ACT and MINDFULNESS

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: My mind is driving me mad.  What can I do about it?

A: Try a little mindfulness.

One of the things I love about ACT is the way it helps us to develop a different relationship with our mind.

If we have been inclined to be bossed about by our mind, which I certainly have, then it is really liberating to discover that there is another way of living with our mind, a different way of responding to it.

One of the pillar-stones of ACT is Thought Defusion.  Thought Defusion is a way of separating ourselves from our thoughts, learning how to defuse from them in order to observe them. It is a very helpful skill, enabling us to see the mind as a word machine, a creator of thoughts. We come to see that our mind is a part of us, but not the whole of us. When we see mind from this perspective it can help us to make different choices. We can choose not to be bossed about by it for a start!

Another pillar-stone of ACT is Mindfulness. ACT loves Mindfulness and Mindfulness loves ACT, and I love both!

Mindfulness is a way of being in the present moment, of being here now. It is the antidote to the busy mind that loves to be here, there and everywhere.

Mindfulness is another way to develop a different relationship with our mind. It helps us to live more fully in the present moment, the only place where we can actually live our life.  Mindfulness springs the traps of the future-past.  It can, quite literally, help us to “come to our senses.”

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with your “bossy mind”?
  • Does Mindfulness play a part 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.

 POEM FOR TODAY

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COMING TO OUR SENSES

The past is but a memory, the future just a fantasy,

The present is the only place where we can lead our life,

It is full of possibility, a place to live creatively,

But all this is forsaken if our mind is running rife.

For our mind is such a strumpet, it just loves to gad about,

Loves to poke around the past, discover what it can dig out,

All those hidden old resentments, those regrets, that long lost pain,

Oh the present is no match for frequent trips down memory lane.

And the future is a magnet, how mind loves to fantasize,

All those lovely little worries it can’t wait to fertilize,

And imagination’s busy spinning horror stories so

Once again the present’s surrendered to a magic lantern show.

And we could live out a lifetime in the future and the past,

If we let mind have its way it would forever shadows cast

On each precious present moment, where our living must be done,

But it’s we must call a halt, tell mind it’s time is over-run

And we’re wresting back the present, and we’re doing it right now,

We are coming to our senses, for we realise that’s how

We experience the present, and we’re mindful from now on

That as soon as mind goes gadding off, the present moment’s gone.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “COMING TO OUR SENSES”, please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I found Mindfulness before I found ACT. In fact, I had been practicing Mindfulness for a few years before I came into contact with ACT. I stumbled upon ACT by chance, and I had no idea that Mindfulness was one of its pillar-stones. Mindfulness though, was different. I sought it out.

Mindfulness was not what I expected. I knew that it had its roots in Buddhist Meditation practices and, as such, I expected it to be very exotic, very eastern, very different and very difficult. It was none of those things.

Mindfulness devotees like to say of it:

Mindfulness is simple, but it isn’t easy

 

That is a very good way to describe it.

Mindfulness is simple. All it means is “Be Here Now!”

Mindfulness is not easy. Our busy mind wants to be here, there and everywhere. Staying in the present moment, being here now, is a constant challenge.

If you want to learn more about Mindfulness then I would recommend the book that I first read when I sought Mindfulness out.  Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book “Mindfulness – Finding Peace in a Frantic World” is a comprehensive and marvellous read.  Enjoy!

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Which leads us to the …….

ACTivation POINT!

SO …………………………………….

just for today

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 Values and Goals

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

 Q: What’s the difference between a value and a goal?

A: A goal is a signpost, a value is a direction

  

A goal is not a value, a value is not a goal. It is helpful to know the difference.

When we talk about goals, we are usually talking about things we want to achieve, things that indicate that we have succeeded, signs that we are on the right path.  So we might say that we want to get a degree, become a best-selling writer, get married, have children etc, etc. These are all goals. They have an either or quality to them. We can tick them off our list as we achieve them, or not. A goal is a sign that we are on the right path, but it is not the path.

A value is the path. A value is the direction of travel.

When we talk about values we are talking about demonstrating things that are important to us, showing what purpose is meaningful to us. So we might say that creativity is important to us. Well we don’t have to be a best-selling writer to be creative. We can find many ways in our lives to be creative and we can choose to act in a creative way right now.

Or we might say that having loving relationships is important to us. Maybe we won’t get married, maybe we won’t have children, but we can still have loving relationships in our lives. We can choose to act in a loving way right now.

So a goal is not a value, and a value is not a goal. Goals can be helpful, goals can be motivating, but if we are over-focused on goals our lives can feel pressured and restricted. Values, though will always be our friend. They will infuse our lives with meaning and they will never let us down.

