The aim of ACT exercises is to:
-Stop avoiding, denying and struggling with inner emotions and uncomfortable thoughts, but instead expect them to return and accept them as appropriate responses to certain, often unavoidable, situations.
-Make necessary changes and keep moving towards what is important and enriching in our lives regardless of unavoidable accidents, obstacles or losses in our lives.
Today’s post is about an expansion exercise, see Russ Harris, 2009, www.actmadesimple.com:
Expansion means open up and make room for difficult thoughts, feelings, urges and sensations and allow them to ‘flow through’ your body without a struggle.
You don’t have to like or want these thoughts or feelings –just make room for them and allow them to be there even though they are unpleasant.
Once this skill is learned, if these feelings should resurface, you can rapidly make room for them and let them ‘flow on by’ – so that you can invest your time and energy in doing meaningful life-enhancing activities instead of struggling.
Aim to practice at least once a day breathing into and making room for difficult feelings and sensations and note:
-The difficult feelings and thoughts
-How many minutes practiced and when your struggle switched on scale: 0 = struggle switch off 5 = halfway point (tolerance) to 10 = struggle switch on
-Benefits of the exercise
-Difficulties with the exercise
More about ACT next week.