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

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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 Feeling the Feelings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop my feelings getting in the way?

A:  Accept them and take action anyway.

We can get very attached to our feelings.  The good ones we want to hang on to, the bad ones we want to get rid of.  Many of us may spend a good deal of our time trying to alter our feelings.  Many of us may feel that we cannot get on with our lives until we feel better.  A lot of time gets wasted this way.  A lot of opportunities are lost because we are waiting for that elusive feel good feeling.  We tell ourselves that we cannot do this, go there, try this, risk that until we are feeling at our absolute tip-top best.

ACT, however, tells us something quite different.  ACT says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”  ACT says, “Don’t wait.  Take action right now, irrespective of how you feel.”  ACT says, “You can’t control how you feel, but you can control what you do.”

No matter how small, we can always take a meaningful action in line with our values.  That action has the potential to change our feelings.  It isn’t guaranteed.  ACT isn’t in the business of making those promises.  What it is in the business of is helping us to create a more meaningful life despite our feelings.  And feelings pass anyway.  They are transitory, like clouds in the sky.

I wrote “FLIRTING WITH A SMILE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you been able to feel the fear and do it anyway?
  • How do you put your feelings in their place?
  • 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-spirits-are-all

POEM FOR TODAY

file0001958819012

FLIRTING WITH A SMILE

Oh wouldn’t it be wonderful to always feel alright,

To wake up and greet each morning with a disposition bright,

And to never know discomfort nor to feel uncertainty,

Well it might be wonderful but it is not reality.

For we’re full of little nuances, there’s no escaping that,

There’ll be times we’ll feel uplifted, there’ll be times when we’ll feel flat,

And sometimes life may seem wearisome, when all is dull and grey,

But for all our wishful thinking some things will not go away.

So we’ll just have to live with them, find a better way to cope,

When we’re feeling our most hopeless, find a way to reach for hope,

And when our spirits are all deadened and for now we’ve lost our spark,

Keep the faith for long enough to find our way out of the dark.

For we will wake up one morning when the wheel has somehow turned,

When we’re feeling more light-hearted, our concerns somehow adjourned

And we start planning little actions that will make life seem worthwhile,

And we’re not sure how it happened but we’re flirting with a smile.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

 If you enjoyed, “FLIRTING WITH A SMILE” 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 recently read an interesting article about ACT and Feelings at anxietyhappens.com.  Anyone who is familiar with the feeling of Anxiety would probably be quick to tell you that it is not a particularly pleasant feeling.  I can vouch for that!  Anxiety is an old familiar friend to me.

In the past I have certainly not welcomed it, and have spent considerable time and effort in trying to get rid of it.  However, since discovering ACT, I have changed my attitude somewhat.

When anxiety visits me, which it still does from time to time, I am more likely to dredge up my Mindfulness skills and take some time to just be with it.  Exploring it gently and with curiosity, as ACT recommends we do, is less likely to increase my stress, my anxiety.

What do you think?

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will allow

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 Realignment

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I make sure the goals I set are worth achieving?

A:  Align them with your values.

values

ACT makes a distinction between values and goalsValues represent the direction of travel, goals are the signposts we reach along the way.  Goals come and go, values stay the same.

Most of us use our goals to measure our progress.  We tick them off as we achieve them and then we set new goals which can be ticked off in turn.  Goals give us a measuring stick.  They are useful, they help us to shape our lives.

Values are more enduring.  They underpin our goals but they are not our goals.  Problems can arise if our goals are not in line with our values.  If we find that reaching our goals is less satisfying than we would have hoped, it may be that they are somehow out of synch with our values.  If this is the case we may need to do a spot of realignment.  Goals work best when they are in line with our values.

I wrote “REALIGNMENT” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you think aligning goals and values is important?
  • How does it work for 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-choose-a-direction 2

POEM FOR TODAY

3500 years old stairs Crete-Gournia

REALIGNMENT

It’s not great to get distracted if we have got a goal,

For each time we fail to act upon a goal will take its toll,

But if we choose a direction, happily it’s always true

We can always make some progress, even baby steps will do.

There’s a case for setting goals, of course there is, they move us on,

We can see when we have reached them, we can see when they have gone,

But a direction is more constant, is more solid, is more sound,

With direction we can always take some time to look around.