In ACTivate your Life

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it is suggested that we ask ourselves these two questions about our goals:

  1. What purpose is this goal serving?
  2. What will it enable me to do that is meaningful?

The writers say that hopefully this can clarify the purpose for pursuing a goal because sometimes we can become so focused on achieving goals that we lose sight of the purpose.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at differentiating between a value a goal?
  • Has living a goal fixated life caused problems for you?
  • How has living a value driven life made a difference 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.

POEM FOR TODAY

The North Star

VALUES AND GOALS

 

It helps to differentiate a value from a goal,

For they serve a different function and they play a different role,

So a life that’s goal fixated will have different things in store

To a life that’s value driven, that has values at its core.

It is true that goals for many are the order of the day,

“What today can I achieve?” are the first words we often say,

And the list is unforgiving, for as goal fixators know,

There is always more to do when we let goals dictate the show.

And yes, we get a sense of order and a purpose to pursue,

In the goal fixated life there’s always something we can do,

And it can be most rewarding, as achievement often is,

But what happens when we don’t achieve and end up in a tizz?

For some goals are unobtainable, and failures we’ll perceive

When life slaps us in the face and what we want we don’t receive,

Or the disappointments stacking as another goal we miss,

When we buy into the goal driven life we buy into all this.

Which makes a case for putting values at the core of life instead,

For they’ll never disappoint us, they’ll just help us forge ahead

In directions always meaningful, our very own north star,

For though our goals may come and go our values just stay where they are.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “VALUES AND GOALS” 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 am a member of the

ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Community

If you are interested in ACT you will find lots to interest you there and I recommend that you visit often.

Dr Russ Harris has posted a great animated video there about

Values Vs Goals.

I loved it and it inspired this post.  Take a look.  I am sure you will love it too.

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

So ……………………….

Just for today

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 Comfort Zones

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: What’s so wrong with comfort zones?

A: A comfort zones’s a prison if it’s one we have outgrown

Oh how we love our comfort zones.  After all they are so comfortable, so reassuring, so predictable. We know where we are, there are no surprises. Oh yes, we do venture out sometimes but it is always nice to know that if the going gets tough we can retreat to the old familiar. Taking chances, exploring the unknown, risking failure may not come easily to some of us. So we decide it’s better not to try. We miss opportunities, our lives get smaller.

Sometimes though, something happens unexpectedly and, like it or not, we are unceremoniously turfed out of our comfort zone and that can be extremely uncomfortable. There may be no way back or, even if there is, it may be that the comfort zone just isn’t comfortable anymore. A comfort zone once breached is never the same.

In ACT terms comfort zones are pretty dangerous. Change is the stuff of life and it doesn’t do to get too comfortable, too complacent. We are all likely to get turfed out of our comfort zones sooner or later. Being human it goes with the territory. How we deal with it, ah that’s the thing. In ACT we are encouraged to accept the uncomfortable feelings that inevitably accompany change as being natural and normal. We are encouraged to step out of our comfort zones. This is how we create a vital, rich and meaningful life.

How about you?

  • How do you feel about comfort zones?
  • How do they operate in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

045

COMFORT ZONES

Maybe we’re on the brink of an exciting sort of thing

We can feel our brains start buzzing and a hum is happening

We catch glimpses of a future full of promise clear and bright

‘Til a little whisper warns us that things may not turn out right.

It’s the dampener we’re used to, the doom merchant we know well,

How he loves to pour cold water and to sound the warning bell

To remind us that excitement is a risky route to take,

Heaven knows we might fail, God forbid make a mistake.

So it’s easy to be thwarted, it is simpler to retreat,

To take comfort in a comfort zone than hazard a defeat

And for a while we’re spared those feelings that accompany the unknown,

But a comfort zone’s a prison if it’s one that we’ve outgrown.

And so the next time we are starting an exciting kind of thing

And we feel our brains start buzzing and a hum is happening

Let’s resist that old doom merchant and refuse him to appease,

Because we can’t know what will happen ‘til that risk we’ve dared to seize.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “COMFORT ZONES” 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

Russ Harris is one of my favourite ACT authors. He has many best-sellers to his name and has been instrumental in making ACT accessible to the mass market. “The Happiness Trap” is perhaps his best known book and rightly so. It is wonderfully entertaining and gives the reader a comprehensive overview of Acceptance Commitment Therapy.

However, it is “The Reality Slap” that I found personally the most illuminating. Russ Harris tells his own story and how a personal trauma turfed him, an ACT guru, unceremoniously out of his own comfort zone. What happened next inspired the book and I recommend it to you.  It is a wonderful read.

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Bad things do happen to good people, life does rear up and slap us in the face and comfort zones, in the end, do turn out to be precarious, so best not to get too comfortable!

