ACT, its best friend COMPASSION, and EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!
And introducing COMPASSION, ACT’s best friend!

 

Q: What should I do with difficult feelings?

A: Learn from them!

Nobody likes difficult feelings, the ones that translate in the body as stomach upsets, aches and pains, headaches, skin complaints, constipation, diarrhoea, whatever! But there is no clearer signal that our feelings are trying to tell us something, something important.

These physical manifestations of something going on inside are our early warning systems, or more likely our repeated warning systems, our ignored warning systems. Most of us will have a weak spot in the body where our feelings gather, where they gurgle or rumble or shriek or whatever! We ignore them at our peril.

Feelings are evolution’s gift to us, although they often feel less like a blessing than a curse. When we are in danger, perceived or actual, our early warning system gets going, our physical reactions are instinctively triggered, as fight or flight hormones flood us. Feelings are the way that our body communicates with us. Without them we would be done for. Our feelings are our friends.

Human beings are programmed to move towards pleasure and away from pain. It therefore follows that when we feel unpleasant feelings we are going to instinctively want to get away from them. Being intelligent animals, we have any number of ways of doing this. We have learned to ignore them, deny them, displace them, distract them. What we have probably not learned so well is to befriend them, stay with them, explore them, learn from them.

And yet, this is what would be really intelligent. Our feelings flow through us with all sorts of useful information to help us to move more skilfully through the world. Developing a different relationship with our feelings can be the start of something wonderful.

I wrote “EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with difficult feelings?
  • Are you learning to develop a different, a more friendly relationship 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

EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS

Let’s not deny our feelings, nor else mix them up with facts,

Let’s acknowledge our sensations, how our body now reacts,

But let’s not get into a panic if there’s something we abhor,

For we will find the more we struggle then we’ll feel the feeling more.

It’s more skilful to accept it, to explore it, get to know

Where it is within our body that our feelings tend to show,

Oh, for me it is my tummy, gastroenteritis gone berserk,

I don’t like it when it happens, but I’m learning not to shirk

Away from messages it sends me, for it has something to say,

It alerts me to a something that is going wrong today,

And though I wish that it were other, would I really wish it gone?

It’s my early warning system, which I’d miss if I had none.

And so, although we may have feelings we deem difficult to bear,

Let’s remember they alert us to the dangers everywhere,

And if we get a bit more skilful, we can learn a trick or two

To help a feeling that’s unhelpful find a way to move on through.

© Corinne Shields, 2018

If you enjoyed “EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS” 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, and its best friend COMPASSION ……..

At the heart if ACT lies Mindfulness. At the heart of Mindfulness lies Awareness, a special way of noticing what is going on internally and externally. When we are being mindful we are simply noticing what is happening in a spirit of curiosity. We are not making judgments, we are learning to be with the what is, accepting it just as it is, without wanting to change it in any way.

This is a great way to develop a new and fruitful relationship with our thoughts and feelings. When feelings arise, as they will, we just notice them, explore them, really feel what they feel like, where they are located in our body, their texture, their shape.

Likewise with our thoughts. When thoughts arise, as they will, we watch them come and we let them go. We don’t get entangled with them, make them “sticky”. ACT has the potential to help us to improve our mental health. These are some of the powerful techniques that it uses to do so.

For some lovely quotes with an ACT theme visit the ACBS website. Here’s one to both start with and leave you with.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life? What can YOU do just for today to add some Compassion, some Kindness, into your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you? Is Compassion part of your life?

I am a student of ACT, I am learning about Compassion.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Honouring our Feelings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q: What should I do with uncomfortable feelings?

A:  Honour them.  Pay attention to the messages they send.

We all love lovely feelings.  Of course we do.  They make us feel good, flood us with a sense of well-being, and make us feel glad to be alive.  It’s great when our whole system is in harmony.  We feel like we are on top of the world and that’s where we want to stay.

Unfortunately, feelings aren’t like that.  They are fleeting, they come and go,  often appearing out of nowhere and leaving just as suddenly.  That’s the nature of feelings.  We can no more hang on to our good feelings than demand that our bad feelings either don’t come at all, or if they must, then they don’t hang around for too long.

We can spend a long time battling with our feelings, trying to change the ones we don’t like and trying to keep the ones we do.  It is an energy sapping, largely fruitless exercise.  ACT suggests another approach.  ACT suggests that we practice acceptance.  When we practice acceptance of our feelings, good, bad and indifferent we are able to conserve our energy for other more fruitful activities.

ACT also encourages us to develop a different relationship with our feelings. This is where “Honouring our Feelings” comes in.  Our feelings are powerful clues to things we may need to be aware of in our lives.  Gut reactions are nature’s way of alerting us to things we may need to pay attention to.  Our feelings are there to help us, our evolutionary friend.  When we view them in this way, rather than doing battle with them, we can learn to honour them, listen to them, and then decide whether they are relevant or not.

