ACT and Mindfulness in Action

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop chasing my tail?

A:  Try a little Mindfulness!

Mindfulness is a real buzz word these days.  In an external world of increasing busyness it can be hard to find a place of peace.  In an internal world of spinning thoughts and constant conjecture it can be difficult to switch off.

The fact that Mindfulness is finding such popularity nowadays speaks for itself.  In such a hectic world more and more of us are looking for a way to slacken off the pace.  Mindfulness seems to offer an answer.  It is simple but it is not easy; it is relatively quick to learn and its benefits are relatively quickly felt; it is always at hand, as near as our next breath.

When we are going round in circles, both in the external and the internal world, Mindfulness can help us to find a way out.

I wrote “MINDFULNESS IN ACTION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you use Mindfulness in your life?
  • When do you find it most useful?
  • 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-lets-feel-the-life

POEM FOR TODAY

100_8873

MINDFULNESS IN ACTION

 

If Mind is busy wandering let’s bring it back to base,

Pay attention to our breathing and let’s slacken off the pace,

And let’s feel the life force fill us, energising everywhere,

This is Mindfulness in action, taking time to be aware.

Every moment it is possible, this being here and now,

When we notice Mind’s hijacking us, but now we won’t kowtow

To its constant little stories or its subtle siren calls,

We have skills we now can draw upon and so the hijack stalls.

And when we are in position, pure awareness kicking in,

Let’s explore what now is happening, outside us and within,

And let’s tune in to our senses, give them leave to roam around,

Let us sharpen our antennae, feel a touch, enjoy a sound.

There is so much we are missing when we’re hostage to our Mind,

When we disregard our senses which, too often left behind

May become a little deadened, dampened down through lack of use,

It maybe we’ll have to woo them back, take time to them seduce.

And so if we have been neglectful of our senses let us say

That we’ll take some time for Mindfulness, a little every day,

And then in time we’ll come to realise what can be hard to see,

That though a thinking Mind’s a marvel, it’s not all there is to me.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “MINDFULNESS IN ACTION” 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 really like the idea that Mindfulness is:

“simple but not easy.”

It makes you think that it is accessible, and it is.  It make you think that it is for all of us, not just the clever dicks, and it is.  It makes you think that if you put some effort into it then you can achieve results, and you can.

Christopher Bergland at Psychology Today has written a great article entitled “Mindfulness Made Simple”.  I really enjoyed it.  I’ll quote the opening paragraph to give you a flavour:

“Mindfulness has become a buzzword that is often misinterpreted.  What is mindfulness?  How can it benefit you?

Mindfulness is much more basic than most people realize.  In fact, I’ve isolated 3 easy steps to kick-start a state of mindfulness in a few seconds.  To kick-start a state of mindfulness all you have to do is:

STOP.  BREATHE.   THINK ABOUT YOUR THINKING.  Anybody can use this simple mindfulness technique throughout the day to stay calm, focused, optimistic and kind.”

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-i-will-tune-in

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 Keeping a Cool Head

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  What should I do when my mind goes into overdrive?

A:  Be sceptical.  Remember that your Mind is a great story teller.

it-is-the-mark

When our mind goes into overdrive and thoughts start churning round this is not the time to make decisions.   When we are overwrought and becoming embroiled in our stories this is not the time to take action.  When our mind starts projecting the worst and is urging us to do something, do anything, this is not the time to give in to its demands.

At such times, and there may be many, this is the time to remember that Mind is, amongst other things, a great Story Teller.  We can, and maybe should, learn to look at it with awe;  its skills are formidable.  But as for doing what it tells us, well maybe not!

The time to take action is when the story lines are fading, when cool heads are replacing angry hearts.

I wrote “COOL HEADS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you create distance from your angry heart?
  • How do you resist the demands of the great story teller?
  • 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-so-if-mind-is-busy

POEM FOR TODAY

file000118602312

COOL HEADS

Mind starts to spin its fantasies, and we are soon in thrall

To the twists and turns it conjures up, as helplessly we fall

For the little bits of fiction that are urging us to act,

But let’s remember before acting, this is fantasy not fact.

