ACT and Flexing our Wings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I’d like to try something new but what if it all goes wrong?  What if I fall?

A:  Oh, but my darling what if you fly?

A shaky self confidence or fear of failure stops many of us from pursuing our passions.  We want guarantees before we try something new, but there are no guarantees.  If we are not prepared to live with our natural anxieties then we are denying ourselves the possibilities that could be ours if we dared to take a chance.

In ACT we are reminded that whilst we may feel safer by choosing not to take a step into the unknown there is a cost attached.  This cost is what ACT calls experiential avoidance.  Experiential avoidance is the natural human tendency we all have to avoid unpleasantness and discomfort.  In the external world that makes sense but in the internal world of thoughts and feelings it can lead to problems.  The more we try to avoid the natural feelings of anxiety and fear that accompany trying something new the smaller our world becomes.  The antidote to experiential avoidance is psychological flexibility and that is what ACT helps us to develop.

There is a great video entitled “Headstuck! What is Experiential Avoidance?” which explains it really clearly.   Do take a look.  I think you will enjoy it.  It certainly made me think again about the pitfalls of experiential avoidance.  Yes, it may seem to work in the short-term but in the long-term it leads to problems.

I wrote “FLEXING OUR WINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you experienced the pitfalls of experiential avoidance?
  • How do you cope with the negative feelings that go with trying something new?
  • 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

And-though-the-brink-may

POEM FOR TODAY

IMGP3782

FLEXING OUR WINGS

When we feel most uncomfortable is when we’d like to stay

Safe within the old parameters we’ve set up for today,

They’re the ones we’ve tried and tested, they’re the ones we know so well,

And it’s scary stepping out of them, and hence the warning bell

That reminds us of the dangers that lurk in the great unknown,

That encourages our reticence as seeds of doubt are sown,

And demand of us a certainty we can’t attain and so

It is easier to disengage and let the challenge go.

And how often have we done it, stepped up almost to the brink,

Been prepared almost to test our wings, only away to slink

As the warning bell rings louder, sings the siren song of shame

As we imagine ourselves failing, and so withdraw from the game.

But it only is a game you know, a game with much to teach,

All those lovely possibilities that could be in our reach

If we dared to take a chance, if we became prepared to try

And say, “I know there is a chance I’ll fall, but there’s a chance I’ll fly.”

And so next time discomfort visits us let’s try to braver be

And let’s not scurry back to safety, let’s abide uncertainty,

And though the brink may rise up scary let’s accept those scary things,

So we can find out what it feels like when we dare to flex our wings.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “FLEXING OUR WINGS” 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 haven’t already clicked on the video:

“Headstuck! What is Experiential Avoidance?”

then do yourself a favour and do it now!  It can be difficult getting your head around some of the concepts in ACT but “experiential avoidance” and its antidote “psychological flexibility” are so central that it is well worth getting a clear understanding of them.  This video certainly helped me.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-whateer

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 Values Revisited

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  Something unexpected just happened.  I don’t know what to do next.  What now?

A:  Check in with your values.

Life is all about change.  Nothing stays the same.  When we are in a comfortable stage when everything is going well we want to hang on to it.  When we are in an uncomfortable stage we want to get rid of it, preferably as soon as possible.

Sometimes we may feel tossed about by life, at the mercy of external events which shake our foundations.  The temptation then is to resist, to fight back, to struggle.  We may want to deny the new what is but that will get us nowhere fast.

ACT reminds us that no matter what happens to us in our life, no matter what externals come to disturb us and upset us we always have something to see us through.  When we know what our values are and are true to them then no matter what life throws at us we have an anchor to cling to.  When everything else is changing our values stay the same.  They will carry us through.

I wrote “RIPPLES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you discovered the power of your values?
  • How have you used values to carry you through?
  • 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-we-reach-out-for-our

POEM FOR TODAY

DSC_1159

RIPPLES

A sudden something happens, a seeming out the blue,

And it delivers something different and the world that we once knew

Is now reeling for an instant, we’re in unknown territory,

And we must give things chance to settle as they will eventually.

When a stone is tossed all careless then an impulse is begun,

It will gather a momentum, we must let the ripples run

And be prepared to wait all patient as the shock waves gather pace,

Until they dwindle in the distance and then vanish without trace.

