ACT and Self Compassion

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

Q:  What is the difference between self esteem and self compassion?

A:  Self esteem comes and goes, self compassion is always available.

Image result for inspirational picture quotes when the student is ready

I have been away for a while but I have not been idle.  I have been busy.  I have been learning.  What I have been learning has been rather remarkable.  It is something that I want to share with you.

I have been learning about Self Compassion.  It is not something new to me, but it is something that, although I knew about it, I didn’t fancy pursuing at the time, so I put it away for future reference.  Well, that future reference came rather sooner than later.  When things go wrong, sometimes that is the very time, in the midst of our hurt and confusion, that other doors swing open, if we will let them.

I was sufficiently hurting to be open to something different.  Over the next few posts I will be sharing my journey into the world of self compassion with you.  I hope you will join me.

Self Compassion is not a soft option, although it may sound like it.  It requires courage, openness and a determination to learn about it and then to apply it.  It has the power to transform our lives.

I wrote “HEALING THE HEART” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you willing to discover the world of self compassion?
  • Are you open to new ways of thinking, new ways of being?
  • 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

HEALING THE HEART

 

We’re so good at criticising, we’re so used to falling short,

So adept at buying into the harsh lessons we’ve been taught

That we never do consider there might be another way

Which if we would just allow it has the power to change our day.

It’s a thing called self-compassion, well that has the strangest ring,

It implies we’re going soft, when that is really not our thing,

For we’ve shored up our defences, and we’ve learned how to stay strong,

Been the first to criticise ourselves when trouble comes along.

And no, it isn’t very pleasant being trapped inside our head,

Where the voice of accusation complements the voice of dread,

But by now it is a pattern we’re accustomed to, and so

We just let it do its thing and let the pattern grown and grow.

And so, life becomes a battle where we stay on red alert,

As brain goes about its business trying to stop us getting hurt,

And berates us for our carelessness or making a mistake,

Makes us think we should be perfect, well let’s give ourselves a break.

For perfection is a fairy tale, a story spread about

To prevent us being contented, it’s a myth that others shout

To perpetuate a mindset that does not encourage rest,

But sometimes a constant striving isn’t really for the best.

For as we rush round in circles and our stress begins to build,

And our body fills with tension and our mind will not be stilled,

In the middle of the mayhem let us stand a bit apart,

And remember self-compassion has the power to heal our heart.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

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

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Over the next few posts I shall be sharing my journey into self compassion with you, and sharing the resources that are helping me.

This is a voyage of discovery for me and I am currently reading a wonderful book by Paul Gilbert and Choden.

Product Details

It is fantastic when you discover something that resonates with you.  ACT did and does.  Self Compassion feels like the next right stage for me.  Maybe it will be 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 Mindfulness in Action

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop chasing my tail?

A:  Try a little Mindfulness!

Mindfulness is a real buzz word these days.  In an external world of increasing busyness it can be hard to find a place of peace.  In an internal world of spinning thoughts and constant conjecture it can be difficult to switch off.

The fact that Mindfulness is finding such popularity nowadays speaks for itself.  In such a hectic world more and more of us are looking for a way to slacken off the pace.  Mindfulness seems to offer an answer.  It is simple but it is not easy; it is relatively quick to learn and its benefits are relatively quickly felt; it is always at hand, as near as our next breath.

When we are going round in circles, both in the external and the internal world, Mindfulness can help us to find a way out.

I wrote “MINDFULNESS IN ACTION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you use Mindfulness in your life?
  • When do you find it most useful?
  • 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-lets-feel-the-life

POEM FOR TODAY

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MINDFULNESS IN ACTION

 

If Mind is busy wandering let’s bring it back to base,

Pay attention to our breathing and let’s slacken off the pace,

And let’s feel the life force fill us, energising everywhere,

This is Mindfulness in action, taking time to be aware.

Every moment it is possible, this being here and now,

When we notice Mind’s hijacking us, but now we won’t kowtow

To its constant little stories or its subtle siren calls,

We have skills we now can draw upon and so the hijack stalls.

And when we are in position, pure awareness kicking in,

Let’s explore what now is happening, outside us and within,

And let’s tune in to our senses, give them leave to roam around,

Let us sharpen our antennae, feel a touch, enjoy a sound.

