ACT and Fear

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  How can I deal with my fearful feelings better?

A:  Explore them, breathe into them!

fear-quote

Fear is generally acknowledged to be an unpleasant emotion.  Dry throat, churning stomach, sweaty palms, pounding heart etc.  And yet, these are the same sensations that we experience when we are excited.  It’s just that fear gets a bad press whilst excitement, on the whole, doesn’t.

Excitement is usually associated with something positive, fear is not.  When we are afraid it is because we are putting our own negative interpretation on an event, a future event, because fear is usually future based.  When we are excited we are generally putting a positive spin on things.

ACT encourages us to become willing to accept our internal experiences, our thoughts and feelings, in a spirit of openness and curiosity.  Rather than struggling to get rid of feelings we don’t like ACT suggests that we get to know them, where these feelings locate in our body, their size, their texture.  When we adopt this approach we are less likely to be overwhelmed by them.

Given that the body’s reaction to fear and excitement is pretty much the same, this might help us to be less judgemental, become less frightened of our fear.

I wrote “FEAR” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you react to your fearful feelings?
  • Are you willing to become less hostile to them, maybe explore them a little?
  • 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

 

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FEAR

 

Oh, how we’d love to banish it, this fear that haunts us so,

Love to kick it from its hiding place, before it starts to grow,

Or to give it scant attention, should it dare to raise its head,

But it’s likely when it does so we’re consumed by it instead.

Oh, we wish that it were other, that we had the power to choose

Which sweet feelings we would cling to, and which ones we would refuse,

But our feelings are not like that, they won’t to our bidding bend,

They just spring up automatically, they’re neither foe nor friend.

And if we would learn to treat them in a different sort of way,

Become willing to receive whatever ‘tis we feel today

In a spirit of acceptance, “Here comes wonder, here comes fear,”

Then we won’t put up a struggle against what’s already here.

And then whatever we are feeling is allowed sufficient space

To achieve its true proportions, to take up its rightful place,

Not as some crass interloper who has no right to occur,

But as just another feeling, it’s just one we don’t prefer.

But it’s one we’ll welcome anyway, it’s here now after all,

And so, it’s only common courtesy when feelings come to call

To acknowledge them politely, maybe call them by their name,

“Hello fear, I may not like you, but you’re welcome all the same.”

And then when we’re not resisting, we may find to our surprise

That whatever we are feeling is somehow cut back to size,

And we can go about our business, invite fear to come along,

For when we’re finished with resisting it, then fear can make us strong.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “FEAR” 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 …..

Two acronyms that are often used in ACT are FEAR, and its antidote ACT.

The FEAR acronym summarises core problems as stemming from:

  • Fusion with your thoughts
  • Evaluation of experience
  • Avoidance of your experience
  • Reason-giving for your behaviour

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy proposes its own acronym for how to deal with FEAR, ACT:

  • Accept your reactions and be present
  • Choose a valued direction
  • Take action

There is a very interesting article at elizabethweiss.org entitled:

“ACT Challenges the “Healthy Normality” Assumption,” which goes into more detail about how ACT can combat FEAR.  You might like to head over and check it out.

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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ACT and Looking for Answers – Self as Context

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  When I don’t know which way to turn, who should I turn to?

A:   Yourself.  Turn to your Self as Context.

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One of the core processes of ACT is Self as Context, and it is perhaps the most difficult to get to grips with.  Why?  Because it is a concept that is unfamiliar to many of us.  We get so embroiled in the content of our lives, the things that happen, the feelings and emotions that pass through us, that we find it difficult to get past all that to another sense of Self.

It is hard to define Self as Context in a way that makes sense to us and yet the word “sense” is a good starting point.  The word “sense” gives us a clue to what Self as Context is, and where we are likely to find it.

We get a glimpse, a sense of Self as Context, through our senses.  When we stop thinking and start sensing then we get a notion of what it’s all about.  When we are struck dumb by something awesome in Nature, we are glimpsing our Sense as Context, when we get goose-bumps or the hairs of our head stand on end we are in touching distance of our Sense as Context.  These are clues that there is this other part of ourselves.

Another way to understand our Self as Context is as that part of ourselves that is pure awareness.  When we are thinking, judging, planning, analysing, we are in our Thinking Mind.  This is not Sense as Context.  When we are caught up in the content of our lives, the stuff that comes and goes, moment by moment, day by day, we are experiencing our lives as Self as Content.  This is not Self as Context.

Self as Context is bigger than the bits of content that we experience.  When we experience our lives from the position of Self as Context our lives feel different.  We are not swept away by what happens to us because we are standing back and are able to observe it more dispassionately.  We are using our senses to just experience what is right here, right now, without judging it.  We are willing to experience it, whatever it is, just as it is.

From this viewpoint, the viewpoint of Self as Context, we are something more than what happens to us.  This is another part of our Self, and it is powerful.  The more we become aware of it, the wiser and more tranquil we will become.  It is not easy but it is so worth the effort of discovery.  What do we find there?  A wiser I.

Self as Content and Self as Context both reside in us.  If we feel overwhelmed by what is happening to us, this is the very time to try to see the bigger picture, to turn to Self as Context.  When we are looking for answers and do not know which way to turn, let’s remember Self as Context is always there.  We have many of our own answers, no-body knows us better than ourselves.

There is a Wiser I in all of us.  Its name is Self as Context.  It has seen it all before!

I wrote “A WISER I” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you able to stand back from the content of your life?
  • Do you have a sense of this other side of you, this Self as Context?
  • 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

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A WISER I

 

Sometimes there is confusion, there is so much going on,

That we’re caught up in the maelstrom of what’s coming or what’s gone,

And for now, it’s all chaotic, and our mind’s chaotic too,

What we crave is a Director telling us what we should do.