Oh it takes a bit of doing, standing back, creating room,

Watching on from a safe distance as the chain reactions loom

And being ready for resistance, and resisting it as well,

And not becoming overwhelmed as all the ripples surge and swell.

Oh yes it takes a bit of doing, but if we our lessons learn

We can stand firm within the current waiting for the tide to turn,

And if we reach out for our values, they sure footing will provide,

So though the ripples swirl around us we can take them in our stride.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “RIPPLES” 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 need some help in clarifying your values and differentiating between values and goals then Russ Harris’ video is well worth a look.  I have recommended it before but it is so entertaining and clear that I couldn’t resist recommending it again.  So if you are looking for clarification look no further.  Check out the video.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will stand firm

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 Imagination

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  What can I do when I get lost in my imaginings?

A:  Shake yourself awake!

Imagination!  Both a blessing and a curse.  It seems we cannot have one without the other.  Imagination‘s wonderful when we are using it to conjure up lovely memories, make exciting plans, get lost amongst our daydreams.  On the other hand imagination can keep us awake at night, create anxiety and worry and frighten us to death.

ACT helps us to recognise when imagination is getting out of hand.  It helps us to call a halt and differentiate between fact and fiction.  ACT helps us to develop awareness.  ACT helps us to “shake ourselves awake.”  ACT helps us to make more helpful choices.

I wrote “SHAKING OURSELVES AWAKE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you recognise when you are getting carried away by imagination?
  • How do you “shake yourself awake”?
  • 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

When-our-mind-begins-to

POEM FOR TODAY

Great Spangled Frittilary

SHAKING OURSELVES AWAKE

We cannot know what’s coming, nor else know how we would cope,

We may think we’re up for struggle and then find we drop the rope,

Or we might conjure up a nightmare which then simply fades away,

So let’s not live out our tomorrows ‘til tomorrow’s our today.

Oh imagination’s wonderful, so vivid and so real,

We can get lost amongst our day-dreams, as we think so shall we feel,

And though no part of it has substance, it’s just fancy flitting free,

It can be difficult to see our dreams are not reality.

And so we need to build awareness, this is dreaming, this is not,

And if we’re slipping into fantasy that fantasy to spot,

So when our mind begins to spiral and our peace of mind’s at stake

We can then call on our awareness, we can shake ourselves awake.

And when we’re back to where we started ‘ere the spiralling began,

Within the precious, present moment, we find there within its span

That we are free to choose an action, find a something good to do,

Which sees imaginings diminish as we let them move on through.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “SHAKING OURSELVES AWAKE” 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 …..

One of the things that ACT highlights is the thinking process and our relationship to it.  Learning to distance ourselves from our thoughts, to see ourselves as separate from our wonderful imaginations helps us to create distance and gain objectivity.  This makes us less susceptible, less vulnerable and reduces the potency of unhelpful thoughts.

There is an interesting article at getselfhelp.co.uk which reminds us about a very useful key skill to help us to defuse.

STOPP

Stop

Just pause for a moment

Take a Breath

Notice your breathing as you breathe in and out

Observe

  • what thoughts are going through your mind right now?
  • what is your focus of attention?
  • what are you reacting to?
  • what sensations do you notice in your body?

Pull Back – Put in some perspective

  • what’s the  bigger picture?

Practice what works – Proceed

  • what is the best thing to do right now?

For a more detailed explanation read the article.  I enjoyed it!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Ill-be aware

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 Little Whispers

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  There’s a little voice inside that’s driving me mad.  What should I do?

A:  Listen!

The pulling of the heartstrings, the stirring of the soul, call it what you will.   We could call it a reminder of our deepest values, but for today I am calling it “The Little Whispers.”  We know what it is.  It is the little voice within.  It has often been with us for a long time.  Sometimes we wish it would just go away and let us be.  Why?  Because it makes us feel uncomfortable.  It demands something of us, something difficult, something challenging.  It challenges us to step out of our comfort zone and take action.  Sometimes we don’t feel like doing that.