There is so much we are missing when we’re hostage to our Mind,

When we disregard our senses which, too often left behind

May become a little deadened, dampened down through lack of use,

It maybe we’ll have to woo them back, take time to them seduce.

And so if we have been neglectful of our senses let us say

That we’ll take some time for Mindfulness, a little every day,

And then in time we’ll come to realise what can be hard to see,

That though a thinking Mind’s a marvel, it’s not all there is to me.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “MINDFULNESS IN ACTION” 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 really like the idea that Mindfulness is:

“simple but not easy.”

It makes you think that it is accessible, and it is.  It make you think that it is for all of us, not just the clever dicks, and it is.  It makes you think that if you put some effort into it then you can achieve results, and you can.

Christopher Bergland at Psychology Today has written a great article entitled “Mindfulness Made Simple”.  I really enjoyed it.  I’ll quote the opening paragraph to give you a flavour:

“Mindfulness has become a buzzword that is often misinterpreted.  What is mindfulness?  How can it benefit you?

Mindfulness is much more basic than most people realize.  In fact, I’ve isolated 3 easy steps to kick-start a state of mindfulness in a few seconds.  To kick-start a state of mindfulness all you have to do is:

STOP.  BREATHE.   THINK ABOUT YOUR THINKING.  Anybody can use this simple mindfulness technique throughout the day to stay calm, focused, optimistic and kind.”

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-i-will-tune-in

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 as Context

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I cope with turbulent events?

A:  See them from the viewpoint of Self as Context

awareness

The concept of “Self as Context” can be difficult to understand.  We are so used to thinking of ourselves as just who we think we are, a composite of complicated thoughts and feelings, that trying to get a handle of ourselves as something bigger, something more, is really challenging.

And yet we are something more.  There is more to us than our thoughts and our feelings.  Thoughts and feelings come and go but we are still here.  We were here at the beginning and we will be there at the end.  There is a part of us that is nothing to do with the thinking mind, there is a part of us that is pure awareness. The more time we spend with that part of us the more expanded we become, and not in the physical sense!

How do we do that?  Well we do have a key.  The key that opens the door to Self as Context is Mindfulness. Mindfulness is integral to ACT and ACT is integral to Mindfulness. The more we develop our Mindfulness Skills the more adept we will become in the developing the psychological flexibility that lies at the heart of ACT.  The two go together.

I wrote “SELF AS CONTEXT” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you making Mindfulness a part of your life?
  • Are you able to get a sense of yourself as “Self as Context“?
  • 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

self as context

POEM FOR TODAY

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SELF AS CONTEXT

 

At times of great upheaval when we’re feeling turned and tossed

It is hard to be accepting of a something that we’ve lost,

And when the world outside our window seems a strange and foreign place

Then these times of great upheaval can be difficult to face.

It may be at such a moment we should strive to solace find,

Maybe focus on the breath to give some respite to the mind,

And begin to stretch awareness, bring our senses into play,

We are more than just our thoughts so let’s explore that more today.

Let us see our Self as Context, like the ocean, like the sky,

View these turbulent events as waves and clouds just passing by,

Whilst we’ll still be here tomorrow, as we were just yesterday,

Such a focus isn’t easy but it can be ours today

If we see our Self as constant, the I am who will remain

When the storm has done its worst and we’ve survived the hurricane,

For though events may come to shake us they are only temporary,

And if we see our Self as Context, they’re just waves whilst we’re the sea.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “SELF AS CONTEXT” 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 …..

For a very clear overview of ACT and Mindfulness you might like to head over to getselfhelp.co.uk.

There is a very good section on Mindfulness of Emotions which I found particularly helpful.  It reminds us that:

“We often start to learn mindfulness skills by focusing our attention on our breath, our bodies, the environment or activities.  We can practice being mindful, and eventually, we can learn to start being mindful of emotions.

Being mindful of emotions helps us to stand back from the emotion, understand it, accept it, not to fear it or struggle against it, and it can have the added benefit of reducing the distress (although the aim is to learn to accept the experience, rather than lessen the distress.”

What follows is a suggestion for how to explore emotions mindfully.

