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

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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 Making Progress

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: I’ve got so far to go.  How can I possibly reach my  destination?

A: Taking one step at a time.

ACT is quite clear.  The route to a meaningful life lies in discovering our purpose and then carrying it out.  In other words, a meaningful life, one that feels rich and vibrant, requires that we discover our values and then do things that reflect them.

This is more difficult than it sounds.  Sometimes discovering our purpose can feel like one big head-ache.  Life was much easier pre-purpose.  Of course it was. Life was easier when we lived on automatic pilot, life was much easier when we stayed within our comfort zone and life was much, much easier when we just did the same old, same old.

Easier yes, but also stagnant and stifling.  Easier yes, but also generating a feeling of discontent, a feeling of something being missing.

If we are still asking ourselves the question, “What’s it all about?” it’s likely we have yet to discover our purpose!!

Assuming we have discovered our purpose the question then is are we willing to pursue it?  Are we willing to put in the effort required?  Are we willing to take one step forward and two steps back?  Are we willing to accept that there will be times, perhaps many times, when we will feel uncomfortable, frustrated and unsure?  Are we willing to accept the discomfort and carry on anyway?

If the answer is yes, then happily we don’t have to do it all at once.  Happily we can take just one step at a time in a meaningful direction. I think I can manage that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you willing to accept the discomfort that comes with pursuing your purpose?
  • Are you willing to accept that the way will be strewn with obstacles and difficulties and carry on regardless?
  • 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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ONE STEP AT A TIME

It all seems so confusing, ‘twould be easier to stop,

There’s a mountain that needs climbing and the prize sits at the top,

And we’re stumbling in the foothills, have we even come that far?

Monkey mind’s already saying, “It’s too far this Shangri-La!”

And it’s tempting to believe it for the effort that’s required

Leaves us feeling more exhausted than it makes us feel inspired,

But in all of this confusion, let’s not be in any doubt,

The retreat we are considering is not our best way out.

For already we’ve moved forward and a new place we have reached,

It may not have been a pretty sight but boundaries we’ve breached

And we know a bit too much now, and what’s known can’t be unknown,

It is part of who we are now and ourselves we can’t disown.

And so it’s better we continue in a forward sort of way,

Making just a little progress, and then bit by bit each day

We’ll emerge from those old foothills and the mountain start to climb,

And one day we’ll reach the summit taking one step at a time.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “ONE STEP AT A TIME” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I first heard about this wonderful book in my ACT group and it is a story that has stayed with me ever since.

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Touching the Void tells the amazing story of Joe Simpson’s terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes.  Joe and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995.  A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that Joe was dead.

What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes for compelling reading.

However, from an ACT perspective, what this story also illustrates is how taking one step, in this case one excruciatingly painful crawl and a hop, at a time can lead to tremendous progress.  In Joe’s case his actual survival depended upon his taking that next terrible step.  With broken limbs and a dehydrated body, Joe Simpson is forced to make his way down a treacherous mountain, to his base camp.  In the story Simpson talks of a tiny voice in his mind, pushing him onward when everyone else had seemingly left him for dead.

God forbid we are ever faced with the challenges that Joe had to meet, but in our every day lives we all of us have that “Joe moment” when we have to decide whether or not to take that next step!   What Joe describes is the very definition of digging deep and is inspirational for all of us.

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 the Value Driven Life

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: My life has lost its sparkle. How can I get it back?

A: Return to your values.

 

If we’re honest it’s not so much our life that loses its sparkle as we stop doing the things that bring that sparkle into our life. Yes??

Life doesn’t just sparkle of its own accord.  We have to do the stuff that makes it sparkle.  And that stuff isn’t always that obvious.

It might, for instance, seem obvious that a sparkling life would be full of life’s goodies.  Therefore anyone who has plenty of money to buy those goodies would necessarily have a sparkling life.  Yes??  Well no, we know that’s not always true. A quick look around the people we know and those that we don’t, celebrities and otherwise, is enough to show us that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. Well we know that really don’t we?

There is enough research out there to show that spending a lifetime in pursuit of increasing one’s spending power is not necessarily the route to the sparkling life.  Well if not money, then what?  If not a sackful of life’s goodies, then what?

In ACT terms living a sparkling life is much more equated with living a life based on our values.   Obviously then we need to find out what our values are, and that’s not always easy.  However, if we want our lives to sparkle then it’s important that we invest time to discover what is important to us, what we want our lives to be about.

Once we know that, then we can shape what we do, our actions, around what matters, our values.  When they match up then our life will start to sparkle again.

