ACT and Telling Stories

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I stop my thoughts driving me crazy?

A:  You can stop believing they’re true.

One of the things I liked most about ACT when I was first discovered it was the way it dealt with thoughts.

Our internal experience, ie our thoughts and our emotions, can be a rather unpleasant affair.  All the more so if we take our thoughts very seriously and believe that because we are thinking them our thoughts must be true.

When it was suggested that this might not actually be the case I couldn’t really get my head around it.  I believed that my thoughts were most definitely important and most definitely true.  I told myself some very favourite and very scary stories.  I still do at times.  When that happens it doesn’t take long before I am headed in a downward spiral.

Thanks to ACT though I am beginning to recognise when I am fused with my story.  In ACT, remember, it is not so much whether thoughts are true or false that is important as whether they are workable.  If they are helpful and moving us in a meaningful direction, great.  If they are not best to let them go.  Easier said than done?  Maybe, but definitely worth the effort.

I wrote “TELLING STORIES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you getting better at defusing from your stories?
  • Are you able to recognise fact from fiction?
  • 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

It-is-not-til-we-make

POEM FOR TODAY

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TELLING STORIES

Maybe we’re all churned up and anxious and things are not going so well,

It’s the same old same old story, it’s the one we love to tell,

And it’s now engraved so deeply that we think it must be true,

And yet it only is a story, truth to tell it’s nothing new.

Oh we may give it embellishments to make it scarier still,

All those nasty little nuances all guaranteed to fill

Us with feelings of foreboding, even now our body reacts,

For when our mind makes up its stories, for our bodies these are facts.

And it’s really not surprising that we’re all churned up inside,

Mind and body locked together in a roller coaster ride,

And it’s not ‘til we make distance from this story of renown

That we distinguish fact from fiction, and our body can calm down.

And so next time we tell a story and our stomach starts to churn,

And our heart is busy thumping and our throat begins to burn,

Let’s remember these are signals that we’ve made ourselves afraid,

And if we know it’s just a story then the feelings start to fade.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “TELLING STORIES” 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 is very interested in teaching us how to defuse from unhelpful thoughts and stories so that we are more free to take steps to move forward in more meaningful directions in our life.

Instead of being trapped and held hostage by unhelpful thoughts, ACT teaches us techniques to reduce their power over us so that we are more able to act in ways that are consistent with our values.

These techniques don’t have to be very fancy.  In fact anything that helps us to create distance and see our thoughts as just thoughts, words and images floating around in our head, will do the trick.

Cuddly toys and spectacle cases are just some of the props used in a great video by Joseph Rhinewine entitled “Fusion and Defusion in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.”  Check it out and see what you think.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will not act

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