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………

 

recite-sabv23

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. I would love to hear from 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 Worrisome Thoughts

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  Why do I worry so much?

A:  Because you are a Child of the Savannah

 

Most of us don’t like worry and anxietyWorry is unpleasant, anxiety is uncomfortable.  We view these feelings as negative and we would rather not have them.  Being human, our tendency is to do all we can to avoid discomfort, to get rid of things that hurt us, and so we try our best to eliminate them.

In the external world that makes sense and our efforts are usually rewarded.  We learn to avoid things that would harm us, we learn to get rid of things that are detrimental to us.

In the internal world of our feelings, however, avoidance doesn’t work so well, and trying to get rid of difficult feelings is usually a lost cause.

ACT has a lot to say about the internal world of our feelings and how best to manage them.  In ACT terms the emphasis is on being open to our feelings, learning to explore and accept them, and going about our business irrespective of how we feel.

That might seem like a tall order but when we begin to understand where some of our uncomfortable feelings come from, the origins of our discomfort, it all begins to make a bit more sense.

Worry and anxiety, in fact, have been in ancient times our very best friends.  In evolutionary terms they have been the key to our very survival.  Although we may think we are children of the 21st century, sophisticated and clever beyond belief, masters of the planet and adventurers amongst the stars, in feeling terms we are still children of the savannah.  When we feel threatened the old survival instincts kick in, we worry about the future and we ruminate about the past.  We tend to be concerned about how we come across to others and what they think of us.  We have our ancestors to thank for these qualities.  On the savannah puny man would not have lasted long on his own.  We needed to belong to a tribe for survival.  Being kicked out was not an option!

Understanding a bit more about the origins of our uncomfortable feelings may help us to deal with them a bit more kindly.  When worry and anxiety show up, as they surely will, a more friendly approach would serve us better.  Instead of struggling with them we could accept them, instead of battling to see them gone we could simply let them be, instead of making them feel unwelcome we could thank them for trying to keep us safe.

We do not have to use our energy in fighting feelings.  We can use our energy to take an action to make our lives more meaningful.  That’s what our ancestors did and when we remember that we are Children of the Savannah it will be easier for us to do that too!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you willing to accept those uncomfortable feelings as normal and natural and stop fighting them?
  • Are you ready to begin to act even when you don’t feel like it?
  • How do you deal with your own worry and anxiety?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

African Savanna

A CHILD OF THE SAVANNAH

If we know where we’ve come from we’ve a very useful skill,

For ‘twill fill us full of knowledge of those thoughts that do us fill,

Thoughts of worry and foreboding, oh you know the kind of thing,

We’re on constant red alert for all the trouble life can bring.

Oh ‘twas good on the savanna to maintain a watchful eye,

Being careless was no option, being careless meant you’d die,

For back then the threats were deadly, as our ancestors well knew,

So the cautious were the heroes, they survived to fight anew.

And today we’re little different though the landscape may have changed,

In our minds we’re still the primitive and have not yet exchanged

The savanna for the new world that we now are living in,

But the thoughts that drive us crazy are the thoughts that helped us win.

And so next time we are worried and anxiety’s running wild

Let’s remember they’re the very thoughts that saved that ancient child

And let’s look at them in wonderment and let our struggles fall

Because the thoughts we think insufferable are not like that at all.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “A CHILD OF THE SAVANNAH” 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 ACT and Worrisome Thoughts, Oliver, Hill and Morris’ book

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is a good read.  It certainly got me thinking, it fact it inspired the poem you have just read, “A Child of the Savannah.”

They talk about our minds being “pre-loaded with an old computer operating system designed for a bygone era. While it was once right up to date, these days it has its limitations.  It’s a little slow and clunky and doesn’t always work smoothly.  However, knowing this allows us to build in a few handy improvements (more of this later).”

I can’t wait to read on!  I want to find out what these handy improvements are!

Which leads us to the

ACTIVATION POINT!

 

So ………………………….

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

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I’m such a perfectionist.  How can I get over myself?

A:  Just do it!  There’s no such thing as perfection.

I used to think that being a perfectionist was a good thing to be.  It isn’t!  It’s a burden and it weighs a ton!

Perfectionists pride themselves on their high standards, but the flip-side is that they often fail to make a start and get things done.  They never feel good enough.

Perfectionists say that they are only interested in the best things in life, but the flip-side is that they miss out on all those lovely little treasures, the “beautiful ordinary”, which is everywhere if they just look.  Life never feels good enough.

Perfectionists expect people to be at their best all of the time, especially in regards to them, but the flip-side is that they cut themselves off from the warmth of real relationships.   People are never good enough.

You get the picture???