And we can ask ourselves the questions that a goal won’t well receive

For it’s not just about achievement, it’s the way that we achieve,

And where a goal will be less bothered by our methodology

A direction’s more demanding, it demands integrity.

And so if we are setting goals and when we meet them we’re surprised

They are less than satisfying, it could be we’ve compromised

On the direction of our travel, which distinctly unimpressed

Says, “Realign goals with direction if you want them to work best.”

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “REALIGNMENT” 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 …..

There is an excellent article at mindfulnessmuse.com entitled, “How to Translate Values Into Committed Action.”  The author, Laura Schenck, MA, reminds us that:

“Once you feel that you have a clear sense of the underlying values that you wish to live by, the next step is to translate those values into committed action.  While possessing knowledge of what your values are is essential, it will mean very little at the end of the day if there is no action taken to live by those values. You must begin to make the behavioral choice and commitment to making your values manifest through your actions.”

If you are interested in learning more about setting Values-Based Goals, do visit mindfulnessmuse.com.  I shall certainly be returning.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will realign

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 Failure

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How do I cope with failure?

A:  Redefine it.  Dare to fail whilst daring greatly!

I have just read the most amazing  post!  You know how sometimes you just seem to stumble across something at the very time you need it, or someone rings you at the very moment you were thinking of them, or something crops up at the very instant that it is suddenly the right moment?

Well that just happened to me!

I have been thinking a lot recently about external approval, or more to the point I suppose, I have been thinking about my own over-dependence on external approval.  This is not a sudden thing.  I have known for a long time that being overly dependent on the good opinion of others is for me NOT A GOOD THING!

Yes, it is lovely when people think you are wonderful, when they admire you and what you do.  Yes, it is fantastic when the world warms to you and rewards you with its goodies, but if you are over-dependent on other-approval you are on a sticky wicket.  That approval can be withdrawn in a heartbeat, and then what?  Better far to learn to give that approval to yourself and in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States,

“Don’t be afraid to fail because it is your actions, not your achievements that make you a success.”

I could have quoted his whole speech.  It is wonderful, but I would far rather that you visit The Seeds 4 Life and read it in its entirety there.  The Seeds 4 Life is a fantastic website which provides both inspirational messages and personal development articles.  The concept behind the site is in itself inspirational.

“This site was created around the idea that your mind functions like a garden, with your thoughts acting like the Seeds.  The more inspirational or positive thoughts you seed within your mind, the more flowers you’ll grow …..”

The latest post at Seeds is entitled, “You are Successful the Moment You Start Moving Towards a Worthwhile Goal” – Charles Carlson.

It inspired me to write this post.  The reason why it was so spookily timely was that I wrote the poem “FOLLOWING OUR HEART” that I am using here just hours before I read the Seeds post! Great minds …..

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you ready to dare to fail whilst daring greatly?
  • How do you overcome your fear of failure?
  • 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

sunrise_01

FOLLOWING OUR HEART

 

If we crave the world’s approval we will always be in thrall

To a host of hungry masters, we can’t satisfy them all,

And although it may sound lovely with cheers ringing in our ears

We had better be prepared for when the cheering disappears.

‘Twould be good if we could slacken off these chains that would us bind,

Redefine the word “approval”, relocate where we it find

And remember it’s the glow inside that we seek to ignite,

And we do not need the world outside to set that glow alight.

We can do it any time we choose to follow our own heart,

Choose to disregard externals and determine when we’ll start

To create our own illusions, whatever they may be,

We don’t need the world’s approval, for you see my friends we’re free

To pursue a path unfashionable, if that is what appeals,

Cock a snoop at popularity and stick with our ideals,

And when we’re living our own purpose and immune to the world’s bribe

It is likely we’ll meet others and in time form our own tribe.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “FOLLOWING OUR HEART” 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 …..

Actually on this occasion I am going to leave the final word to Theodore Roosevelt, because I am sure if ACT had been around in his day he would have been a devotee anyway!

I can’t resist leaving you with one last quote, my favourite actually.  This quote is famously known as “The Man In the Arena Speech” , and is an excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910.

Enjoy!