Oh it’s hard to create distance when our stories start to spin,

When Mind’s going into overdrive ‘til everything within

Is embroiled within a story telling us what we should do,

But let the warning bells resound, this is a story, it’s not true.

There are times for taking action, preferably with a cool head,

When the story lines are fading, and we’re able to instead

Make decisions more considered based on actuality,

For an action has a consequence, it’s real not fantasy.

And so if Mind is busy spinning let’s remember it’s not real,

Amongst its many other functions Mind’s a giant spinning wheel

Which we can watch in all its glory as its stories tumble out,

But be aware a cool head’s squeezed out when a spinning wheel’s about.

And so let’s let Mind tell its stories, as it will do anyway,

But let’s remember that’s its function, and we’re not required today

To pay heed to its excesses, nor obey what it commands,

And though we may admire its skill, we need not do what it demands.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “COOL HEADS” 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 …..

It isn’t easy to defuse from unhelpful thoughts, to stand back from the riveting stories that our Mind conjures up.  And yet the more we can do this the less stressful our lives may become.

Learning that we needn’t believe everything that we think can be very liberating.  Not being held hostage by our story telling mind and not being bound to obey its sometimes outlandish demands can save us a heap of trouble.

Developing these defusion skills takes some time and effort but the benefits, in my opinion,  are well worth it.  There is a great article at getselfhelp.co.uk entitled:

DEFUSING TECHNIQUES

DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK!

It explains how:

“Defusion involves distancing, disconnecting or seeing thoughts and feelings for what they are (streams of words, passing sensations), not what they say they are (dangers or facts).”

The article outlines some really good strategies for developing defusion skills.  I really enjoyed it.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

just-for-today-when-stories-spin

 

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 New Responses

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I deal better with difficult situations?

A:  Create a breathing space.  Respond rather than react.

There is a difference between a reaction and a response.  A reaction is automatic, a response is not.  When something happens, body and mind are pre-programmed to react in certain ways.  If that something is pleasant then we can expect pleasant reactions, if that something is not then look out!

If we constantly act on our initial reactions then that can lead to all sorts of problems.  We don’t like something and we lash out, that’s a problem, we like something and we can’t resist it, that can be a problem too.

ACT and Mindfulness encourage us to create a breathing space where we can decide on a more helpful response.  The more we can do that the more manageable and meaningful our lives will become.  Sometimes it is a good idea to revisit some of our responses too.  Just because they have worked well in the past doesn’t mean they are always the best responses now.  As we grow so can our responses.  This is a cause for celebration.

I wrote “NEW RESPONSES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you able to differentiate between reactions and responses?
  • Are you ready to revisit some of your habitual responses?
  • 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-cant-help-our

POEM FOR TODAY

img_9410a

NEW RESPONSES

We can’t help our reaction, that’s an automatic thing,

But when it comes to our responding, we’re not puppets on a string,

For we have choices to consider, and decisions we can make,

We needn’t act on our reactions we can choose the route we’ll take.

It’s a gift we have been given, this reflecting breathing space

Where we can look at what is happening in our inner private place

Before deciding what is helpful and what’s better left behind,

We can do this when we’re observers of our body and our mind.

And it may be old responses are now due an overhaul,

We can keep the ones still working but we needn’t keep them all,

For it maybe we’ve outgrown them, they no longer seem to fit,

Well that’s a cause for celebration, so let’s just get on with it

And work out some new responses, ones more elegant perhaps,

Those just waiting in the wings until the other ones collapse

Before they move in all their glory to the centre of the stage,

Because if we’re due new responses, it’s because we’ve turned a page.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “NEW RESPONSES” 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 …..

The benefits of meditation have been well known throughout the ages but it is only relatively recently that it has been made more popularly accessible through practices such as Mindfulness.

Nowadays meditation is no-longer the sole province of Tibetan Monks or practitioners who have spent years in mental and spiritual practice.  Meditation is available to anyone who has the willingness to spend a few moments learning a few basic but very powerful skills.