The life of a perfectionist isn’t much fun.  It is filled with criticism, of one-self and of others, it is full of disappointment and regret and there is always a feeling that things could be better, we could be better, life could be better.  It’s all a bit of a let-down.

For those perfectionists amongst you who suspect that perfectionism is not really working for you, that in fact it is costing you dear, help is at hand.

ACT is not a fan of perfectionism.  In fact it regards it as a problematic thinking style.  More of that in the next post!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you suspect that perfectionism might be getting in the way of your happiness?
  • Are you getting tired of lugging around this burden?
  • Have you found ways of reducing its impact 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.

POEM FOR TODAY

Taking the plunge

TAKING THE PLUNGE

Sometimes it’s time to start it, this new project, this new plan,

Sometimes it’s time to take the plunge right now, while we still can,

For it’s easy to prevaricate, to keep on sitting tight,

But sometimes it’s time to start it even though the time’s not right.

For perfection is not possible, we can’t always prepare

For each unexplored imponderable that waits for us out there,

For there’s a panoply of variables that we cannot control,

But the only way to build is bit by bit to make a whole.

So if we have got a project or a plan kept under wraps,

Let’s let go the old excuses, the what ifs and the perhaps

And let’s make a new commitment that we’ll start instead to do

What is necessary daily until we have seen it through.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “Taking the Plunge” 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 would like to find out more about ACT and Perfectionism I recommend you head over to Joseph Rhineman’s site and view his video.  I found it very interesting and I think you will too.

Which leads us to the …………………………..

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………………………….

Perfectionism

If you have read this far please leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am on an ACT journey and I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

 

 

ACT and Committed Action

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I don’t think my blog will ever be ready to launch.  What should I do?

A:  ACTivate your blog now!!

It can be very scary when we are on the brink of something new, can’t it?  In fact it can be so scary that we can look for any excuse not to actually take that final step.  We can always find something else to do, some other detail to tweak, something else not quite right, not quite perfect that we can play around with.

I feel a bit like that with this blog.  I am not very teckie, I am not at all social media savy, I struggle every day with some new aspect of WordPress.  There is so much to learn.  At this rate this blog may never get launched!!

I have therefore decided that it is time to ACTivate my blog.

What does this mean?  Well from an ACT point of view it means that I am going to accept the uncomfortable feelings that I am having, the inevitable uncomfortable feelings that accompany something new, something strange.  I am going to accept the discomfort, befriend and explore it even, and I am going to take action in a valued direction.

For me, that means that I am going to launch my blog even though I am full of misgivings.  I am going to feel the fear and do it anyway!!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you willing to “be ready for the strangeness and accommodate the new”?
  • Are you prepared to live with the discomfort that accompanies change?
  • Are you, like me, going to “feel the fear and do it anyway?”
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

Surf

SILVER SURFING

If something new’s approaching let us not bar fast the door,

Let’s be fair and open-hearted, welcome what may lie in store,

Let’s be ready for the strangeness and accommodate the new

Let’s not scurry back to safety before we have seen it through.

If discomfort overwhelms us let’s stand strong until it fades

And relinquish scepticism and reluctance that persuades

Us to turn our back on progress, it’s too late and we’re too old,

Let’s not buy into the story that’s the oldest ever told.

For it’s not a case of number, we’re as old now as we feel

You can put a label on us but that label isn’t real,

And for everyone who’s saying that old age is full of strife,

Let us tell them we are proudly silver surfing through our life.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

 

If you enjoyed “Silver Surfing” 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 a very special term for the excuses that we make to avoid the discomfort that goes with stepping out of our comfort zone.  That term is:

EXPERIENTIAL AVOIDANCE

It is a term that embodies our suffering, not just once but twice.  We suffer the pain of presence and we suffer the pain of absence.  What does this mean?

Experiential avoidance is the process of trying to avoid our own experiences, our uncomfortable feelings, memories, bodily sensations, behaviours, even when doing so causes us long-term behavioural difficulties.  We don’t go to the party because we are shy and lacking in confidence, we don’t go the gym because we feel too fat or too depressed, we don’t launch a blog in case nobody visits!!

Experiential avoidance means that we suffer the presence of our uncomfortable feelings and we also suffer the pain of the absence of the things that we don’t do, the things that we avoid.  A double whammy!!

Learning to live with discomfort, to accept our uncomfortable feelings and to commit to valued action anyway is what lies at the heart of ACT.  It is what gives Acceptance Commitment Therapy its name.  It is the key to living a meaningful and valued life even in the midst of life’s challenges.

If you want to find out more about Experiential Avoidance then I recommend you dip into Steven Hayes’ wonderful book:

Worth learning how to deal with it!!!

Which leads us to the …………………………..

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………………………….

recite-1rg4z2o

If you have read this far please leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am on an ACT journey and I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne