ACT and Mind Games

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

Q: How can I cope when Mind starts playing Mind Games?

A:  Defuse!

Our Mind is a wonderful thing.  It plans for us, analyses and makes judgements for us, alerts us to threats and dangers and, for much of the time, is an all-round good egg.  Where would we be without it?  Well I guess we would be like the cows munching in the field.  Quite happily enjoying the moment, not worrying where the next blade of grass is coming from.

So far so good.  However, our Mind also has the capacity to cause us much distress.  With its incredible imaginative powers this is where our wonderful Mind ensures that we part company from the cows!  Because we do worry where the next blade of grass is coming from, and more, much more.

Our wonderful Mind seldom rests.  Even when we are asleep it is still busy whirring away.  Mind is always at it.  When it is not planning and analysing and passing judgement, it is imagining, forecasting and projecting.  Unfortunately, due to the way it has evolved to keep us safe, Mind often looks on the black side, errs on the side of caution, and conjures up horror stories just to make sure we are paying attention.

In ACT we learn to look on our Mind with a bit of scepticism.  We learn that just because it thinks things that doesn’t mean they are true.  We learn that we are more than our thoughts, more than our feelings.  We learn that we are the Thinker, we are not the thought.  We learn about defusion.

When Mind starts conjuring up horror stories we can stop it in its tracks when we remember to defuse.  Mind loves to play mind games, but we do not have to fall for them.

I wrote “HAUNTINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • What do you do when Mind starts playing mind games?
  • Do you remember to defuse?
  • 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

HAUNTINGS

 

Some things come back to haunt us with alarming regularity,

We look back and see a re-run of the same old same story,

And we thought we’d got it beaten, but ‘twas only lying low,

Now it’s back with teeth to bite us, if we chew on it ‘twill grow.

Of a sudden it’s inflaming, stirring feelings we don’t like,

All those bodily sensations even now begin to strike,

As our Mind starts telling stories and a crisis re-enacts,

It was such a small occurrence, but Mind’s careless of the facts.

And if we are in Mind’s orbit without making a safe space,

We’re in danger of colliding with reactions out of place

Which eclipse a swift appraisal of what’s really going on,

For there’s little room for logic when for now all logic’s gone.

And so, although it isn’t easy when we’re caught out in this way,

When a something back to haunt us springs a comeback in today,

And we didn’t see it coming, and mistakenly believed

We’d consigned it into history, but how we were deceived.

But it’s not a real disaster, a catastrophe, or worse,

We can choose to treat this haunting as a blessing or a curse

If we remember it’s a story, just our latest mental ruse,

And it will melt away the moment we decide that we’ll defuse.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “HAUNTINGS” 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 …..

One of the greatest gifts of ACT is defusion.  How wonderful to know that when Mind starts playing its tricks we do have a powerful antidote at hand.  We can stop Mind in its tracks.  We can create some distance and look at the games it is playing without getting embroiled in the downward spiral.

If you need a reminder of some defusion techniques head over to getselfhelp.co.uk.  The article “Don’t Believe Everything You Think” is one I return to often!!

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 ANXIETY

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  What can I do with my anxiety?

A:  Make friends with it

einstein

Anxiety gets a very bad press.  That’s not surprising is it?  Anxiety is uncomfortable, unpleasant and usually unwelcome.  No wonder our first reaction, our natural reaction is to try to get rid of it.

In fact, talking of bad press, I was reading an article just yesterday entitled “Why worries put you at a greater risk of dementia”.  A recent study has shown that anxious people are one and a half times more likely to develop dementia, whilst those who suffer high anxiety at some point in their lives are 48 per cent more likely to suffer cognitive decline.

This is definitely not good news!!

The article goes on to state that,

“Anxious people tend to have more stress hormones, including cortisol – very high levels of it can damage brain areas such as the hippocampus which stores memory.”

The study appears in Alzheimer’s & Dementia:  The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

For people who suffer from anxiety attacks this does not make pleasant reading.  What to do?

Well for a start off we would do well to heed Einstein’s advice.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

  • Worrying about our anxiety will not help
  • Trying to think our way out of our anxiety will not help
  • Distraction and thought replacement will not help long term

So what to do?

Well ACT suggests something radically different.

  • Stop fighting our anxiety and start accepting it
  • Stop trying to hide from our anxiety and start exploring it
  • Stop trying to get rid of our anxiety and start letting it just be there
  • Stop letting our anxiety stop us doing things and start doing them anyway

Most of us who live with anxiety know how debilitating it can be.  Most of us who live with anxiety have spent a lot of time and effort trying to get rid of it, usually unsuccessfully.

