ACT and Becoming a Hero

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I get over my fear?

A:  Become a hero!

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.:

When we are facing difficult or unfamiliar situations it is natural to feel anxious, nervous, even afraid.  We are pre-programmed that way and it is what has kept us safe over the ages, it is how our species has survived to tell the tale.

It follows, therefore, that when we have these uncomfortable feelings, rather than trying to avoid them or deny them we would do better to acknowledge them, thank them even for trying to keep us safe, and then carry them with us as we take positive action.

ACT talks a lot about “experiential avoidance” and cites it as being a number one culprit for much that we feel goes wrong in our lives.  When we have uncomfortable feelings it is easier, much easier to use them as an excuse to avoid doing what we don’t feel like doing anyway.  Although that may make us feel better in the short term, ACT reminds us that in the longer term we are missing out two-fold.  Firstly, we don’t develop skills that would help us to tolerate and learn from internal unpleasant events, and secondly we miss out on all the good stuff we could do and the confidence we could build by doing it.

No one denies that uncomfortable feelings are unpleasant, but when we understand where they come from and why they are there we can maybe use them in a more productive way.  Using them doesn’t mean we’re losing them, but it does mean that we are not letting them stop us doing things that in the long term could make our lives richer and more meaningful.

If we can do this then bit by bit we will become more like the hero that we would like to be.

I wrote “BECOMING A HERO” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with uncomfortable feelings?
  • What strategies do you use to help you to act even when you don’t want to?
  • 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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BECOMING A HERO

 

Have we got the guts to do it, to step into the unknown?

Find the courage, if it’s needed, to move forward there alone

And be tolerant of strangeness as the customary declines,

Become a stranger in a country where we cannot read the signs.

There’s a multitude of reasons why we wash up in this place,

Some may be of our own choosing, but sometimes we’ll have to face

Situations most unwelcome we would rather far not meet,

But can we still return to where we were or is there no retreat?

And if retreating’s not an option what are we supposed to do,

Find a hidey hole to cower in and hope that help comes through,

Or can we be a little bolder, accept fear is here to stay

And if we’re going forward hand in hand it won’t get in our way.

And then despite our own misgivings we will get to make a choice,

Be like pioneers of yesteryear with reason to rejoice,

Because although the path was arduous and we were oft afraid

We learned that heroes aren’t born fearless, it is out of fear they’re made.

And so let’s treat our fear more gently, let’s not look on it with scorn,

But remember that a hero’s shaped, a hero’s not just born,

And then when fear is coursing through us we can choose how we react,

And if we want to be a hero, then despite our fear we’ll act.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “BECOMING A HERO” 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 …..

“Experiential avoidance” is such a key concept in ACT, that it is well worth trying to get our heads around it, even though it can be quite difficult to understand, at least I found it that way!

There are plenty of great resources on-line to help and one that I enjoyed was aptly named:

“Understanding Experiential Avoidance”

The article is to be found at thecareerpsychologist.com and shows how experiential avoidance spreads its tentacles in all sorts of places.

“Experiential avoidance is so common to everyone experiencing career paralysis and yet so unheard of that it needs some closer attention.  Here’s the formal definition:

“Attempts to avoid thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations, and other internal experiences even when doing so creates harm in the long-run.”  Hayes, Strosahl, Wilson, 1999

If you want to read more then head over to thecareerpsychologist.com.

It makes for good reading whatever stage of our lives we are at!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

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

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

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ACT and Flexing our Wings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I’d like to try something new but what if it all goes wrong?  What if I fall?

A:  Oh, but my darling what if you fly?

A shaky self confidence or fear of failure stops many of us from pursuing our passions.  We want guarantees before we try something new, but there are no guarantees.  If we are not prepared to live with our natural anxieties then we are denying ourselves the possibilities that could be ours if we dared to take a chance.

In ACT we are reminded that whilst we may feel safer by choosing not to take a step into the unknown there is a cost attached.  This cost is what ACT calls experiential avoidance.  Experiential avoidance is the natural human tendency we all have to avoid unpleasantness and discomfort.  In the external world that makes sense but in the internal world of thoughts and feelings it can lead to problems.  The more we try to avoid the natural feelings of anxiety and fear that accompany trying something new the smaller our world becomes.  The antidote to experiential avoidance is psychological flexibility and that is what ACT helps us to develop.

There is a great video entitled “Headstuck! What is Experiential Avoidance?” which explains it really clearly.   Do take a look.  I think you will enjoy it.  It certainly made me think again about the pitfalls of experiential avoidance.  Yes, it may seem to work in the short-term but in the long-term it leads to problems.