A good start point can be found at a great website entitled Mindfulness:  Finding Peace in a Frantic World.  Danny Penman, one of the co-authors with Mark Williams, of the book of the same name, describes:

The 3 Minute Breathing Space Meditation

It is free to download and well worth a listen.

If that whets your appetite then try the book.  It was my first introduction to Mindfulness and I return to it often.  It has been a good friend to me.

Product Details

 

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-im-going-to-choose

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 Passion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I discover my values?

A:  Explore your passions!

Image result for inspirational quotes

ACT places a lot of store in valuesValues are at the very heart of Acceptance Commitment Therapy and identifying our values and learning to live by them, even in the midst of our problems, is the key, in ACT terms, to living a meaningful life.

Identifying our values can be difficult.  Coming to know what is really important to us should be easy surely, but it often isn’t.  With so many competing claims on our time, on our energy, we can end up living a life that doesn’t feel meaningful, doesn’t feel satisfactory.  If our life feels dull, if we feel dull, then that is a sure-fire way of knowing that we are not living by our own values.  Living by someone else’s values won’t work.  If we want our life to improve then getting in touch with our values is a good next step.  If we are passionate about something it is likely that will give us a clue as to where our values lie.

I wrote “Exploring our Passion” to remind me of that.

 HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How in touch with your values are you?
  • Are you true to your values, or do you betray them sometimes?
  • 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

be-happy

POEM FOR TODAY

beach-tai-chi

EXPLORING OUR PASSION

If we have a passion, then best be aware

That it’s not necessarily one others share,

For a passion is personal, give for free,

So what’s moving for you isn’t moving for me.

It’s a fact unattractive, not nice to behold

That a fire in my belly is leaving you cold,

But a passion’s not dependent on what others say,

If we feel it inside that’s sufficient today.

For a passion is something quite hard to define,

But whatever it is it’s not yours, it is mine,

It’s my baby to cherish, my precious to rear,

If the world turns away, it’s for me to hold dear.

So whatever we’re feeling that moves and inspires

Let’s respect for itself, not for who else admires

The outputs of our passion, no need to applaud,

If we love what we do, then we have our reward.

And although ‘twould be good to enjoy the acclaim

Of a world filled with rapture and shouting our name,

If we’ve come to a place where that need is no more,

Then what pleasure’s ahead as our passion we explore.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “EXPLORING OUR PASSION” 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 have been away for a month and for most of that time I have been internet free.  And I say that in the nicest possible way!

Without access to the instant communication that the internet gives us life can feel very different.  It can almost feel like going cold turkey at first, so accustomed, even dependent, have we become on its temptations.  And yet, it was rather nice, refreshing even, to be cut off from the demands of the electronic age, if only for a while.

Apparently Digital Detox Retreats and Unplugged Wellness Retreats are becoming increasingly popular.  If you want to read more about this rather novel, some would say alarming, trend there is an interesting article at Huffington Post entitled “Digital Detox Retreats”.

Although not strictly speaking ACT, I have included it nevertheless.  When we switch off from the outside world and go inside for a while we are practicing mindfulness.  When we practice mindfulness we are practicing ACT.  When we don’t have access to all the instant distractions that our gadgets give us we are increasingly thrown back on our own devices.  I quite liked that, at least for a while!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

be-happy-2

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 Wise Counsel

 ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  What should I do in the midst of a turmoil?

A:  Seek wise counsel.

When we are in turmoil it can be hard to know what is best to do.  Our emotions are screaming, “Do this, do that, do something, do anything!”  It is tempting then to do something just to try to reduce the uncomfortable feelings inside.

This is not always the best way.  When we are in a state of upset that is rarely the time to make important decisions, rarely the time to take definitive action.  ACT reminds us that feelings come and go.  They are fleeting, they are temporary, whilst the aftermath of things we do and say because of them can have permanent consequences.

Seeking wise counsel at such times can save us from a lot of heartache.  That doesn’t mean we have to take any advice given.  We are always free to accept or reject what others say.  We, after all, are in the best position to know what is really best for us in our own lives, especially if we are in touch with our values and are learning to act in line with them.