Turbulent events trigger turbulent emotions.  Learning to deal with them more skilfully can only be a good thing.  Mindfulness offers us that alternative.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

thinking mind

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 Thought Processes

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop fretting about the future?

A:  Stay in the present moment and defuse.

When change is in the offing mind does what it is programmed to do.  It starts planning, analysing and organising if we are lucky.  If we are not so lucky it will start worrying and fretting.  If we are really unlucky it will start conjuring up all sorts of horror stories to frighten us half to death!

It is no good getting all upset and trying to stop it in its tracks.  Once mind is on a mission, mind is on a mission!

What we can do though is to take a step back and watch it at its work.  If we have been practicing mindfulness we should be getting quite good at this by now.  If we have been using our defusion techniques regularly then we should be getting quite adept at taking the sting out of our imagination’s worst excesses.

This is what we are learning with ACT.  It is not so much about challenging our thoughts as developing a different relationship with them.  We can learn to observe our mind at work without becoming entangled in the thoughts that it produces.  Amazing really!

I wrote “SOMETHING LOVELY AND DIVINE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you learning to observe your thought processes?
  • Can you stand back without getting embroiled in your thoughts?
  • 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

With-one-foot-in-the future

POEM FOR TODAY

IMG_4105

SOMETHING LOVELY AND DIVINE

A change is in the offing and already mind’s at work

Fabricating its projections, here’s a downside, here’s a perk,

And with one foot in the future we’re already miles away

From the beauty that’s on offer if we just stayed in today.

Oh our mind’s already plotting how to minimise the pain,

How to organise the what’s to come and maximise the gain

Without a nod to what’s occurring in the lovely here and now,

There’s a sunset all resplendent and we’re missing it somehow.

And here’s a chance to lend a listening ear, a comfort to bestow,

But we are only here half-hearted for our mind’s running the show,

Stealing moments from the present for a maybe never-land

But can awareness weave its magic, and help us to understand

That our life’s made up of moments, how we spend them that’s the thing,

Can we learn to love the present, and accept what it will bring

With its myriad little nuances, can we say, “It’s all fine,

Because I’ll find within its precincts something lovely and divine.”

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “SOMETHING LOVELY AND DIVINE” 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 finding out more about ACT and CBT, what they share and how they differ, there is a very good article at the ACBS website entitled:

“Comparing ACT and CBT”

What really interests me is how they differ in relation to thoughts, particularly difficult thoughts, and how to deal with them.

According to the article,

“ACT has moved away from the traditional CBT emphasis on changing or correcting one’s thoughts in order to alleviate suffering.  Instead, ACT aims to alter the functions of our private experiences (thoughts, feelings, memories, bodily reactions), so they no longer entangle us. Said another way, ACT aims to change our relationship with these private events so we can become free from their grip, and free from the patterns that bind us and prevent us from living a flexible, meaningful, and enjoyable life.  In the service of these aims, ACT incorporates acceptance strategies, mindfulness techniques, and a wide range of behavioural approaches already known to be effective from CBT.

I came from CBT to ACT.  For me it was a natural and welcome progression.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going monkey

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 Flow

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  Where can I find flow?

A:  In the present moment

A lot is written about “Flow“, but what exactly is it?  Well in this instance I am not talking about flow in the usual sense of “going with the flow”, although “going with the flow” could be said to be one of the principal tenets of ACT.

In this instance I am talking about another aspect of flow.  In Positive Psychology flow, also known as the zone, is

“The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.  In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.  Achieving flow is often colloquially referred to as being in the zone.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

One of the great things about flow is that it gives us an opportunity to experience that aspect of ourselves in which everything is in harmony.  In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channelled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.

For those of us who have problems with emotions what a wonderful thing to be able to do.  To find and then lose ourselves in an activity in which everything, including our emotions, are in harmony.

Where can we find this experience?  Where can we find this flow?  Only in the present moment.

I wrote “FLOW” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you found activities that trigger the feeling of flow?
  • What sort of things do you lose yourself in?
  • 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

Oh-yes-a-heart-thats

POEM FOR TODAY

file8611313476846

FLOW

If a heart is full of fervour and a glint is in the eye,

And the words are spilling out without us even having to try,

Then that’s a sign for those amongst us who’re already in the know

That the fire in the belly is a sign we’re in the flow.

