ACT and Dealing with Feelings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I deal with difficult feelings?

A:  Learn to watch them come and go.

One of the things I like most about ACT is the way it reminds us that we are more than our feelings, more than our thoughts.  Feelings and thoughts come and go but we, the essential we, are always here.  There is a part of us that doesn’t change, that has been with us from the beginning and will be with us to the end.

There is a part of us, ACT calls it the Observer Self, that is able to watch our thoughts and feelings come and go.  Yes, we are more than our feelings, more than our thoughts.

This is particularly important to remember when we feel the urge to make important decisions.  “Don’t make a permanent decision on temporary feelings” is good advice.  We, the essential we, will still be here tomorrow, but our feelings may not.  They are temporary, they are only passing through.

I wrote “DEALING WITH FEELINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you learned not to make permanent decisions on temporary feelings?
  • How do you deal with your feelings?
  • 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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DEALING WITH FEELINGS

Sometimes we will feel flat, you know, sometimes we will feel flat,

In the great array of feelings there is no escaping that,

There’ll be times we’ll wake up cheery in a world brimming with joy,

And there’ll be others we’ll wake weary, everything will then annoy.

How we deal with all these feelings, that’s the challenge that we face,

Will we try to cling too long to some, try others to replace,

Or will we treat them all as equals, just sensations passing by,

Let them come and go quite easy, just like clouds up in the sky.

If we do then we’re enlightened, watching feelings passing through,

Not becoming agitated, but it’s difficult to do,

For it’s only human nature to avoid what we dislike,

But our feelings are like clouds, you know, we don’t know when they’ll strike.

And so we have another option, we can just accept them all,

Take the sunshine with the showers, take the thunder with the squall,

And then just watch them from safe distance, be the sky that’s always here,

And not perturbed by feelings passing, for we know they’ll disappear.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “DEALING WITH FEELINGS” 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 not leaving the final word to ACT today, but rather to a recent post that I read at the Wellnessworx.com  It really struck a chord with me.

The post is entitled:

Addiction Is Not What We Think It Is

Gabriella introduces a guest speaker by the name of Johaan Hari.  She explains how she had the pleasure of sitting in on one of Johaan’s workshops last year and learned of his past with addiction and how he took his curiosity of addiction to travel the world to speak to scientists and users and find what addiction really is and how it can be helped.

The video makes for compulsive viewing.  If you have struggled with or overcome addiction or know someone who has, check it out.  I am sure that you will find it fascinating.  Hari is a brilliant speaker.  I am sure that ACT would approve!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Ill-make

 

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 Horror Stories

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop my imagination running wild?

A:  Remember it evolved to keep you safe.  Thank it and come back to the present moment.  Be mindful.

We do have wonderful imaginations.  Our imagination is what differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, as far as we know.  Our ability to create word pictures, to project into the future and to conjure up all sorts of scenarios is at once a blessing and a curse.  We can anticipate wonderful events and be filled with joy, we can project into the future and be filled with worry, anxiety and fear.

This is the dual edged sword of our imagination.  We can be excited about the future or we can frighten ourselves to death.  In evolutionary terms our minds have developed to keep us safe.  They are therefore more likely to see danger lurking, they are more likely to err on the side of caution.

ACT reminds of this, and we would do well to remember.  When something happens and triggers a full blown horror story, let us remember this is the mind doing its job.  If we can resist embellishing the tale so much the better.

I wrote “MASTER STORYTELLERS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with your horror stories?
  • How have you learned to resist embellishing them?
  • 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_20150621_214410

MASTER STORY TELLERS

There’s a story in the offing, even now we feel it stir,

It’s the one forever lurking, waiting only to recur

When our mind picks up a signal there is danger now afoot

And our body starts reacting, on alert it now is put.

It’s the old familiar feeling, oh we recognise it well,

As the chemicals start surging and our hormones start to swell,

This is instinct at the ready, our antennae primed and clear,

So let’s thank our body nicely but check out what danger’s here.

There’s no tiger in the bushes, there’s no enemy at the door,

Life and death aren’t in the balance, it’s a story nothing more,

And we’re learning to distinguish what is really going on,

Yes we’re master story tellers but a story will be gone

Without doing us much damage, save for hormones rushing round,

There’s no rustle in the bushes, just our thoughts making a sound,

Bits of language we’re concocting, spinning into quite a tale,

But if we do not embellish it this tale soon starts to pale.

And so let’s make a bit of distance, watch our thinking mind at work,

But deny it those embellishments that send our Mind berserk,

And then just go about our business and find something good to do

And let our story lose its impact as it simply moves on through.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “MASTER STORYTELLERS” 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 …..