I wrote “HONOURING OUR FEELINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with your uncomfortable feelings?
  • Are you learning that accepting and honouring them might be a more useful strategy?
  • 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

HONOURING OUR FEELINGS

 

Let’s learn to honour our feelings, even when they agitate,

And let’s look on them with kindness, even when they angst create,

For they’re with us for a reason, they are trying to keep us safe,

And so, let’s give them space sufficient even when they jar and chafe.

There are times when feelings flood us with sensations of alarm,

When our heart starts pounding madly ‘til we feel ‘twill do us harm,

But it’s just our evolution sending messages so slick

That we forget it’s just a wondrous part of all that makes us tick.

And we’d wish that it were other, that we’d always feel just fine,

But our system is much wiser, it is able to define

Situations masquerading as a danger or a threat,

It won’t leave us unprotected, it will situations vet.

And this may bring some discomfort, but how fortunate are we

To possess our own antennae of such sensitivity

That they work on automatic, even when our mind’s elsewhere,

They are always working for us, always scanning everywhere.

And at times it can be wearing, we may wish they’d take a break,

Let us be a while oblivious to the fuss that they create,

But in the end, we know their value is immeasurable, and so

Even though they cause discomfort, we’ll just let them come and go.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “HONOURING OUR 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 have been away for a while.  For the last few weeks I have not had instant access to the internet and, being out of the loop, so to speak, I have had more time for reading and writing, more time for reflection.  It has been a great time, rather like being on a retreat.

During that time though, things happened that I had not been expecting, things that upset me and caused alot of uncomfortable feelings.  This poem is one consequence of those feelings.  Something that has really helped me with ACT is learning to use the power that strong emotions generate in a creative way.

The last few weeks have been very productive creatively.  When we are forced out of our normal routines, when we are cut off from the instant communications that the internet offers, there is room for other stuff to come in.  ACT has helped me alot during this time out.  I needed it and it did not fail.  I hope that it will do the same for you too.

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 Fear

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  How can I deal with my fearful feelings better?

A:  Explore them, breathe into them!

fear-quote

Fear is generally acknowledged to be an unpleasant emotion.  Dry throat, churning stomach, sweaty palms, pounding heart etc.  And yet, these are the same sensations that we experience when we are excited.  It’s just that fear gets a bad press whilst excitement, on the whole, doesn’t.

Excitement is usually associated with something positive, fear is not.  When we are afraid it is because we are putting our own negative interpretation on an event, a future event, because fear is usually future based.  When we are excited we are generally putting a positive spin on things.

ACT encourages us to become willing to accept our internal experiences, our thoughts and feelings, in a spirit of openness and curiosity.  Rather than struggling to get rid of feelings we don’t like ACT suggests that we get to know them, where these feelings locate in our body, their size, their texture.  When we adopt this approach we are less likely to be overwhelmed by them.

Given that the body’s reaction to fear and excitement is pretty much the same, this might help us to be less judgemental, become less frightened of our fear.

I wrote “FEAR” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you react to your fearful feelings?
  • Are you willing to become less hostile to them, maybe explore them a little?
  • 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

 

cave_ck

FEAR

 

Oh, how we’d love to banish it, this fear that haunts us so,

Love to kick it from its hiding place, before it starts to grow,

Or to give it scant attention, should it dare to raise its head,

But it’s likely when it does so we’re consumed by it instead.

Oh, we wish that it were other, that we had the power to choose

Which sweet feelings we would cling to, and which ones we would refuse,

But our feelings are not like that, they won’t to our bidding bend,

They just spring up automatically, they’re neither foe nor friend.

And if we would learn to treat them in a different sort of way,

Become willing to receive whatever ‘tis we feel today

In a spirit of acceptance, “Here comes wonder, here comes fear,”

Then we won’t put up a struggle against what’s already here.

And then whatever we are feeling is allowed sufficient space

To achieve its true proportions, to take up its rightful place,

Not as some crass interloper who has no right to occur,

But as just another feeling, it’s just one we don’t prefer.

But it’s one we’ll welcome anyway, it’s here now after all,

And so, it’s only common courtesy when feelings come to call

To acknowledge them politely, maybe call them by their name,

“Hello fear, I may not like you, but you’re welcome all the same.”

And then when we’re not resisting, we may find to our surprise

That whatever we are feeling is somehow cut back to size,

And we can go about our business, invite fear to come along,

For when we’re finished with resisting it, then fear can make us strong.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “FEAR” 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 …..

Two acronyms that are often used in ACT are FEAR, and its antidote ACT.

