifying, let our values lead the way.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “CONFUSION” 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 …..

Learning to stay with and accept our thoughts and feelings just as they are, without trying to change them, is one of the things that we learn in ACT.

In this way ACT, although a type of CBT, is rather different.  ACT does not focus on changing the content of thought but rather is about using mindfulness to let go of the struggle associated with thought, then using our values to guide the creation of a rich, purposeful life.

This is good news!  We do not have to engage with our confusion.  We can let it be, look to our values and choose a meaningful action that will enrich our life, right here, right now.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will accept confusion

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

ACT and Compassion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I be more positive towards ???

A:  Show a bit of compassion

ACT is about many things but at its heart it is always about personal growth.

All the things we learn in ACT, Mindfulness, Values Work, Defusion Techniques, Acceptance, Committed Action, Self as Context, they are all helping us to develop the psychological flexibility which will help us lead more meaningful lives, even in the face of life’s challenges.

Learning to show compassion, to ourselves and to others, is one of the most effective tools that we have in our kit-box.  Compassion is soft and strong at the same time.  It is very powerful.  If we are fearful, defensive, anxious, then a bit of compassion can work wonders.

I wrote “A BIT OF COMPASSION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at showing compassion?
  • Have you discovered the benefits of compassion?
  • 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

If-were-in-the-business

POEM FOR TODAY

 

IMG_4105

A BIT OF COMPASSION

A bit of compassion would not come amiss,

‘Stead of acting defensive we could first try this,

We could set aside prejudice, kindness impart,

And find out what it feels like to open our heart.

If we’re used to reacting in a certain way,

Maybe Mind senses trouble and says, “Stay away!”

Then it’s likely we’ve laid down a habit or two

Which precludes being kind as a something we do.

And that means we don’t know how we’d feel if we said,

“Thank you Mind, but today I’ll try kindness instead,

For I’ve seen how on others this kindness bestows

A great aura of warmth which then glows as it grows.”

And we’ve all seen the saints passing goodness around,

Maybe thought that such saints are too thin on the ground,

Not believed that we’re part of that army of good,

But we all have a chance to do good and we should.

Not for reasons of duty, that’s hard and it’s cold,

But to share in the secret a smile can unfold,

For if we’re in the business of personal growth

Then a bit of compassion is good for us both.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “A BIT OF COMPASSION” 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 …..

If you are interested in learning more about ACT and Compassion this book looks like a great read.

The book description certainly whets the appetite.

About the Book

“Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is proven effective in the treatment of an array of disorders, including addiction, depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, and more. Evidence shows that mindfulness and acceptance exercises help clients connect with the moment, uncover their true values, and commit to positive change. But did you know that compassion focused exercises can also greatly increase clients’ psychological flexibility?

More and more, therapists are finding that the act of compassion-both towards oneself and towards others-can lead to greater emotional and physical well-being, increased distress tolerance, and a broader range of effective responses to stressful situations. One of the best advantages of compassion focused methods is how easily they can be integrated into an ACT approach.”

This is the first book on the market to provide an in-depth discussion of compassion in the context of ACT and other behavioural sciences.  If you, like me, believe in the benefits of compassion, it is great to see it being incorporated into ACT.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going to show

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

ACT and Thought Processes

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop fretting about the future?

A:  Stay in the present moment and defuse.

When change is in the offing mind does what it is programmed to do.  It starts planning, analysing and organising if we are lucky.  If we are not so lucky it will start worrying and fretting.  If we are really unlucky it will start conjuring up all sorts of horror stories to frighten us half to death!

It is no good getting all upset and trying to stop it in its tracks.  Once mind is on a mission, mind is on a mission!

What we can do though is to take a step back and watch it at its work.  If we have been practicing mindfulness we should be getting quite good at this by now.  If we have been using our defusion techniques regularly then we should be getting quite adept at taking the sting out of our imagination’s worst excesses.

This is what we are learning with ACT.  It is not so much about challenging our thoughts as developing a different relationship with them.  We can learn to observe our mind at work without becoming entangled in the thoughts that it produces.  Amazing really!

I wrote “SOMETHING LOVELY AND DIVINE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you learning to observe your thought processes?
  • Can you stand back without getting embroiled in your thoughts?
  • 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

With-one-foot-in-the future

POEM FOR TODAY

IMG_4105

SOMETHING LOVELY AND DIVINE

A change is in the offing and already mind’s at work

Fabricating its projections, here’s a downside, here’s a perk,

And with one foot in the future we’re already miles away

From the beauty that’s on offer if we just stayed in today.

Oh our mind’s already plotting how to minimise the pain,

How to organise the what’s to come and maximise the gain

Without a nod to what’s occurring in the lovely here and now,

There’s a sunset all resplendent and we’re missing it somehow.

And here’s a chance to lend a listening ear, a comfort to bestow,

But we are only here half-hearted for our mind’s running the show,

Stealing moments from the present for a maybe never-land

But can awareness weave its magic, and help us to understand

That our life’s made up of moments, how we spend them that’s the thing,

Can we learn to love the present, and accept what it will bring

With its myriad little nuances, can we say, “It’s all fine,

Because I’ll find within its precincts something lovely and divine.”

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “SOMETHING LOVELY AND DIVINE” 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 …..

If you are interested in finding out more about ACT and CBT, what they share and how they differ, there is a very good article at the ACBS website entitled:

“Comparing ACT and CBT”

What really interests me is how they differ in relation to thoughts, particularly difficult thoughts, and how to deal with them.

