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

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ACT and Reflection

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I feel I’ve weathered the worst.  Now what? 

A:  Give yourself some credit!

If you are like me then you tend to be overly self critical when things are going badly and overly dismissive when things are going well.  This is such a shame!

Too often we are very quick to take responsibility, too much responsibility, when we feel we are failing.  Too often we are far too slow to give ourselves credit when we have done something well.

Taking time out for reflection is a good thing.  ACT encourages this.  ACT encourages us to get in touch with our feelings, to think about our values and to really consider whether what we are doing is in line with those values.   ACT asks us to ask the question:

Is what I am doing taking me in the direction in which I want to go?

I wrote “HALLELUJA, VALUES WON!” to remind me of this.  I also wrote it to remind myself to give myself credit if credit is due!

I am writing this post partly because I am  participating in Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday.  So I want to thank Carol at “Feel-Good Friday” for hosting this weekly event.  It makes me think all week about something that I can post on Friday which is to do with “promoting self-care and me-time.”

So thank you Carol.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you make time for reflection?
  • Are you slow to give yourself credit if credit is due?
  • 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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HALLELUJA, VALUES WON!

 

Let’s give ourselves some credit when we feel we’ve progress made,

When we’ve steered through the detours and our fears begin to fade,

And we’ve held our ground ‘gainst tyranny and to ourselves been true,

Oh yes, let’s make time for reflection, give some credit where it’s due.

It may be that we’ve negotiated tricky times and now

Looking back we see how values pulled us through it all somehow,

And though at times we may have wobbled, had our backs against the wall,

When we called upon our values they made sure we didn’t fall.

And so let’s give ourselves some credit and our values let’s applaud

For they wouldn’t be drowned out no matter how hard tyrants roared,

And looking back we can take pleasure in a job that was well done

For when our values took on tyrants, hallelujah values won!

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “HALLELUJA, VALUES WON!” 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 …..

There is a very good explanation about the importance of self talk in an article written by Claudia Dewane at SocialWorkToday.

The article begins with an opening exchange between a Client and a Social Worker;

Client:  “I want to change, BUT I am too anxious.”

Social Worker:  “You want to change, AND you are anxious about it.”

Claudia Dewane discusses how, “This subtle and cognitive shift is the essence of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).  It suggests that a person can take action without first changing or eliminating feelings”.

I enjoyed the article.  It certainly gave me food for thought.

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 Feeling Good

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  How can I feel good more often?

A:  Do what you love more often.

 I am writing this post partly because I am  participating in Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday, and also because of something I read recently at The WellnessWorx , a post entitled “Don’t Measure or Judge your Journey.”

Gabriela’s post at The Wellness Worx reminded me that sometimes we can get so wrapped up in doing something for a reason that we completely forget that the action, whatever it is, can be sufficient in itself.  We don’t have to do something because of this or that.  We can just do it for its own sake.

I suppose this is what ACT means by being present.  When we are fully present to whatever it is that we are doing then the activity takes on an additional richness.  When we do not contaminate it with evaluations or judgements,  expectations or fears and just immerse ourselves in the experience of the here and now we are becoming more mindfulMindfulness means just that.  Being open to what is happening here and now.

I want to thank Carol at “Feel-Good Friday” for hosting this weekly event.  It makes me think all week about something that I can post on Friday which is to do with “promoting self-care and me-time.”

I was thinking about it yesterday and it inspired me to write this poem, “DOING WHAT WE LOVE”.  Why?  Because when we are doing what we love that is a sure-fire way to feel good!

So thank you Carol.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • What do you do that makes you feel good?
  • What could you do more of so that you feel good more often?
  • 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

Its-an-irony-exquisite

POEM FOR TODAY

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DOING WHAT WE LOVE

 

Just do it for the pleasure, don’t just do it for the gain,

Don’t just do it for the glory or the fame you might attain,

But enjoy the flame within you as creation sparks anew,

If you love what you are doing, what you’re doing is good for you.

If you make the world’s approval the hall-mark of your success

Then you’ll always be a hostage to its fancies more or less

As it changes the parameters, a little here and there

Until the more you try to please it, it appears the less to care.

And so don’t disrespect the glow inside if it is now about,

And don’t let the world’s approval be enough to snuff it out,

For it’s an irony exquisite, what we seek most things above

Is the feeling that we’re feeling when we’re doing what we love.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “DOING WHAT WE LOVE” 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 pillars of ACT is Mindfulness, being open to what is happening in the here and now.  When we are doing something that we love you would think that would be a sure-fire way to feel good.  If we do what we love more often, surely then we would feel good more often.  Yes, up to a point.

The problem is when we let all those niggly thoughts and worries creep in and pull us away from the present moment, from the potential enjoyment that we could experience from doing what we love.

ACT reminds us that developing our Mindfulness skills will help us to stay in the present moment more often and for longer.   We can only do what we love in the present moment, so when we are doing it let’s give ourselves a chance to experience it more fully.

I have recommended a great Mindfulness Book before and I do so again.

Product Details

Mark Williams’ and Danny Penman’s book is a great introduction to Mindfulness.  It comes with an accompanying CD and I still use it regularly.

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 CHOICES

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  What can I do?

A:  Make a choice to take a chance!

It can feel very uncomfortable making a choice to take a chance.  It can feel very scary choosing to do something way out of our comfort zone, choosing to venture out into the unknown.  It is very tempting to scurry back to safety, to give up at the first hurdle, to throw in the towel before we have even tried.