The FEAR acronym summarises core problems as stemming from:

  • Fusion with your thoughts
  • Evaluation of experience
  • Avoidance of your experience
  • Reason-giving for your behaviour

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy proposes its own acronym for how to deal with FEAR, ACT:

  • Accept your reactions and be present
  • Choose a valued direction
  • Take action

There is a very interesting article at elizabethweiss.org entitled:

“ACT Challenges the “Healthy Normality” Assumption,” which goes into more detail about how ACT can combat FEAR.  You might like to head over and check it out.

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 Unwelcome Visitors

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I deal with uncomfortable feelings?

A:  Treat them as visitors.  Learn to defuse.

When we view our feelings as old familiar friends this may help us to make a distinction between ourselves and our feelings.  This can be helpful.  When we can put distance between ourselves and our feelings we are beginning to defuse.  When we defuse we are beginning to see ourselves as separate from our feelings.  Our feelings are part of us but they are not all of us.  We are more than our feelings, far more than our feelings.

When we fuse with our feelings we say something like, “I am depressed, I am hopeless, I am no good.”  The feeling comes to define who we are, it overwhelms us at the same time as it diminishes us.

When we defuse we say something  like, “Here comes my old friend depression.   I wonder how long he is going to stick around this time.”  It’s different.

Putting labels on our feelings can help us to separate them out, to put distance between ourselves and our feelings.  When we treat them as visitors we have a different relationship with them.  We can give them houseroom but they are only staying temporarily.  They will be moving on.  We are still here.

I wrote “FLIMSY FLEETING FEELINGS” to remind me

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you becoming more skilled at defusion?
  • Do you recognise when you are fused 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

But-remember-all-these feelings

POEM FOR TODAY

IMG_5352

FLIMSY FLEETING FEELINGS

Our feelings come to visit us like old familiar friends,

Here’s the one we love to welcome, here’s another that descends

Like a cloud upon our consciousness, it’s heavy and it’s grey,

And once it’s installed in residence ‘twill likely stay all day.

And we never know quite what will come, they take us by surprise,

Life is seeming going swimmingly then sudden we capsize

And we’re drowning in a feeling we did not anticipate,

It just snuck up unexpected, now we’re in an awful state.

But remember all these feelings are just visiting and so

We need not be too attached to them for soon enough they’ll go,

For they are not things of substance, we can’t tie a feeling down,

And if we will learn to surf them then we find we will not drown.

And we’ll be free to take them with us no matter what we do,

They’ll just be there in the background ‘til they’re ready to move through,

And we will not have been held hostage, nor else given away our power

To our flimsy fleeting feelings that will change from hour to hour.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

 If you enjoyed, “FLIMSY FLEETING 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 …..

There is no doubt that some feelings are “stickier” than others.  We all have our own particular favourites, those feelings that seem to visit more often and stick around longer.  What to do?

Well the answer is always the same.  Recognise the feeling, whatever that feeling may be and use defusion techniques to unhook from it.  No it isn’t easy.  But we can learn the techniques, we can become more skilful.

Amongst our many old familiar friends Depression is particularly unwelcome.  If you find Depression showing up rather too regularly then you might like to check out an article at portlanddepressiontreatment.com.  Entitled “ACT Treatment of Depression” it makes for interesting reading.  Head on over and see what you think.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will

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 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

_SDI2468

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 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 Taking Action

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: How do I know if I am making progress?

A: If you are carrying on regardless!

Carrying on regardless!  What a challenge!  In the face of life’s traumas, in the face of life’s difficulties, in the face of disapproval and criticism and rejection and, and, and ….

The list goes on, and that’s even before we get started on the way that we sabotage ourselves, our own negativity, our own defeatism ….

And yet, if we could just carry on regardless what a wonderful thing it would be.  Not to get shunted off course by everything that happens, to be masters of our own ship, captains of our own fate. Sounds good doesn’t it?

In fact, this is what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is all about. Giving us the skills to respond more flexibly to what happens to us both externally and internally.  Giving us more choices, teaching us how to opt for behaviours that will move us in meaningful directions, encouraging us to observe our thoughts rather than become slaves to them.  In short, helping us to carry on regardless irrespective of what the world throws at us, irrespective of what our own Mind is telling us.

I wrote the poem “CARRY ON REGARDLESS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at carrying on regardless?
  • How do you cope when life throws up its challenges?
  • 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

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CARRY ON REGARDLESS

 

If we want to make progress then we’re going to have to try,

Make a move in a direction to discover by and by

What waits for us in the future, and if change we want to see

Then a dream is insufficient, change will need activity.

We will have to leave the shadows, step out brave into the light,

And not scurry back defeated the first time we have a fright,

We will have to bear discomfort, face up to it fair and square

And if Mind starts making trouble, then that trouble we must bear

And just carry on regardless, there’s a mantra we can say,

“In the face of negativity I will not slink away!”