According to the article,

“ACT has moved away from the traditional CBT emphasis on changing or correcting one’s thoughts in order to alleviate suffering.  Instead, ACT aims to alter the functions of our private experiences (thoughts, feelings, memories, bodily reactions), so they no longer entangle us. Said another way, ACT aims to change our relationship with these private events so we can become free from their grip, and free from the patterns that bind us and prevent us from living a flexible, meaningful, and enjoyable life.  In the service of these aims, ACT incorporates acceptance strategies, mindfulness techniques, and a wide range of behavioural approaches already known to be effective from CBT.

I came from CBT to ACT.  For me it was a natural and welcome progression.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going monkey

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

ACT and Flow

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  Where can I find flow?

A:  In the present moment

A lot is written about “Flow“, but what exactly is it?  Well in this instance I am not talking about flow in the usual sense of “going with the flow”, although “going with the flow” could be said to be one of the principal tenets of ACT.

In this instance I am talking about another aspect of flow.  In Positive Psychology flow, also known as the zone, is

“The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.  In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.  Achieving flow is often colloquially referred to as being in the zone.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

One of the great things about flow is that it gives us an opportunity to experience that aspect of ourselves in which everything is in harmony.  In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channelled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.

For those of us who have problems with emotions what a wonderful thing to be able to do.  To find and then lose ourselves in an activity in which everything, including our emotions, are in harmony.

Where can we find this experience?  Where can we find this flow?  Only in the present moment.

I wrote “FLOW” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you found activities that trigger the feeling of flow?
  • What sort of things do you lose yourself in?
  • 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

Oh-yes-a-heart-thats

POEM FOR TODAY

file8611313476846

FLOW

If a heart is full of fervour and a glint is in the eye,

And the words are spilling out without us even having to try,

Then that’s a sign for those amongst us who’re already in the know

That the fire in the belly is a sign we’re in the flow.

It’s a gift beyond all measure, it surpasses any things,

If you’ve been there in the flow you know exactly what flow brings,

It is the time that’s become timeless, it’s the being quite at ease,

It is the feeling that you get just like a bird upon the breeze.

Oh yes, a heart that’s full of fervour is a lovely thing indeed,

It lends a lustre to the spirit and sends spirit to the deed

And of a sudden we’re in action, and it’s easy come and go,

For that’s the prize that is on offer when we’re caught up in the flow.

And so let’s find a bit of fire, let us winkle fervour out,

And let’s allow ourselves to know what flow is really all about,

And let’s not make ourselves a stranger to the fire that lies within

For it waits only for a spark so that our own flow can begin.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “FLOW” 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 …..

If you want to find out more about Flow, then Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book is the classic.

It is a great read.

From an ACT perspective the idea of Flow also sits easily.  ACT puts much emphasis on the power of the present moment, the only moment where we can live our life, the only moment where we can experience the feeling of flow.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going flow

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

ACT and Downtime

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I’m not sure if where I’m headed is where I want to go.  What now?

A:  Take some downtime

Life is hectic.  We live in a world that is continually demanding more and more of us.  We are so connected that sometimes it feels as if it is virtually impossible to switch off.  In the midst of all this clamour, all this noise, it is easy to get lost.  Sometimes it feels as if we have become strangers to ourselves.  What to do?

ACT suggests that periods of quiet, times when we settle still and become more mindful of what is going on both inside and outside is helpful to us.  When we are on automatic pilot we are not really present to what is going on in our lives.

Sometimes we may prefer that!  Sometimes we deliberately keep ourselves busy to distract ourselves from the reality of our experience.  But we can only do that for so long.  Taking downtime helps us to make sense of what is going on, helps us to make better choices.  It doesn’t have to be an extended period of time.  Even a few moments of being mindful practiced regularly will improve our relationship with ourselves.

I wrote “DOWNTIME” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at taking downtime?
  • Do you remember to be mindful regularly?
  • 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

A-bit-of-downtime-coming

POEM FOR TODAY

DSC04652

DOWNTIME

A bit of downtime coming, and a chance to stand apart

From the normal life we’re living, and to listen to our heart

Which may clamour for attention in a world that takes its toll,

Yes a little bit of downtime can do wonders for the soul.

It is hard to glimpse horizons when we’re struggling at sea,

Or perceive the bigger picture when we’re living thoughtlessly,

When one thing leads to another, just like cogs in a machine,

And we don’t know where we’re going and we’re not sure where we’ve been.

Oh yes it’s good to take some downtime, to make time ourselves to know,

To decide if where we’re going is still where we want to go,

And in the midst of our uncertainty be brave enough to say,

“If the way I live’s not working, then I’ll find another way.”

And so if we are due some downtime, and we’ll know if it is due

If our heartstrings have been pulling, for they’re giving us a clue

That we may have lost direction, wandered up a cul-de-sac,

And now this little bit of downtime has a chance to draw us back.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “DOWNTIME” 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 …..

I read yesterday that almost £1 billion is being set aside by the British Government in a bid to transform mental health services across the UK.

With one in four people expected to develop a mental health problem this year alone – such as depression and anxiety – and suicide now the leading cause of death for men under 50, the Prime Minister will say it is time to stop sweeping the issue under the carpet.

This is good news!  For the first time, there will be waiting time targets for teenagers with eating disorders.  There will also be a new waiting time target for people experiencing psychosis.  £290 million is pledged towards more beds in mother and baby units, and extra classes for new mothers before and after their baby is born will give 30,000 more women each year until 2020 access to specialist mental healthcare.

There is a recognition that the health of the nation means both physical and mental health and, with a cost of billions to the economy in terms of lost working days and pressures on a creaking NHS, mental health is now emerging as a priority.

Money will be ring-fenced for the Talking Therapies and those of us who have benefitted from ACT and Mindfulness have a responsibility to share the message.

Mindfulness is becoming mainstream.  ACT is one of the therapies of choice.  Let us not be shy to pass the message on.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-some peace

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