It’s a gift beyond all measure, it surpasses any things,

If you’ve been there in the flow you know exactly what flow brings,

It is the time that’s become timeless, it’s the being quite at ease,

It is the feeling that you get just like a bird upon the breeze.

Oh yes, a heart that’s full of fervour is a lovely thing indeed,

It lends a lustre to the spirit and sends spirit to the deed

And of a sudden we’re in action, and it’s easy come and go,

For that’s the prize that is on offer when we’re caught up in the flow.

And so let’s find a bit of fire, let us winkle fervour out,

And let’s allow ourselves to know what flow is really all about,

And let’s not make ourselves a stranger to the fire that lies within

For it waits only for a spark so that our own flow can begin.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “FLOW” 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 Flow, then Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book is the classic.

It is a great read.

From an ACT perspective the idea of Flow also sits easily.  ACT puts much emphasis on the power of the present moment, the only moment where we can live our life, the only moment where we can experience the feeling of flow.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-Im-going flow

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 Downtime

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I’m not sure if where I’m headed is where I want to go.  What now?

A:  Take some downtime

Life is hectic.  We live in a world that is continually demanding more and more of us.  We are so connected that sometimes it feels as if it is virtually impossible to switch off.  In the midst of all this clamour, all this noise, it is easy to get lost.  Sometimes it feels as if we have become strangers to ourselves.  What to do?

ACT suggests that periods of quiet, times when we settle still and become more mindful of what is going on both inside and outside is helpful to us.  When we are on automatic pilot we are not really present to what is going on in our lives.

Sometimes we may prefer that!  Sometimes we deliberately keep ourselves busy to distract ourselves from the reality of our experience.  But we can only do that for so long.  Taking downtime helps us to make sense of what is going on, helps us to make better choices.  It doesn’t have to be an extended period of time.  Even a few moments of being mindful practiced regularly will improve our relationship with ourselves.

I wrote “DOWNTIME” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at taking downtime?
  • Do you remember to be mindful regularly?
  • 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

A-bit-of-downtime-coming

POEM FOR TODAY

DSC04652

DOWNTIME

A bit of downtime coming, and a chance to stand apart

From the normal life we’re living, and to listen to our heart

Which may clamour for attention in a world that takes its toll,

Yes a little bit of downtime can do wonders for the soul.

It is hard to glimpse horizons when we’re struggling at sea,

Or perceive the bigger picture when we’re living thoughtlessly,

When one thing leads to another, just like cogs in a machine,

And we don’t know where we’re going and we’re not sure where we’ve been.

Oh yes it’s good to take some downtime, to make time ourselves to know,

To decide if where we’re going is still where we want to go,

And in the midst of our uncertainty be brave enough to say,

“If the way I live’s not working, then I’ll find another way.”

And so if we are due some downtime, and we’ll know if it is due

If our heartstrings have been pulling, for they’re giving us a clue

That we may have lost direction, wandered up a cul-de-sac,

And now this little bit of downtime has a chance to draw us back.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “DOWNTIME” 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 read yesterday that almost £1 billion is being set aside by the British Government in a bid to transform mental health services across the UK.

With one in four people expected to develop a mental health problem this year alone – such as depression and anxiety – and suicide now the leading cause of death for men under 50, the Prime Minister will say it is time to stop sweeping the issue under the carpet.

This is good news!  For the first time, there will be waiting time targets for teenagers with eating disorders.  There will also be a new waiting time target for people experiencing psychosis.  £290 million is pledged towards more beds in mother and baby units, and extra classes for new mothers before and after their baby is born will give 30,000 more women each year until 2020 access to specialist mental healthcare.

There is a recognition that the health of the nation means both physical and mental health and, with a cost of billions to the economy in terms of lost working days and pressures on a creaking NHS, mental health is now emerging as a priority.

Money will be ring-fenced for the Talking Therapies and those of us who have benefitted from ACT and Mindfulness have a responsibility to share the message.

Mindfulness is becoming mainstream.  ACT is one of the therapies of choice.  Let us not be shy to pass the message on.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-some peace

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