For the prize is not the future, it is every time we choose

To move forward to our passion for then no way can we lose.

And so let’s say a prayer for progress, and let’s say it now out loud

So we remember when Mind’s whining, that though whining is allowed

We won’t be paying it much attention, for they’re just words after all,

And in comparison to a passion words are really pretty small.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “CARRRY ON REGARDLESS” 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 stands for Acceptance Commitment Therapy.  It challenges us to accept our thoughts and feelings and still commit to change.

So instead of saying,

“I want to change, BUT I am too anxious”,

we learn to say,

“I want to change, AND I am anxious about it.”

This subtle verbal and cognitive shift is the essence of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

It is actually very liberating.  Why?  Because it suggests that we can take action without first changing or eliminating feelings.  Rather than fighting the feeling attached to a behaviour, we can learn to accept it and observe ourselves having the feeling, but still take action.

One of the first self-help books I read many moons ago was Susan Jeffers “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”.

I haven’t read the book for years and I certainly can’t guarantee that its contents are authentic Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), but the title certainly is!  “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” is a great way of describing ACT!

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 Uncomfortable Feelings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  What can I do with uncomfortable feelings?

A:  Accept them!

None of us like uncomfortable feelings.  Why would we?  They make us feel uncomfortable and nobody likes that!  Unfortunately, being human it goes with the territory.  We are going to have uncomfortable feelings, a lot of them and a lot of the time!!  How we deal with them?  That’s the thing.

The natural reaction, the human reaction, is to try to either get rid of them, avoid them or distract ourselves from them.  That might work in the short term, but it doesn’t work in the long term and there is plenty of research to show that all of these techniques tend to make uncomfortable feelings come back more often and with more vengeance.  So what to do?

Well in ACT, the approach is rather different.  ACT suggests that a more effective way to deal with uncomfortable feelings is to cease the struggle, to open up to them and to let them be.  Like thoughts, feelings will move through us if we let them.  If we can create a space and see our feelings as something separate from ourselves, something that we are experiencing on a temporary basis and not something that defines us, we will not be so much in their thrall.

In the first instance this means becoming willing to accept the feeling, as it is without struggling to get rid of it, avoid it or distract ourselves from it.

One of the most famous sayings in ACT is, “If you’re not willing to have it, you will”.

When I first heard this I found it very confusing, and I still can at times.  There is, however, a good metaphor, ACT is very keen on metaphors, to throw light on it.  More of that later!

But for now back to becoming willing.

I wrote the poem “BECOMING WILLING” to remind me that there is an alternative way to deal with uncomfortable feelings.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you deal with uncomfortable feelings?
  • Are you willing to open up to uncomfortable feelings and explore them?
  • 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

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BECOMING WILLING

Let’s stop fighting with our feelings, let us simply let them be,

We don’t have to try to change them, rail against them constantly,

We can just relax into them, find out where our feelings sit,

And if we will breathe into them they may soften just a bit.

It may be our stomach’s churning or perhaps it feels like lead,

Or maybe the feeling’s shifted and it’s pounding in our head,

Or perhaps our heart is aching or our back feels broke in two,

That’s our cue to start to struggle, but we could try something new.

For we could just become willing to accept whatever’s here

For whatever’s here’s here anyway and it won’t disappear

Just because we do not want it, we can’t make a feeling move,

Feelings will not do our bidding just because we disapprove.

And so what willingness affords us is the chance to halve the pain,

For a struggle is redundant if we from it now abstain

Which leaves whatever we are feeling as a something to explore,

Instead of starting up a struggle which will aggravate it more.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “BECOMING WILLING” 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 ……….

Now back to that metaphor I promised you.

In their excellent book

Steven Hayes and Spencer Smith introduce the Willingness Scale.

In brief what we are asked to imagine are two radio dials, one easily seen, the other less visible and harder to see.  The easily seen dial is called Discomfort and it includes problems like uncomfortable thoughts, sensations or emotions, and has a dial range from 0 to 10.  This dial, although it looks like we can control it, has a mind of its own and sets itself where it likes rather than where we would prefer!

The second dial, the one at the back and less visible we’ll call Willingness and also has a range from 0 to 10.  This one we do have control over.  The more willing we are to be open to our experience as it is, directly without trying to manipulate it, avoid it, escape it or change it, the higher the dial is set.

In ACT terms the higher the Willingness dial is set the better!

As Hayes points out, “Finding that your Discomfort dial reads a high value and then setting your Willingness dial to a low value is a terrible combination.”

Learning how to reset these dials won’t necessarily make the initial discomfort go away, but it will stop us intensifying the original uncomfortable feelings and causing ourselves more suffering.

If you want to find out more about the dials and how you can make them work for you, READ THE BOOK!!

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 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

Product Details

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