ACT and Compassion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I be more positive towards ???

A:  Show a bit of compassion

ACT is about many things but at its heart it is always about personal growth.

All the things we learn in ACT, Mindfulness, Values Work, Defusion Techniques, Acceptance, Committed Action, Self as Context, they are all helping us to develop the psychological flexibility which will help us lead more meaningful lives, even in the face of life’s challenges.

Learning to show compassion, to ourselves and to others, is one of the most effective tools that we have in our kit-box.  Compassion is soft and strong at the same time.  It is very powerful.  If we are fearful, defensive, anxious, then a bit of compassion can work wonders.

I wrote “A BIT OF COMPASSION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at showing compassion?
  • Have you discovered the benefits of compassion?
  • 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-were-in-the-business

POEM FOR TODAY

 

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A BIT OF COMPASSION

A bit of compassion would not come amiss,

‘Stead of acting defensive we could first try this,

We could set aside prejudice, kindness impart,

And find out what it feels like to open our heart.

If we’re used to reacting in a certain way,

Maybe Mind senses trouble and says, “Stay away!”

Then it’s likely we’ve laid down a habit or two

Which precludes being kind as a something we do.

And that means we don’t know how we’d feel if we said,

“Thank you Mind, but today I’ll try kindness instead,

For I’ve seen how on others this kindness bestows

A great aura of warmth which then glows as it grows.”

And we’ve all seen the saints passing goodness around,

Maybe thought that such saints are too thin on the ground,

Not believed that we’re part of that army of good,

But we all have a chance to do good and we should.

Not for reasons of duty, that’s hard and it’s cold,

But to share in the secret a smile can unfold,

For if we’re in the business of personal growth

Then a bit of compassion is good for us both.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “A BIT OF COMPASSION” 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 are interested in learning more about ACT and Compassion this book looks like a great read.

The book description certainly whets the appetite.

About the Book

“Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is proven effective in the treatment of an array of disorders, including addiction, depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, and more. Evidence shows that mindfulness and acceptance exercises help clients connect with the moment, uncover their true values, and commit to positive change. But did you know that compassion focused exercises can also greatly increase clients’ psychological flexibility?

More and more, therapists are finding that the act of compassion-both towards oneself and towards others-can lead to greater emotional and physical well-being, increased distress tolerance, and a broader range of effective responses to stressful situations. One of the best advantages of compassion focused methods is how easily they can be integrated into an ACT approach.”

This is the first book on the market to provide an in-depth discussion of compassion in the context of ACT and other behavioural sciences.  If you, like me, believe in the benefits of compassion, it is great to see it being incorporated into ACT.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going to show

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 Acts of Kindness

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I create better memories?

A:  Be kinder

This post was inspired by a conversation that I had with a friend of mine recently.  At our stage in life it is not a bad idea to start thinking about what we really want to get out of the next few years when, God willing, we still have our health and our faculties!

After the usual list of places to go, people to see, things to experience, she said something that really struck a chord with me.  She said, “Be kinder!  The kinder we are the more lovely memories we are creating.”  And she is right, isn’t she?  It’s too easy to be snappy and impatient, especially with the people closest to us, the people who just happen to be in our orbit physically and emotionally.  Being kinder means we will be constantly creating more lovely memories to look back on, memories we can be proud of.

As if this needed reinforcing I was reading a post by the lovely Gabriele at The Wellness Worx yesterday, and guess what it was on exactly the same topic.  The post was entitled “Achieving Inner Character” and Gabriele was talking about a book that she had recently read by David Brooks, a New York Columnist.

What I particularly liked was the distinction that was made between resume virtues and eulogy virtues.

(Brooks, 2015).

“David refers to two sides of virtues: the resume virtues and the eulogy virtues. We believe the eulogy virtues are the more important virtues. Many of us know this. These are the virtues discussed at your funeral—kindness, compassion, faithfulness, honesty. However, in our culture we are taught the skills and strategies to achieve the resume virtues—those we use to succeed in the marketplace. The things we view as markers for success—beauty, status, career, power. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external image than we are on how to build inner character.  David wanted to know how those people he had met built their inner character.”

If you want to find out more then visit Gabriele at “The Wellness Worx”.  It makes for fascinating reading.

As usual, this Friday post was also inspired by the weekly event that Carol hosts at Writeful Mind.  Feel-Good Friday has become something that I think about during the week, and although ACT and Acts of Kindness wasn’t really written with that in mind, when I had written it I realised it fitted the bill.

The kinder we are, the better we feel.  Sounds just right for Feel-Good Friday to me!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Is kindness an important part of your life?
  • What do you think about the resume and eulogy virtues?
  • 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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ACTS OF KINDNESS

We always can be kinder, it isn’t hard to do,

We don’t need a special talent, it just takes a moment to

Still a tongue that would be bitter, find a smile to give away,

Yes, it’s easy to be kinder and we can begin today.

It will save us those occasions when we’re looking back in shame

On a series of exchanges when we played the blaming game,

When a strident voice was shouting and suddenly we knew

If we asked, “Who’s that shouting?” the reply would be, “It’s you!”