But the truth is no Director’s going to know us well enough

To produce for us solutions, they’re not privy to the stuff

That has brought us to this juncture, where we are floundering now,

They may offer us suggestions, but they cannot tell us how

We should implement them skilful, nor how we can pick and choose

From the smorgasbord before us what we will discard or use,

And although chaos confronts us, in the end it’s good to know

That when we seek out direction we do not have far to go.

For we are our own Director, one that’s always ours to find

When we look beyond the turbulence that’s stirring up our mind,

And when we create some distance, in the spaces we will see

That beside the I demanding, there’s a wiser I in me.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “A WISER I “ 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 …..

Perhaps because I find it the most difficult of the core processes in ACT to get a handle on, Self as Context, engages me quite a lot.

I wrote another post about it a while ago, entitled, not surprisingly,  ACT and Self as Context!  Head over and take a look if you want to learn a bit more about this most challenging but powerful of concepts.

When I feel that my own life is getting out of hand, or that I am allowing myself to be swept away by what is happening to me, the content of my life, I know that making contact with my own Self as Context will help me.  I hope it does the same for you.

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

ACT and Perfectionism 2

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  What’s so wrong with being a perfectionist?

A:  It sets you up for failure.

Perfectionism is a cruel task master.  Once it’s got us under its cosh it is most unwilling to let us go.  It whispers siren songs trying to convince us that it has our best interests at heart, it doesn’t, that it won’t let us down, it will, and that if we do what it says that we won’t go far wrong, we will!

Perfectionism is not our friend.  Most of the time perfectionism leaves us feeling disappointed, miserable and exhausted.  This is not a good way to live!  If left unchecked it can destroy our health and our relationships.  Although we may have started out with good intentions, high standards are, after all, generally believed to be desirable, when high standards turn into impossible, unremitting high standards, perfectionism turns out to be not such a good idea after all.

This is where ACT can be so helpful.  ACT reminds us that perfectionism is essentially just an idea.  Our perfectionism is the result of the stories we tell ourselves, the thoughts that our mind generates.  If our thoughts are full of “oughts” and “shoulds” and “musts”, then it is likely that they are giving us a pretty hard time.  Every time our mind tells us that we are not good enough, that what we are doing is not good enough, that good enough is not good enough, we suffer.  When it tells us that only perfection will do, it is selling us a lie.

There is no such thing as perfection.  We are imperfect human beings and doing our best is surely good enough.  When we fail to take satisfaction in our achievements, imperfect though they may be, we are missing out.  When we fail to do something because we cannot do it perfectly, we are missing out.  Being a perfectionist stops us from learning the lessons that failure would teach us.  Perfectionists are afraid to fail and so they often do not try.  What a lot of life we are missing out on when perfectionism rules the roost.

ACT helps us to become aware through Mindfulness, then it offers us Defusion to show us how to defuse from unhelpful thoughts.  Perfectionist thoughts are rarely helpful.  When we are in their grip we are more likely to be moving away from where we want to go than towards it.

I wrote “PERFECTIONISM” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Is perfectionism an issue in your life?
  • Does it work for you or against 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

it-doesnt-all-have-to-be

POEM FOR TODAY

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PERFECTIONISM

 

It doesn’t all have to be perfect, whatever we think perfect is,

For the price that we pay for perfection is to stress and to get in a tizz,

And it’s all just a silly illusion, this perfection that’s driving us mad,

Better far we accept we’re a little inept and let go and relax just a tad.

And we’ll find that the heavens don’t open, and no lightening is striking us dead,

And in place of the stress a perfectionist bred there’s a lightness that’s spreading instead.

And so, if we are prone to perfection let us pause to consider the cost

Every time we set standards impossibly high and let sweet satisfactions be lost.

And why is it that we’re so persistent in pursuing impossible dreams,

What a boon it would be were we able to see that perfection is not what it seems,

For it is the most brutal task master, pouring scorn when it sees us fall short,

And it never allows us a moment’s respite, keeps us stuck in the trap where we’re caught.

‘Til one day we see through its illusion, and we’re ready to then call its bluff,

So, when it starts to tell us we’ve much more to do, we respond that we’ve done quite enough,

And what pleasure there is for the taking every time we reply in this way,

For the day then becomes full of promise, as perfection is slinking away.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “PERFECTIONISM” 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 we have reached a point when we are fed up with life being an endless report card on achievements or looks, a rather fast track to unhappiness, then hopefully we are ready to make some changes.  This is easier said than done!  After all we have been perfectionists for so long that we have become experts.  New behaviour is going to take some time to kick in!

But ACT does offer some really helpful strategies.  If perfectionism starts to rear its ugly head then it helps to remember that all these “oughts” and “shoulds” and “musts” and “have tos” are just words, just bits of language.  When we speak to ourselves in these terms we are setting up rigid, inflexible rules which create stress and tension.  They also create the likelihood of failure.  They are at the root of much of our emotional suffering, our disappointment with what life offers.

ACT reminds us of the power of language, the potential that it has to impact negatively or positively on our lives.  Even small shifts, saying “may” instead of “must”, “could” instead of “should”, “might” instead of “have to”, reduces the rigidity and creates a choice.

ACT goes one step further.  It reminds us that developing a different relationship with our thoughts, defusing from them and seeing ourselves as the Thinker and not the Thought, reduces their impact still further.

This is all good stuff, a life-line for the perfectionists amongst us.

I have just watched one of Joseph Rhinewine’s videos on Perfectionism.  You might like to go and check it out.  He reminds us that perfectionism has, at base, the common theme of “not enough”, “not good enough”.   Perfectionists have a tendency to get rid of, to discount, anything which is not perfect, which ends up being everything!  Food for thought!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-im-going-to-see

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