But ACT reminds us that our life is not just about our feelings.  Our life is about much more than that, we are about much more than that.  We can acknowledge our feelings but we do not have to let them run the show.  There is always something we can do to make our life more meaningful, irrespective of how we feel.  The voice within is a link to our deepest values.  When we take action based on our deepest values our life becomes richer.

I wrote “LITTLE WHISPERS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you listen to your little whispers?
  • Do you act on what they tell you?
  • 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-we-are-really-honest

POEM FOR TODAY

DSC04652

LITTLE WHISPERS

New directions beckon us but we may look away,

Little whispers try to talk to us but we are deaf today,

And we’re heading down a one-way street not leading anywhere

Until we look around and wonder, “How on earth did we get there?”

It’s a common enough dilemma for the where we are can be

Not at all where we expected we would end up finally,

And if we are really honest looking back it is quite clear

We’ve allowed ourselves to drift along until we washed up here.

And it maybe we’ve been fortunate and where we are’s not bad

It’s just sometimes little whispers leave us feeing kind of sad,

Just a hint of something missing with whatever that might mean,

Or we catch a glimpse of somewhere else, someone we might have been.

And it can get quite uncomfortable the more we try to stave

Off the whispers with distractions, for the more they misbehave

For they are vying for attention and the more we go off track

The louder get the whispers as they try to pull us back.

And so if we are in discomfort, something not quite right inside,

And we’re trying to quiet those whispers, put them swiftly on one side,

We might do better to simply listen, let their messages come through

Before deciding what it really is we really want to do.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “LITTLE WHISPERS” 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 …..

At actmindfully.com we are reminded that:

“The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life.  ACT does this by:

a)  teaching psychological skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively …

b)  helping to clarify what is truly important and meaningful – ie values- then using that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate to change life for the better …””

It can be difficult to discover our deepest values.  Listening to the little voice within, “The Little Whispers”, can give us an important clue.  The more we develop our Mindfulness skills the more accessible our values become.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will attend

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 Letting Go

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  Nothing seems to be working.  I’m stuck.  Now what?

A:  Let Go!

surrender

Learning to let go is a central premise of ACTLetting go of trying to control our uncomfortable feelings, our difficult thoughts.   Letting go of our stories, our preconceived notions, our judgements.  Letting go sounds like it should be a huge relief, but so often we still struggle.  Paradoxically it can be more difficult to let go than to hang on.

Learning to lay down the rope, to lie still in the sinking sand, to choose to leave the battle field while the war rages around us.  These are metaphors that ACT uses to show us that there is another way.  When we are constantly trying to force solutions we do not give things a chance to work through naturally.  When we are tempted to interfere prematurely we cannot know how things would have developed otherwise.

Taking no action is still an action.  Sometimes taking no action is the wisest course.

I wrote “A NATURAL UNFOLDING” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • What do you think about letting go?
  • Is inaction a positive action in your life?
  • 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

When-we-see-the-bigger

POEM FOR TODAY

file000668753617

A NATURAL UNFOLDING

We tell ourselves such stories, all the must dos and the shoulds,

All the times we fail to nurture all those tender little buds,

The new project just emerging or the daydreams bearing fruits,

We’re so bound up in our stories that we choke them at their roots.

We may fail to give them growth time, it’s results we want and now,

So we forget that hibernation incubates the seeds somehow

Until they’re ready for the blooming, it’s a natural process and

If we understand when to let go then God can take a hand.

And then we won’t be driven by stories that just masquerade as real,

We will know they’re only words made up and words we can repeal,

And when we see the bigger picture and we learn to leave some space

Then things begin to start unfolding at a far more natural pace.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “A NATURAL UNFOLDING” 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 …..

For the control freaks amongst us it can come as a bit of a shock to realise that in ACT terms:

“Control is the problem, not the solution.”

There is an interesting article, A Non Technical Overview of ACT, written by Russ Harris at thehappinesstrap.com entitled:

“Embracing your Demons:  an Overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.”

It explains the fundamentals of ACT in layman’s terms and is well worth a read.

I particularly liked the part about Control.  If you want to read more about the “quicksand” and “struggle switch” metaphors and the concepts of “clean discomfort” and “dirty discomfort” this is the place to go.

It was a timely reminder for me.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will 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