So we’d do well to plump for kindness, gentle words that can defuse

Sensitivities arising, we can learn to pick and choose

Kindly words to quell a quarrel, graciousness to staunch a flow

Of a conflict just erupting, we can choose to let it go.

And in the midst of all this kindness there’s a prize that’s ours to win

Of a benefit reciprocal, a feeling from within

That when we choose an act of kindness ‘stead of going on the attack,

We are making better memories for when we’re looking back.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “ACTS OF KINDNESS” 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 suppose that another way of looking at “eulogy virtues and resume virtues” would be in terms of what ACT refers to as values or goals.  And they are different, aren’t they?  Goals are the tangible things that we can measure by success or failure to achieve, the signposts along the way.  Values are the direction of travel.

I like the way David Brooks makes the distinction between external image and inner character.  It is a helpful way of better understanding the difference between values and goals.  Brooks maintains that eulogy virtues are more important and enduring than resume virtues.  I think that ACT would share that view.

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 Living Presently

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I’m fed up with fighting my feelings.  What can I do?

A:  Accept them.

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Nobody likes uncomfortable feelings, unpleasant thoughts, difficult emotions.  The natural reaction, the human reaction, is to fight against them, to try to get rid of them, to want to see them gone.  But sometimes the more we fight them the stronger they get, sometimes the more we deny them the more persistent they become and sometimes the louder we shout at them the louder they shout back.

It’s all very wearing.  We exhaust ourselves without exhausting them.

ACT suggests an alternative.  ACT suggests that instead of fighting our feelings we accept them, instead of denying our emotions we explore them, instead of challenging our thoughts we observe them.  It’s all a lot less hassle.  It doesn’t mean that they will necessarily disappear.  What it does mean, however, is that we will not waste our precious energy in futile struggle.  Then we will have that energy to do something useful, something meaningful.

I wrote “LIVING PRESENTLY” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you wear yourself out fighting your feelings?
  • Are you willing to give up the struggle and explore them instead?
  • 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

To-be-one-with-our

POEM FOR TODAY

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LIVING PRESENTLY

 

To go about our business in a present sort of way,

To accept what is occurring without pushing it away,

And be one with our experience, whatever it may be,

This is what it means when we are living presently.

It’s the laying down of struggle to allow the what-is in,

It’s a curious exploration when we’re willing to begin

To let all our thoughts and feelings unimpeded move on through,

When we’re living presently then this is what we do.

It’s an elegant alternative we now put to good use

Not in tying ourselves in knots, but rather shaking ourselves loose

From an overwhelming feeling or a discomforting thought,

When we’re watching from safe distance then we’re not in those knots caught.

So let’s go about our business in a present sort of way,

Be alert to what’s unfolding every moment of the day,

And let’s not become a victim of a stubborn clinging on

To a feeling or a thought which if we let it will be gone.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “LIVING PRESENTLY” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will feelings

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 KINDNESS

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I feel so mean.  How can I become kinder?

A:  In becoming kinder to yourself you become kinder to others.

kindness

The Bible tells us to, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”  I remember as a little girl in Chapel thinking that this meant that you had to put others before yourself and think of others first.  As I remember nobody encouraged my to think otherwise.  I guess it suited them!

As a grown up I ‘m having a bit of a re-think.  This Commandment doesn’t say, “Love thy neighbour better than thyself, or less than thyself, it says as thyself.”  Although there are plenty of selfish, egocentric people out there, it seems to me that this world is also brim full of people who don’t love themselves very much and therefore are incapable of loving anyone else either.

If we want to be kinder generally there is a case for starting with ourselves.  Being kind to ourselves seems to me to be a pre-requisite to being kind to others.  So, instead of being mean with ourselves let’s try being generous with ourselves, instead of being harsh with ourselves let’s try being kind to ourselves.

In ACT terms this may mean we have to defuse from the stories that we have been telling ourselves.  They are only stories after all.  That little girl in Chapel listened to lots of stories and thought they were true as little girls often do!  When we are grown up though we have a chance to decide for ourselves whether these stories are useful or not.  If they work for us that’s fine.  If they don’t it may be time to let them go.

Today I am making a case for kindness beginning at home.

I wrote the poem “KINDNESS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at being kind to yourself?
  • Is it time that you defused from some of your stories?
  • 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

Great Spangled Frittilary

KINDNESS

 

Let’s say a prayer for kindness, it’s our birth-right to be kind,

So if we want to be happy let’s our core of kindness find,

Let us poke around the embers ‘til they warm us from within

For it’s when we’re feeling warm inside that kindness can begin.

So the ear that’s poised to listen and the heart that opens wide

And the smiles bestowed unstintingly are fired from inside,

And it’s good that we remember that despite what others say

If we don’t top up the kindnesses we’ve none to give away.

So let’s start with little courtesies we to ourselves extend

Listen careful to the messages that mind and body send,

And if body is complaining or our mind is stretched and taut

Let us give ourselves some kindness if we’re feeling overwrought.