I know that because I am on the brink of something new myself.  And it is scary.  So much could go wrong, but so much could go right too; so much to lose, but so much to gain too; so much I don’t know, but so much to discover too.  For every potential difficulty, flip the coin and there is a potential benefit hiding behind it.

What would ACT say?  Well at this moment I am very glad to have ACT to refer to.  And I know enough to know what ACT would say, and I am very glad to remind myself of it now.

ACT would say whatever  feelings and thoughts I am having now, accept them.  They are what they are and they are already here.  Struggling with them will just be a waste of energy and I could more usefully use that energy for a meaningful action which is in line with my values.

ACT would also remind me that although I may not like the discomfort I am feeling in the face of something new, such a feeling is natural in the circumstances.   I can cope with it and it will pass if I allow it to pass through.  I also know that if I allow the discomfort to stop me doing something worthwhile and meaningful, what ACT calls experiential avoidance, I will end up feeling worse not better in the long run.

So there we are.  I have reminded myself of all this and I feel better already.  Sometimes that is the best thing we can do for ourselves isn’t it?  If we have uncomfortable feelings don’t try to get rid of them, struggle with them or deny them, but just let them be there, they are there anyway, and do something meaningful, something that matters to us.

I wrote this post because I am  participating in  Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday.

“Feel-Good Friday is all about promoting self-care and “me-time”, which  we can all use when the stresses of life get to be too much.”

When I started writing this post I certainly didn’t feel very good, but I knew that writing it would make me focus on things that would be helpful and as a result I would feel better, and I do!!!!!

So thank you to Carol at Writeful Mind for helping me to have a Feel-Good Friday.

I wrote the poem “CROSSROADS” to remind me that if we want our lives to change sometimes, despite our discomfort, we have to make a choice to take a chance

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How willing are you to make a choice to take a chance?
  • How do you cope with the discomfort that accompanies change?
  • 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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CROSSROADS

Sometimes we reach a crossroads, we must make a choice, and we

Know deep down that it’s important, and we’re ready finally

To move in a new direction, leave the old landscape behind

And set off in search of something we are ready now to find.

We have put our faith in values for they’ve proved that they’re our friends

And we’re prepared for some discomfort, for we know discomfort ends

And delivers us a something that’s the loveliest it can give,

The tranquillity that says, “You’re living as you’re meant to live.”

And so if we are at a crossroads, let us pause a while to see

If we finally are ready to make changes finally,

For though we may have reached this juncture many times and backed away,

It could be that they’ve prepared us for a better choice today.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “CROSSROADS” 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 talks a lot about “experiential avoidance” and I have referred to it in previous posts too, including ACT and Committed Action.  It is definitely NOT a good thing!

In fact Dr Steven Hayes says of it in his wonderful book

“Experiential avoidance tends to artificially amplify the pain of presence and is the single biggest source of the pain of absence, since it is avoidance that most undermines positive actions.”

He goes on to say, “Of all the psychological processes known to science, experiential avoidance is one of the worst.” (Hayes, Masuda, et al. 2004).
As you can see, definitely NOT a good thing!

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 TIME OUT

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  Everything’s getting on top of me.  What can I do?

A:  Take some time out.

This post is inspired by the Blogging 101 Day 13 Assignment, Try a Blogging Event!

I am participating in  Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday.

“Feel-Good Friday is all about promoting self-care and “me-time”, which  we can all use when the stresses of life get to be too much.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

And so here we go …….

We live in such a busy world.  24/7 it never stops moving, it never stops demanding, it never stops!  And we can get caught up in all that movement, all those demands, it can get to a point where we feel that we never stop either.

But ACT reminds us that our spirits need time out, we need time out.  We were built for contemplation as well as action, we were built for reflection as well as constant doing.  If we feel that the world is crowding in it is time to make some space, if we feel that we are drowning in a list of things to do, it is time to STOP! and consider whether what we are doing is actually worth doing.

Taking time out is a great way to develop our mindfulness skills, to increase our awareness and to consider whether what we are doing is taking us in the direction that we want to go.  Are our actions in line with our values?

Sometimes when we are at our most busy taking time out may be the best thing that we can do.

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

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How good at you at taking time out?
  • What things do you do to help you to relax and reflect?
  • 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

Its-good-to-take-some

POEM FOR TODAY

P1030714

TIME OUT

 

It’s good to take some time out and to give ourselves some space,

To remember what’s important and our values to embrace,

For it’s easy ‘midst the hubbub to become so much engrossed

That we’re acting without thinking of what really matters most.

Yes it’s good to take some time out and catch up with long lost friends,

Maybe stirring of the heartstrings as a thing of beauty sends

Us a message to be still now and just drink the beauty in,

Yes it’s good to re-connect with what is happening within.

For our time is very precious and sometimes we need to see

If the way that we are spending it’s the best that it can be,

For it’s not a resource infinite, e’en now it’s running out

So we’d better use it wisely whilst our time is still about.

And so let’s take a bit of time out and not look at it with guilt

For it’s worth its weight in gold if on it better lives are built,

And just a bit of space created gives us change to re-engage

With the things that really matter, no matter what our age.

 

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “TIME OUT” 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 …..

Dr Russ Harris is one of Australia’s foremost leaders of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and I refer to him often on this blog.

If you want to find out more about him and what he has to offer then visit him at his wonderful website ACT Mindfully.  You will not be disappointed!

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-some-time

 

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