TIP FOR TODAY

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How have you been able to use your values to make your life sparkle?
  • If your life lost its sparkle how did you get it back?
  • 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

Pebbles in the Stream

PEBBLES IN THE STREAM

Throw a pebble in the stream and watch the ripples run,

That’s what happens with an action, with a something that we’ve done,

It will have its repercussions, sometimes bad and sometimes good,

So if we are doing something let’s do something that we should.

It may be a call to action is at times best left ignored

When we’re feeling over anxious, over tired or just plain bored,

Or maybe we’re indecisive, and it then can do no harm

To withdraw for just a little ‘til we start to feel more calm.

And the question to be asked is if next morning we’ll be proud

Of an action that we’ve taken, and if not it’s disallowed,

And if we’re unsure of the answer let a value shed some light

On the act we’re contemplating, and we’ll soon know if it’s right.

And so if we prize loving kindness let us get it in our head

That a sharp retort or petty jibe is better left unsaid,

And if we say independence is a treasure to pursue

Then we’ll have to do the things that independent spirits do.

And the list is pretty endless, for all lives with values teem

And they’ll always know which pebbles we should throw into the stream,

And although life may seem easier when values we ignore,

It is the value driven life that always sparkles more.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “PEBBLES IN THE STREAM” 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 ……….

It can be difficult clarifying our values, but given their importance it is well worth the effort.  ACT literature is full of useful techniques to help us to work out and prioritize what really matters to us.   Because I am still reading

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by Oliver, Hill and Morris, their examples and worksheets are freshest in my mind, but I have also used Russ Harris’ excellent book too.

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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 Values and Goals

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

 Q: What’s the difference between a value and a goal?

A: A goal is a signpost, a value is a direction

  

A goal is not a value, a value is not a goal. It is helpful to know the difference.

When we talk about goals, we are usually talking about things we want to achieve, things that indicate that we have succeeded, signs that we are on the right path.  So we might say that we want to get a degree, become a best-selling writer, get married, have children etc, etc. These are all goals. They have an either or quality to them. We can tick them off our list as we achieve them, or not. A goal is a sign that we are on the right path, but it is not the path.

A value is the path. A value is the direction of travel.

When we talk about values we are talking about demonstrating things that are important to us, showing what purpose is meaningful to us. So we might say that creativity is important to us. Well we don’t have to be a best-selling writer to be creative. We can find many ways in our lives to be creative and we can choose to act in a creative way right now.

Or we might say that having loving relationships is important to us. Maybe we won’t get married, maybe we won’t have children, but we can still have loving relationships in our lives. We can choose to act in a loving way right now.

So a goal is not a value, and a value is not a goal. Goals can be helpful, goals can be motivating, but if we are over-focused on goals our lives can feel pressured and restricted. Values, though will always be our friend. They will infuse our lives with meaning and they will never let us down.

In ACTivate your Life

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it is suggested that we ask ourselves these two questions about our goals:

  1. What purpose is this goal serving?
  2. What will it enable me to do that is meaningful?

The writers say that hopefully this can clarify the purpose for pursuing a goal because sometimes we can become so focused on achieving goals that we lose sight of the purpose.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at differentiating between a value a goal?
  • Has living a goal fixated life caused problems for you?
  • How has living a value driven life made a difference in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

The North Star

VALUES AND GOALS

 

It helps to differentiate a value from a goal,

For they serve a different function and they play a different role,

So a life that’s goal fixated will have different things in store

To a life that’s value driven, that has values at its core.

It is true that goals for many are the order of the day,

“What today can I achieve?” are the first words we often say,

And the list is unforgiving, for as goal fixators know,

There is always more to do when we let goals dictate the show.

And yes, we get a sense of order and a purpose to pursue,

In the goal fixated life there’s always something we can do,

And it can be most rewarding, as achievement often is,

But what happens when we don’t achieve and end up in a tizz?

For some goals are unobtainable, and failures we’ll perceive

When life slaps us in the face and what we want we don’t receive,

Or the disappointments stacking as another goal we miss,

When we buy into the goal driven life we buy into all this.

Which makes a case for putting values at the core of life instead,

For they’ll never disappoint us, they’ll just help us forge ahead

In directions always meaningful, our very own north star,

For though our goals may come and go our values just stay where they are.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “VALUES AND GOALS” 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 a member of the

ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Community

If you are interested in ACT you will find lots to interest you there and I recommend that you visit often.

Dr Russ Harris has posted a great animated video there about

Values Vs Goals.

I loved it and it inspired this post.  Take a look.  I am sure you will love it too.

Which leads us to the ……

ACTivation Point!

So ……………………….

Just for today

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