If we are fortunate we will have a trusted friend or two who love us enough to give us wise counsel.  They have our best interests at heart and we should give thanks for them.  And we always have ACT.  When we are in turmoil if we act in accordance to ACT principles we will rarely go wrong and will usually go right.

I wrote “WISE COUNSEL” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you remember to seek wise counsel when things get difficult?
  • What wise counsel have you found in ACT to be particularly useful?
  • 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

For-when-we-are-in-a

POEM FOR TODAY

68-DSC_6414

WISE COUNSEL

Let’s listen to wise counsel, let’s seek out someone we trust,

Let’s not give in to harsh words and deeds before we have discussed

Other options that are open, let us see what might appear

When we are prepared to listen, for who knows then what we’ll hear.

It’s a difficult dilemma, when to recognise as fact

That sometimes it is inaction that’s the better way to act,

And that sometimes when we’re lost for words that silence is a boon,

And that least said soonest mended is right now more opportune.

Oh the way ahead is tricky, and quite often there will be

Unexpected blocks and obstacles that we just didn’t see

That have festered hidden and toxic, waiting just to do their worst,

It’s no wonder that they floored us when quite suddenly they burst.

But it’s now we must consider what will be the better way

To respond to such an aftermath that’s facing us today,

Is it better to take action, or allow it to subside?

Well it’s now that that wise counsel can help us to best decide.

So let’s choose our counsel carefully for it may shed a light

On an aspect unconsidered, help us make a choice that’s right,

For when we are in a turmoil that’s the time that we most need

The wise counsel that can clarify how best we can proceed.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed  “WISE COUNSEL” 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 …..

When we are in turmoil it is usually because we feel that life is not dealing us the hand we want to play.  The gap between what we want and what we have got is wide, wider than at the time we are willing to accept.

At times like these I return, when finally I remember, to that great book written by Russ Harris, “The Reality Slap”.

If you haven’t read it I commend it to you.  If you have, then here’s a reminder that when life deals you a bad-hand a re-read will always be helpful.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-know-I

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 Defusion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:   I am going round in circles.  What can I do?

A:   Defuse and let go!

Hanging on is hard, letting go is harder.  Or is it?  When we want something to be a certain way, when we are invested in a certain outcome, there is a lot of tension around.  When we are so focused on forcing solutions there is not much joy to be had.

It is really difficult to know when it is time to try harder or time to surrender.  But the time will come when we do get tired of banging our head against a brick wall.  The time will come when we are ready to accept the what is.  Acceptance need not mean defeat.  Acceptance can mean a lightening of the load.  When we stop trying so hard to hang on, when we are ready to let go, we open ourselves to other options.  I like the idea that letting go means we are giving a thumbs up to the future.

I wrote “FEROCIOUS EDDIES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you ready to let go of something that is dragging you down?
  • Can you look on letting go as a thumbs up to the future?
  • 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-when-we-have-got-our

POEM FOR TODAY

final15

FEROCIOUS EDDIES

 

So many things to angst about, so much that we could rue,

Can we make a bit of space and allow content to move through,

Can we see we’re the arena, and perceive our Self as sky,

Can we feel that we are permanent, the rest’s just passing by?

Oh it takes a bit of doing, but what prizes we would reap

If we opted for the shallows ‘stead of diving in the deep

And just let events lap round us, in all their different hues,

And refused to get all churned up, we do this when we defuse.

Oh it sounds like a tall order, stand apart and let them go,

Not be tempted to go swimming and get caught up in the flow

Of events that would diminish us, and tarnish us with shame,

We could take up new positions, be spectators at the game.

And this doesn’t mean we’re opting out, it means we’re opting in,

We’re conserving our best energies for battles we can win,

They’re the ones that seek to stretch us, make us bigger than before,

Not the ones that keep us going round in circles ever more.

And so if we are stuck in eddies which are constant swirling round

Let’s stop swimming ‘gainst the tide and plant our feet on solid ground,

And when we have got our balance we will then more clearly see

That the most ferocious eddies scarce make ripples on the sea.

