You may have heard the old one-liner… "When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car." While ignorance may be bliss, being out of control of events that affect us can be terrifying. But what if those events are our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can help us take the wheel of our lives back.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has gained ground on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and is according to some meta studies equivalent to or better in terms of outcomes. While our primary interest in ACT is to help targets of workplace bullying deal with stress, PTSD, anxiety and depression it has also proven to be an effective tool for dealing with many other conditions including chronic pain, smoking cessation, self-harm, diabetes and weight management, addictions and eating disorders.
ACT is a mindfulness based approach that allows the patient to get a better understanding of their thoughts and how their internal dialog leads them to maladaptive behaviour.
In being aware of their thoughts and open to the feelings that arise from any given situation one is better able to keep things in perspective, accept what has happened or is happening and with full awareness develop strategies to move in the direction they've decided would provide the best outcome.
ACT works by following another acronym which also happens to be ACT.
Using mindfulness skills one would apply ACT in the following ways.
ACT is for you if you want to be less stressed and more engaged while living a fuller, more meaningful life that is in accordance with your higher values. Many people think of themselves as their physical body and their minds and the thoughts they are having.
However, there is more to the equation that ACT taps into. That part of the mind that is the "observer." It is not the body but it is aware of the body. It is not the thoughts we are having but it is aware of the thoughts as they go by.
While mindfulness and ACT principles are based in part on Buddhism, meditation and Eastern philosophy it should not be dismissed as having no foundation in science. More and more studies are finding ACT not only effective in treating many disorders but also offers a valuable approach to business and sports. In this context it is referred to as Acceptance and Commitment Training.
As with any approach designed to facilitate long term change, ACT is something you need to incorporate into your life. It will take more than reading a book, watching videos or even getting guidance from a counsellor.
Once you understand the benefits, know how it works and make it a part of your day, every day, you will, over time, see the positive transformation in your life.
ACT is a scientifically validated approach to transforming your life by freeing yourself from the struggle and consequent avoidance of difficult situations, thoughts, feelings and beliefs that leads to pain and maladaptive responses.
Learn as much as you can about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. As you do you will learn even more about yourself, your true self, what you need to do and the conviction to do it to create the kind of life that you really want.
You can find more information about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on Amazon.com here.