I wrote “THE WARNING BELL” to remind me that there is another way.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with anxiety attacks?
  • What do you do when anxiety comes calling?
  • 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

DSC_0097.jpg

THE WARNING BELL

There’s a sinking in the stomach, there’s a dryness in the throat,

Everything was going swimmingly ‘til someone rocked the boat

And upset our equilibrium, and left us feeling low,

And we didn’t see it coming, this unwelcome hammer blow.

Now it leaves us with a feeling we don’t want and didn’t choose

And we go to great extremes to try to now this feeling lose,

To dislodge it, or deny it, to just make it go away,

But we’re doubling the trouble if we’re acting in this way.

For we could become more skilful, choose another strategy,

Make a space, create some distance and accept it willingly,

For this feeling that we’re feeling is now ours to observe

So for starters we could work out why it’s hitting such a nerve.

And it’s likely that our body is just sending us a sign

There is something it’s detected, that it’s wanting to headline,

Maybe threats on the horizon or a thing closer to home,

This is body-mind combining in, “I’m warning you” syndrome.

And so let’s thank our body nicely for it’s doing its job well

And take notice if we need to as it rings its warning bell,

And then just go about our business, do whatever’s next to do,

And leave our feelings to decide when it is time to move on through.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

 If you enjoyed, “THE WARNING BELL” 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 radically different approach to dealing with uncomfortable emotions, such as anxiety.

It may seem counter-intuitive to accept something we don’t like, but ACT is only reiterating what Einstein said all those years previously.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

If we want to deal more effectively with our anxiety then we have to become more skilful.  ACT offers us another way.

Check out the Treasure Trove of ACT Resources Page for some of my suggestions.  I don’t recommend anything I haven’t already read and I am confident that you will find all of these resources useful.

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 Present Moment

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  When will I finally get where I want to go?

A:  You are already here!

Dalai Lama Quote

The Dalai Lama said it well, didn’t he?  Well he would, wouldn’t he?

“Man lives as if  he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Why?

Because we forget that the present moment is the only place where we can actually do our living.

ACT is very clear about this.  Life is always lived in the present moment.  We can’t go back and change the past, we can’t go forward and control the future.  Yes, reflecting on the past and planning for the future are valuable activities and helpful, most of the time, but we are in trouble when we fuse with the past or future and lose contact with the present.

So, if we spend our lives worrying about the future or living in the past as if they are really here, we have turned our back on the present moment.  If we spend our time planning and projecting a wonderful tomorrow or looking back with regret at better times now gone, we have turned our back on the present moment.  This is not good news!  Each time we do this our opportunity to live well in the present is lost; and many of us do this a lot!

Sometimes too, we can become so dazzled by the idea of better times ahead that we don’t bother much with the present moment.  It doesn’t seem to measure up so we disregard it.  We are so focused on the destination that we forget to pay attention to the journey, and we miss out big-time.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to see that there is no destination, because wherever we are is the destination.  If we could adopt that mind-set then there would be no more waiting for better times because they would already be here, and we would act accordingly.

So, in ACT terms that doesn’t mean that we need to stop thinking about the future or the past but what it does mean is that we should try to become more flexible.   Choose to be in the present when that is needed, to be in the future when planning is required, or to be in the past when that works best.

Simple???  Not at all.  But worth the effort.

I wrote “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good are you at staying in the present moment?
  • How do you cope with thoughts that drag you back to the past or try to lure you into the future?
  • 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

couple on the beach

THE DESTINATION DAZZLE

Let’s not be dazzled by destination when the journey will suffice,

Nor trade in a passing pleasure, for it won’t come our way twice,

For when we are over focused on whatever lies afar,

We are blind to all the treasures that are scattered where we are.

Oh it’s easy to be hijacked by a future seemingly

That much shinier and finer than where we are presently,

But it’s only an illusion, just a dream that we have spun,

It’s the present we must look to for our moments in the sun.

And the destination dazzle does have power to eclipse

All those lovely little moments as it plays its brinkmanships

Saying, “This is insufficient, better times lie just ahead,”

But if we don’t call its bluff ‘twill say it still on our death-bed!

And so let’s put it in perspective, let’s allow ourselves to dream

But futures come with a health warning, they are rarely what they seem,

Whereas the present has the power to transform lives instantly

When we see our destination’s everywhere we happen to be.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “THE DESTINATION DAZZLE” 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 ……….

D J Moran, PHD, has posted an excellent video entitled  “Demystifying ACT – The Present Moment.

I found it really interesting and I am sure that you will too.  He talks about how research shows that most of us spend approximately 47% of our waking hours anywhere other than in the present moment.  We are, to quote Moran, “there and then, as opposed to here and now.”  And, of course when we are “there and then” we are missing out on the opportunity to do something meaningful “here and now!”

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