Imagination is our ability to mentally move ourselves out of the present moment.  So we can go back to the past or forward to the future, all thanks to our wonderful imagination.

And it is wonderful, or it can be.  But remember, imagination can be both a blessing and a curse.  Wonderful memories must compete with regrets; hope and excitement must battle worry and fear.

If our imaginations are running wild, driving us mad and frightening us to death, what can we do?

ACT reminds us that we can always come back to the present moment.  We don’t need our imagination to experience the present moment.  Why?  Because we are already here.  To experience the present moment we only need awareness.  And that means practicing our mindfulness skills.

It is mindfulness that can stop our imagination running wild.

For some wonderful resources on Mindfulness check out the Treasury of ACT Resources Page.

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 Thinkers and Thoughts

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I develop a better relationship with my thoughts?

A:  Remember, you are the thinker not the thought.

If we needed reminding that, “We are the Thinker, not the Thought”, then Rodin’s wonderful sculpture, “The Thinker”, should do the trick!

When I first discovered ACT I can remember the Tutor saying this to the group, and at the time I did not get it at all.

I was so fused with my stories, with my thoughts, that I couldn’t understand that my thoughts weren’t necessarily true, not necessarily very important even.  To me my thoughts were very definitely true and important.  I was thinking them and so they must be!  I took my thoughts very seriously.

It took a long time for me to come to grips with the idea of a distinction between me, the Thinker, and the thoughts that I created.

These are not easy concepts and at times I still fuse with my thoughts and stories.  When I do that I know that I am in trouble.  That’s when the Thought Defusion Techniques of ACT are so important.

I wrote “THE THINKER NOT THE THOUGHT” to remind me not to take my thoughts so seriously.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you take your thoughts too seriously?
  • Can you make a distinction between The Thinker and the Thought?
  • 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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THE THINKER NOT THE THOUGHT

Let’s remember it’s our thinking causes problems, that’s a fact,

But let’s not fall into the trap of thinking thoughts we think are facts,

For they are only our imaginings, and every mind will know

It’s the thinker not the thoughts themselves that really run the show.

It’s so easy to confuse it, to believe our thoughts are true,

But they’re only bits of language, strings of words just passing through,

And it helps if we can label them, these stories we conceive,

Until they lose a bit of impact, we’re becoming less naïve.

For when we see ourselves as thinkers we’re less likely to succumb

To the thoughts that we are thinking, we can watch them as they come

And then go, if we will let them, just like leaves upon a stream,

And we’re not caught up in their eddies, we know thoughts aren’t all they seem.

So we can choose to treat them differently, detach as they float by

For now we have a fresh perspective with our skilful thinker’s eye,

And we are free to spring the thinking trap in which we once were caught

Because we’ve stumbled on the secret, we’re the thinker not the thought.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

 If you enjoyed, “THE THINKER NOT THE THOUGHT” 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 …..

Moving on from the Thinker and the Thought , ACT also introduces the concepts of the Thinking Self and the Observer Self.  These are not easy concepts to understand, and yet they lie at the heart of ACT.

This is the explanation that Oliver, Hill and Morris give in their book:

“In ACT, we talk about our “Thinking Self”, Self as Content,  and our “Observing Self”, Self as Context.  The Thinking Self is that constant stream of thoughts and images that runs through our minds, almost every moment we are awake; the Observing Self is the place from which we notice all that mind-stuff, as well as every other part of our experience – both the world inside us and the world outside.”

There are different metaphors that ACT uses to try to convey the distinction.  The leaves on the stream, the waves on the sea, the clouds floating across the sky.

When we can see our thoughts as bits of content passing through we will not be so attached to them.   We will be able to stand back and watch them come and go without getting so worked up.

Just as the stream is not bothered by a few leaves or the sea pays little attention to the antics of a few waves or the sky does not get into a lather about a few clouds, we too can be more relaxed about a few thoughts.  We are bigger than our thoughts.  We are the stream, the sea, the sky.  We are Self as Context.

If you want to find out more about Self as Context then check out Russ Harris’ book

Product Details

This is a brilliant book from one of the leading trainers and authors of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Russ Harris has the knack of making even complex concepts seem simple and understandable.  A great read for beginners and more experienced practitioners alike.

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 FEELINGS

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I deal with my feelings?

A:  Let them come and go

ACT recognises that we have little control over our feelings.  Our feelings come and our feelings go, if we will let them.  Too often we hang on to our feelings, particularly our uncomfortable feelings.

Why we do this is a mystery isn’t it?  Why would we willingly hang on to feelings that hurt us when we could let them go?  Why would we deliberately think thoughts that cause us suffering when we could make a space, watch our thinking mind at work and recognise that we are not our thoughts, we are not our feelings.  They are a part of us, but only a part.  We are much more than our thoughts, much more than our feelings.