 

Theodore Roosevelt's The Man in the Arena:

Wonderful isn’t it?

Which brings us to the 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 Feeling Good

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  How can I feel good more often?

A:  Do what you love more often.

 I am writing this post partly because I am  participating in Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday, and also because of something I read recently at The WellnessWorx , a post entitled “Don’t Measure or Judge your Journey.”

Gabriela’s post at The Wellness Worx reminded me that sometimes we can get so wrapped up in doing something for a reason that we completely forget that the action, whatever it is, can be sufficient in itself.  We don’t have to do something because of this or that.  We can just do it for its own sake.

I suppose this is what ACT means by being present.  When we are fully present to whatever it is that we are doing then the activity takes on an additional richness.  When we do not contaminate it with evaluations or judgements,  expectations or fears and just immerse ourselves in the experience of the here and now we are becoming more mindfulMindfulness means just that.  Being open to what is happening here and now.

I want to thank Carol at “Feel-Good Friday” for hosting this weekly event.  It makes me think all week about something that I can post on Friday which is to do with “promoting self-care and me-time.”

I was thinking about it yesterday and it inspired me to write this poem, “DOING WHAT WE LOVE”.  Why?  Because when we are doing what we love that is a sure-fire way to feel good!

So thank you Carol.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • What do you do that makes you feel good?
  • What could you do more of so that you feel good more often?
  • 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

Its-an-irony-exquisite

POEM FOR TODAY

file000775847444 (1)

DOING WHAT WE LOVE

 

Just do it for the pleasure, don’t just do it for the gain,

Don’t just do it for the glory or the fame you might attain,

But enjoy the flame within you as creation sparks anew,

If you love what you are doing, what you’re doing is good for you.

If you make the world’s approval the hall-mark of your success

Then you’ll always be a hostage to its fancies more or less

As it changes the parameters, a little here and there

Until the more you try to please it, it appears the less to care.

And so don’t disrespect the glow inside if it is now about,

And don’t let the world’s approval be enough to snuff it out,

For it’s an irony exquisite, what we seek most things above

Is the feeling that we’re feeling when we’re doing what we love.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “DOING WHAT WE LOVE” 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 pillars of ACT is Mindfulness, being open to what is happening in the here and now.  When we are doing something that we love you would think that would be a sure-fire way to feel good.  If we do what we love more often, surely then we would feel good more often.  Yes, up to a point.

The problem is when we let all those niggly thoughts and worries creep in and pull us away from the present moment, from the potential enjoyment that we could experience from doing what we love.

ACT reminds us that developing our Mindfulness skills will help us to stay in the present moment more often and for longer.   We can only do what we love in the present moment, so when we are doing it let’s give ourselves a chance to experience it more fully.

I have recommended a great Mindfulness Book before and I do so again.

Product Details

Mark Williams’ and Danny Penman’s book is a great introduction to Mindfulness.  It comes with an accompanying CD and I still use it regularly.

Which brings us to the 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 INTEGRITY

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I don’t know which way to turn.  I am so afraid of going wrong.  What now?

A:  Look to your values.  They will lead you in the right direction.

ACT loves us to take action, considered action, value-driven action that moves us in a meaningful direction.  If we are not sure what to do then a quick check-in with our values will usually point us in the right direction.

Another way to look at it is that if we take actions based on our values then we are acting with integrity and that will feel good.  Integrity is a very reliable inner compass.  It soon tells us if we are off track.  If something doesn’t feel right, if we don’t feel right, that’s a sure sign that we are not acting with integrity.

What’s also interesting is that when it comes to value driven action we need not concern ourselves over much with worrying about whether an action is right or wrong.  As long as it is moving us in the direction of our values then it can’t  be wrong.  What’s more any step in the right direction, no matter how small, will be just that, a step in the right direction.  How reassuring is that?

I wrote the poem “STEPPING IT OUT” to remind me that as long as my values lead my actions I will not go far wrong.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you remember to look to your values before you take action?
  • How do you cope with misgivings?
  • 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

IMG_6784

STEPPING IT OUT

ACT loves us to take action, to do things we truly prize,

Choose a meaningful direction and then find to our surprise

That we needn’t make a judgement about what is right or wrong,

For everything’s of value if it helps us move along.