For there’s not one rule for others whilst our Self we disregard,

So if we’re tempted to be critical let’s play the kindness card

And not look on it as selfishness, but altruistically

For it’s when we are in surplus we can give it out for free.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “KINDNESS” 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 lot to say about the stories that we tell ourselves, the messages that we have internalised as children which may not be helpful to the adults that we now are.

ACT is not so much concerned with whether these stories are true or false but whether they are workable.  What workable means is are they working for us or against us in our lives now.  If a story is working, that’s great, it’s useful so hold on to it.  If it’s not then let it go.  It is just a story after all!

If you want to read more about stories and their impact, and discover ways to disentangle and unhook from unhelpful stories there are lots of ACT resources to help.  In my opinion, one of the best is Russ Harris’

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

pink kindness

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 Self Compassion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: Is Self Compassion more important than Self Esteem?

A: It would seem so!

Sometimes it happens, doesn’t it?  Someone says just the right thing at the right time, or you turn on the TV and there’s something showing that just resonates with you, or you go surfing the internet and there it is, an article just waiting to be read by you at exactly the right time you needed to read it!!  Spooky isn’t it?  Or fate, or karma or serendipity or whatever you want to call it!

Well it just happened to me!  I was just surfing around and I came across this great article in the Huffington Post written by Steven C Hayes, entitled “Is Self Compassion more important than Self Esteem?”. And it had me hooked, because it seems it is!

After years of trying to improve Mental Health by trying to improve Self Esteem, it seems that, to quote Hayes,

“What if the Self Esteem discussion is like the proverbial finger-pointing at the moon?”

“It seems that new research is suggesting this may be the case, and that a new concept – self compassion – could be vastly more important than self esteem when it comes to long-term mental health and success.”

I like the sound of that!  And do you know, I have an inkling he is right.  Why?

Well it happens so often doesn’t it?  Something goes wrong, something happens to hurt us, to upset us and what do we do?  We shout at ourselves, we tell ourselves that we are fools, idiots.  At the very time when we need to be kind to ourselves we are kicking ourselves, at the very time when we need to show ourselves some compassion we are harsh and cruel.  We don’t need enemies, we are our own worst enemy.

And so, ACT reminds us at such tricky times to be careful, to be aware.  Language is very powerful.  Because we are human beings we are verbal beings and we can use language to hurt ourselves or to help ourselves.  When we are hurting inside it is all too easy to turn on ourselves, to berate ourselves, to make things much worse.

Learning to accept ourselves, to be kind to ourselves is so much more effective. And we can start by replacing those harsh and cruel words with words of loving kindness.

I wrote “WORDS OF LOVING KINDNESS” to remind me of this!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at being good to yourself?
  • Are the words that you say to yourself words that you would like to hear?
  • 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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WORDS OF LOVING KINDNESS

Inside of us we’re children still, e’en though it’s buried deep,

For despite all our achievements early memories we keep

Of the times when we were vulnerable, uncertain and afraid,

So remember we are children still despite the strides we’ve made.

And sometimes a something happens that will trigger childish fears,

Our grown-up mask is slipping as the little child appears

And it’s time now to be gentle, and some soothing words to find,

Put our grown-ups to good use and to a little child be kind.

And so let’s not act all impatient or be critical or cruel

Turn a talk between a grown-up and a child into a duel,

But remember little children don’t take kindly to abuse,

It’s the words of loving kindness that will be of better use.

And so next time a something happens and we feel the child within

Is beginning to act childlike let’s set out their trust to win,

Not by urging them to actions that they can’t for now fulfil,

But by saying we’ll be there for them and that we always will.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “WORDS OF LOVING KINDESS” 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 ……….

Well the final word belongs to that fantastic article that I read first thing this morning and which inspired this post.

Is Self-Compassion More Important Than Self Esteem?

If you are in any doubt then I urge you to read the article.  Sometimes Self Compassion has had a bad press.  It can smack of selfishness, egocentricity, narcissism and all those other things which many of us have been taught are not “the right thing”, a sign of weakness.  And yet, a lack of self compassion may well be at the root of our problems.

In the article Hayes quotes Dr Kirstin Neff, one of the premier researchers in this area, by defining Self Compassion as, “consisting of three components during times of personal suffering and failure:

  1.  Treating oneself kindly
  2.  Recognising one’s struggles as part of the shared human experience
  3.  Holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness.

Given this context, the negativity or positivity of your thoughts isn’t what’s important.  It’s how you respond to those thoughts that matters.”

For an in-depth analysis of the subject I really do encourage you to read the article, but for me the final paragraph summed it up and I quote it here:

“It’s time for us to put down the idea that we have to think well of ourselves at all times to be mature, successful, functional, mentally healthy individuals. Indeed, this toxic idea can foster a kind of narcissistic ego-based self-story that is bound to blow up on us. Instead of increasing self-esteem content what we need to do is increase self-compassion as the context of all we do. That deflates ego-based self-stories, as we humbly accept our place as one amongst our fellow human beings, mindfully acknowledging that we all have self-doubt, we all suffer, we all fail from time to time, but none of that means we can’t live a life of meaning, purpose, and compassion for ourselves and others.” – Steven Hayes, PHD

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