ACT encourages us to make that space so that we can defuse, defuse from our thoughts, defuse from our feelings.  If we reach a point where we can detach from our thoughts and our feelings we are making progress.  If we reach a point where we refuse to be defined by our feelings we are on the road to freedom.

When we look back on our lives it won’t be how we felt so much as what we did that will be important.  This is what ACT is all about.  Acting in spite of how we are feeling, not letting how we feel determine what we do.

I wrote “FEELINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you deal with your feelings?
  • What do you do to ensure that difficult feelings don’t stop you from taking action?
  • 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

finished6

FEELINGS

Let’s not be defined by our feelings, because feelings will just come and go,

So when one or another comes knocking, let’s be friendly and bid it hello,

And let’s make it a space at the table, for that’s what any good host would do,

But let’s not press it stay any longer, when it says it is just passing through.

For our feelings come by in procession, we can watch as they’re strutting their stuff,

Here comes fear who can make us feel weary, then there’s joy and we can’t get enough,

And it’s best that we stand back a little, realise they’re not meant to stay long,

Every day if we leave the door open, then our feelings can just move along.

For who wants to get stuck in a corner with a bore who just keeps droning on,

Maybe we need a gentle reminder it’s high time that this feeling was gone,

For no-one like to outstay their welcome so let’s give one another some space,

Then when feelings are ready to leave us, we can bid them goodbye with good grace.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

 If you enjoyed, “FEELINGS” 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 know how difficult it can be to defuse from difficult feelings and not let them dictate what we do.  One of the main benefits of ACT to my mind is the importance it attaches to defusion.

“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).”

If you want to learn more about Defusion Techniques check out

getselfhelp.co.uk

There are some great examples of metaphors that help us to see things differently.

Passengers on the Bus, Playground Bully, The River, The Beach Ball …….

They all help us to understand thoughts and emotions in a different way.  If you are having trouble with troublesome thoughts and emotions give them a try.

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 Creating Distance

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  What should I do when something awful happens?

A:  Give yourself some time and space. 

John Lennon once famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”, and it’s true isn’t it?

Sometimes life seems to be going so well, our plans come to fruition, we seem to be masters of our universe, we start to become complacent, and then …….

And then something happens!  Something happens to remind us that our illusion of control was just that, an illusion.  Whilst we were busy making other plans, life had other plans for us.

In the aftermath of an unforeseen, unwelcome event it is natural that our first instinctive reactions are of aversion, of alarm, of panic even.  This is not the time for action.  This is the time to give ourselves some time and space.  This is the time to allow time for the instinctive reaction to turn into a considered response.  Then it is time for action.

ACT encourages us to create this time and space.  ACT reminds us that we are not our feelings and our feelings are not us.  We are more than our feelings.  Our feelings come and go, they are only passing through.  It is not easy when we are in the throes of uncomfortable feelings but it does help if we can make that time and space to allow them to move through unimpeded, learn to watch them and get to know them instead of struggling with them or trying to change them.

I wrote the poem “BLOODIED BUT NOT BOWED” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with uncomfortable feelings?
  • What do you do when something awful happens?
  • 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-the-worst-is-over

POEM FOR TODAY

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BLOODIED BUT NOT BOWED

 

Life sometimes comes to bite us, something shocks us out the blue,

‘Twas completely unexpected and we don’t know what to do,

And for now we are left reeling, feeling shaken up and so

In the midst of battles raging it is best to take it slow.

There’ll be time enough for action, but for now we need a space,

Need a place where we can settle and our feelings start to face,

Let them move around within us, unimpeded if we can,

And accept what we are feeling for our feelings we can’t ban.

Oh it’s not what we’d have wanted and our instincts make us rail,

Try to change the now unchangeable but here we’re bound to fail,

And so though feelings coursing through us are now hitting us full force

They are natural reactions, so let’s let them run their course.

And then when the worst is over, as it will be if allowed

To move through without resistance, we’ll be bloodied but not bowed,

And when the time comes to take action we’ll be far more better placed

Than if we’d fought against our feelings and our energy laid waste.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “BLOODIED BUT NOT BOWED” 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 always like to leave the final word to ACT and so I leave you with a quotation which I found on getselfhelp.co.uk, a website which has lots of useful information.

ACT has a nifty technical term for creating distance, for making time and space, and it is one of the pillars on which Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is built.  That term is DEFUSION.

The quotation at getselfhelp.co.uk sums it up quite neatly.

“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).”

I will try to remember that the next time that Life springs a nasty surprise!

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 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

IMG_7485

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!

Product Details

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