ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE
Q: How can I get over my fear?
A: Become a hero!
When we are facing difficult or unfamiliar situations it is natural to feel anxious, nervous, even afraid. We are pre-programmed that way and it is what has kept us safe over the ages, it is how our species has survived to tell the tale.
It follows, therefore, that when we have these uncomfortable feelings, rather than trying to avoid them or deny them we would do better to acknowledge them, thank them even for trying to keep us safe, and then carry them with us as we take positive action.
ACT talks a lot about “experiential avoidance” and cites it as being a number one culprit for much that we feel goes wrong in our lives. When we have uncomfortable feelings it is easier, much easier to use them as an excuse to avoid doing what we don’t feel like doing anyway. Although that may make us feel better in the short term, ACT reminds us that in the longer term we are missing out two-fold. Firstly, we don’t develop skills that would help us to tolerate and learn from internal unpleasant events, and secondly we miss out on all the good stuff we could do and the confidence we could build by doing it.
No one denies that uncomfortable feelings are unpleasant, but when we understand where they come from and why they are there we can maybe use them in a more productive way. Using them doesn’t mean we’re losing them, but it does mean that we are not letting them stop us doing things that in the long term could make our lives richer and more meaningful.
If we can do this then bit by bit we will become more like the hero that we would like to be.
I wrote “BECOMING A HERO” to remind me of that.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
- How do you cope with uncomfortable feelings?
- What strategies do you use to help you to act even when you don’t want to?
- 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
BECOMING A HERO
Have we got the guts to do it, to step into the unknown?
Find the courage, if it’s needed, to move forward there alone
And be tolerant of strangeness as the customary declines,
Become a stranger in a country where we cannot read the signs.
There’s a multitude of reasons why we wash up in this place,
Some may be of our own choosing, but sometimes we’ll have to face
Situations most unwelcome we would rather far not meet,
But can we still return to where we were or is there no retreat?
And if retreating’s not an option what are we supposed to do,
Find a hidey hole to cower in and hope that help comes through,
Or can we be a little bolder, accept fear is here to stay
And if we’re going forward hand in hand it won’t get in our way.
And then despite our own misgivings we will get to make a choice,
Be like pioneers of yesteryear with reason to rejoice,
Because although the path was arduous and we were oft afraid
We learned that heroes aren’t born fearless, it is out of fear they’re made.
And so let’s treat our fear more gently, let’s not look on it with scorn,
But remember that a hero’s shaped, a hero’s not just born,
And then when fear is coursing through us we can choose how we react,
And if we want to be a hero, then despite our fear we’ll act.
© Corinne Shields, 2016
If you enjoyed, “BECOMING A HERO” 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 …..
“Experiential avoidance” is such a key concept in ACT, that it is well worth trying to get our heads around it, even though it can be quite difficult to understand, at least I found it that way!
There are plenty of great resources on-line to help and one that I enjoyed was aptly named:
The article is to be found at thecareerpsychologist.com and shows how experiential avoidance spreads its tentacles in all sorts of places.
“Experiential avoidance is so common to everyone experiencing career paralysis and yet so unheard of that it needs some closer attention. Here’s the formal definition:
“Attempts to avoid thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations, and other internal experiences even when doing so creates harm in the long-run.” Hayes, Strosahl, Wilson, 1999
If you want to read more then head over to thecareerpsychologist.com.
It makes for good reading whatever stage of our lives we are at!
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