I wrote “FLEXING OUR WINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you experienced the pitfalls of experiential avoidance?
  • How do you cope with the negative feelings that go with trying something new?
  • 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-though-the-brink-may

POEM FOR TODAY

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FLEXING OUR WINGS

When we feel most uncomfortable is when we’d like to stay

Safe within the old parameters we’ve set up for today,

They’re the ones we’ve tried and tested, they’re the ones we know so well,

And it’s scary stepping out of them, and hence the warning bell

That reminds us of the dangers that lurk in the great unknown,

That encourages our reticence as seeds of doubt are sown,

And demand of us a certainty we can’t attain and so

It is easier to disengage and let the challenge go.

And how often have we done it, stepped up almost to the brink,

Been prepared almost to test our wings, only away to slink

As the warning bell rings louder, sings the siren song of shame

As we imagine ourselves failing, and so withdraw from the game.

But it only is a game you know, a game with much to teach,

All those lovely possibilities that could be in our reach

If we dared to take a chance, if we became prepared to try

And say, “I know there is a chance I’ll fall, but there’s a chance I’ll fly.”

And so next time discomfort visits us let’s try to braver be

And let’s not scurry back to safety, let’s abide uncertainty,

And though the brink may rise up scary let’s accept those scary things,

So we can find out what it feels like when we dare to flex our wings.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “FLEXING OUR WINGS” 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 haven’t already clicked on the video:

“Headstuck! What is Experiential Avoidance?”

then do yourself a favour and do it now!  It can be difficult getting your head around some of the concepts in ACT but “experiential avoidance” and its antidote “psychological flexibility” are so central that it is well worth getting a clear understanding of them.  This video certainly helped me.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-whateer

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 CHOICES

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  What can I do?

A:  Make a choice to take a chance!

It can feel very uncomfortable making a choice to take a chance.  It can feel very scary choosing to do something way out of our comfort zone, choosing to venture out into the unknown.  It is very tempting to scurry back to safety, to give up at the first hurdle, to throw in the towel before we have even tried.

I know that because I am on the brink of something new myself.  And it is scary.  So much could go wrong, but so much could go right too; so much to lose, but so much to gain too; so much I don’t know, but so much to discover too.  For every potential difficulty, flip the coin and there is a potential benefit hiding behind it.

What would ACT say?  Well at this moment I am very glad to have ACT to refer to.  And I know enough to know what ACT would say, and I am very glad to remind myself of it now.

ACT would say whatever  feelings and thoughts I am having now, accept them.  They are what they are and they are already here.  Struggling with them will just be a waste of energy and I could more usefully use that energy for a meaningful action which is in line with my values.

ACT would also remind me that although I may not like the discomfort I am feeling in the face of something new, such a feeling is natural in the circumstances.   I can cope with it and it will pass if I allow it to pass through.  I also know that if I allow the discomfort to stop me doing something worthwhile and meaningful, what ACT calls experiential avoidance, I will end up feeling worse not better in the long run.

So there we are.  I have reminded myself of all this and I feel better already.  Sometimes that is the best thing we can do for ourselves isn’t it?  If we have uncomfortable feelings don’t try to get rid of them, struggle with them or deny them, but just let them be there, they are there anyway, and do something meaningful, something that matters to us.

I wrote this post because I am  participating in  Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday.

“Feel-Good Friday is all about promoting self-care and “me-time”, which  we can all use when the stresses of life get to be too much.”

When I started writing this post I certainly didn’t feel very good, but I knew that writing it would make me focus on things that would be helpful and as a result I would feel better, and I do!!!!!

So thank you to Carol at Writeful Mind for helping me to have a Feel-Good Friday.

I wrote the poem “CROSSROADS” to remind me that if we want our lives to change sometimes, despite our discomfort, we have to make a choice to take a chance

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How willing are you to make a choice to take a chance?
  • How do you cope with the discomfort that accompanies change?
  • 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

SDI26681

CROSSROADS

Sometimes we reach a crossroads, we must make a choice, and we

Know deep down that it’s important, and we’re ready finally

To move in a new direction, leave the old landscape behind

And set off in search of something we are ready now to find.

We have put our faith in values for they’ve proved that they’re our friends

And we’re prepared for some discomfort, for we know discomfort ends

And delivers us a something that’s the loveliest it can give,

The tranquillity that says, “You’re living as you’re meant to live.”

And so if we are at a crossroads, let us pause a while to see

If we finally are ready to make changes finally,

For though we may have reached this juncture many times and backed away,

It could be that they’ve prepared us for a better choice today.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “CROSSROADS” 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 talks a lot about “experiential avoidance” and I have referred to it in previous posts too, including ACT and Committed Action.  It is definitely NOT a good thing!

In fact Dr Steven Hayes says of it in his wonderful book

“Experiential avoidance tends to artificially amplify the pain of presence and is the single biggest source of the pain of absence, since it is avoidance that most undermines positive actions.”

He goes on to say, “Of all the psychological processes known to science, experiential avoidance is one of the worst.” (Hayes, Masuda, et al. 2004).
As you can see, definitely NOT a good thing!

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 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 ……………………………………….

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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