Sometimes we may feel thwarted, may feel stranded, may feel stuck,

But if we lack motivation there’s no better place to look

Than at the last step that we took which brought us here where we are now,

For we didn’t think we’d make it but we stepped it out somehow.

And there’s something reassuring about stepping out this way

For despite our own misgivings values never swerve or sway,

And so next time we’re called to action let us hold our values near

For when a value drives an action then misgivings disappear.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “STEPPING IT OUT” 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 seems that ACT is popping up everywhere these days.

I am not particularly sporty, although I do love my golf, and I was interested to read that Psychologists have recently begun applying the principles of ACT in a variety of sports, believing that if athletes can switch their attention to the relevant athletic task versus internal states such as anxiety or frustration, they will be able to perform more successfully.

You can read more about how the ACT Hexaflex can be applied to Sport at perform.believe.com.  According to the author, “This may be especially true in situations of heightened stress or arousal, such as a penalty kick in football or a free throw in basketball.”

I am sure it would be equally effective on the putting green.  I shall try it next time I am on the course and let you know if I am able to shave some shots off my handicap.

Which brings us to the 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 The Present Moment

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  When will I finally get where I want to go?

A:  You are already here!

Dalai Lama Quote

The Dalai Lama said it well, didn’t he?  Well he would, wouldn’t he?

“Man lives as if  he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Why?

Because we forget that the present moment is the only place where we can actually do our living.

ACT is very clear about this.  Life is always lived in the present moment.  We can’t go back and change the past, we can’t go forward and control the future.  Yes, reflecting on the past and planning for the future are valuable activities and helpful, most of the time, but we are in trouble when we fuse with the past or future and lose contact with the present.

So, if we spend our lives worrying about the future or living in the past as if they are really here, we have turned our back on the present moment.  If we spend our time planning and projecting a wonderful tomorrow or looking back with regret at better times now gone, we have turned our back on the present moment.  This is not good news!  Each time we do this our opportunity to live well in the present is lost; and many of us do this a lot!

Sometimes too, we can become so dazzled by the idea of better times ahead that we don’t bother much with the present moment.  It doesn’t seem to measure up so we disregard it.  We are so focused on the destination that we forget to pay attention to the journey, and we miss out big-time.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to see that there is no destination, because wherever we are is the destination.  If we could adopt that mind-set then there would be no more waiting for better times because they would already be here, and we would act accordingly.

So, in ACT terms that doesn’t mean that we need to stop thinking about the future or the past but what it does mean is that we should try to become more flexible.   Choose to be in the present when that is needed, to be in the future when planning is required, or to be in the past when that works best.

Simple???  Not at all.  But worth the effort.

I wrote “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at staying in the present moment?
  • How do you cope with thoughts that drag you back to the past or try to lure you into the future?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

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

TIP FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

couple on the beach

THE DESTINATION DAZZLE

Let’s not be dazzled by destination when the journey will suffice,

Nor trade in a passing pleasure, for it won’t come our way twice,

For when we are over focused on whatever lies afar,

We are blind to all the treasures that are scattered where we are.

Oh it’s easy to be hijacked by a future seemingly

That much shinier and finer than where we are presently,

But it’s only an illusion, just a dream that we have spun,

It’s the present we must look to for our moments in the sun.

And the destination dazzle does have power to eclipse

All those lovely little moments as it plays its brinkmanships

Saying, “This is insufficient, better times lie just ahead,”

But if we don’t call its bluff ‘twill say it still on our death-bed!

And so let’s put it in perspective, let’s allow ourselves to dream

But futures come with a health warning, they are rarely what they seem,

Whereas the present has the power to transform lives instantly

When we see our destination’s everywhere we happen to be.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” 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 ……….

D J Moran, PHD, has posted an excellent video entitled  “Demystifying ACT – The Present Moment.

I found it really interesting and I am sure that you will too.  He talks about how research shows that most of us spend approximately 47% of our waking hours anywhere other than in the present moment.  We are, to quote Moran, “there and then, as opposed to here and now.”  And, of course when we are “there and then” we are missing out on the opportunity to do something meaningful “here and now!”

Which brings us to the 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