 

 Corinne Shields, 2016

 

If you enjoyed, “FEROCIOUS EDDIES” 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 …..

When I write a blog post I use this section as a spur to look for something in ACT to consolidate what I have been writing about.  It helps me and I hope it helps the reader too.

Today I wanted to find something specific about ACT and Acceptance and I came across a really interesting article at The Mindfulness Muse.

In the article Laura Schenk writes about 5 Ways to Let Go of Judgement and Fear and explains how:

Judgment and fear have a tendency to hold you back from living a rich and meaningful life that is based on your true values and establishing harmony in relationships. There is often a high price to pay for living in a mental and emotional place of judgment and fear. This price may take the form of avoiding relationships with others, challenging mental or physical pursuits, and even discovering your true identity.

Laura suggests 5 Strategies for dealing with the Judgements and Fears that can wreak so much havoc in our lives.  It makes for a really helpful read.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going to cease

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 The Observer Self

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop getting so caught up in my imaginings?

A:  Become an observer.

If we think we don’t have a creative bone in our bodies then we couldn’t be more wrong.  All of us are creatives par excellence!  Maybe we don’t have the artistic skills of a Leonardo, or the musical skills of a Mozart, but when it comes to story telling we can compete with the best of them!

You don’t believe me?  Well if you look at the stories you tell yourself, the stories that feed your fears and anxieties, I bet I am not far wrong.  We all have an amazing capacity for story telling, imaginations which seem to know no limits when it comes to conjuring up the direst scenarios, the most incredible storylines.  And the more we do it the better we get!  Our stories become so convincing that we think they must be true.  We forget that we are making it all up!

This is where ACT is so effective.  It reminds us that we are not our stories; it helps us to distinguish between ourselves as creator and the stories we tell.  When we can make that space, what ACT calls defusion, we have more freedom to create a better life.  How?  We can listen to our stories but we don’t have to believe them.  We can look at our storytelling as a rather wondrous skill without allowing it to run our lives.

I wrote “GORY LITTLE STORIES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you able to stand back from your “gory little stories”?
  • How do you make that space?
  • 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

For-were-not-simply-a

 

POEM FOR TODAY

KFsL07

GORY LITTLE STORIES

It’s back again to bother us with regularity,

As our Mind starts spinning stories based on something that we see

That has sparked a speculation, and we can’t know if it’s true,

But that won’t stop Mind from doing what a Mind is born to do.

Oh it loves a bit of friction and a mystery to resolve,

It can conjure up a problem just so it can problem solve,

It’s a wonder, it’s a marvel, we can look at it with awe,

But if we’re caught in its eddies then a sleepless night’s in store.

For a thinking Mind is tricky and its processes too slick

To control a thought gone crazy, even now we feel the kick

Of a story-line gone haywire, could things really go that far?

Time to harness our awareness and remember who we are.

For we’re not simply a thinking Mind, a mental acrobat,

We are more than story tellers, there is more to us than that,

We’ve a core that is more constant, an awareness always there,

And the more we call upon it then the more we are aware.

And that’s an antidote to stories that would stretch us on the rack,

In the midst of mental torture, it’s awareness brings us back

To remind us that though thinking mind gives cause to celebrate,

All its gory little stories are just words we fabricate.

 © Corinne Shields, 2016

 If you enjoyed, “GORY LITTLE STORIES” 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 have just been listening to an ACT Observer Exercise conducted by Randy Burgess at portlandpsychotherapyclinic

I found it really useful and I will return to it often, especially if I am getting bogged down in unhelpful thoughts or swamped by difficult emotions.

The ability to strengthen our sense of the Observer Self, the Self as Context, Pure Awareness, whatever you want to call it, is so important.  Being able to make a distinction between our Self as Context, the arena in which things happen, and our Self as Content, the internal and external events that happen to us, helps us to respond more effectively to the content of our lives.

If you are looking for something to strengthen that sense of the Observer Self then do head over to Portland.  You will not be disappointed.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Ill-be gory stories

 

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