How Acceptance, ACT, Can Help You With Your Problems

Acceptance and commitment-therapy, ACT, is one of two major parallel developments from the mindfulness movement.

The aim of the exercises is to stop avoiding, denying and struggling with inner emotions and uncomfortable thoughts, but instead accept these as appropriate responses to certain, often unavoidable, situations.

ACT focuses on that we have to make necessary changes and keep moving towards what is important in our lives regardless of accidents, obstacles or losses in our life that is a part of being human.

ACT according to Russ Harris details the process of problem identification even further to include identifying in more detail what contributes to or worsen the challenge, problem or issue (see

Entanglement with thoughts:

What memories, worries, fears, self-criticisms, or other unhelpful thoughts do you dwell on, or get “caught up” in, related to this issue?

What thoughts do you allow to hold you back or push you around or bring you down?

Life-draining actions:

What are you currently doing that makes your life worse in the long term:

  • that keeps you stuck
  • wastes your time or money
  • drains your energy
  • restricts your life, impacts negatively on your health, work or relationships
  • maintains or worsens the problems you are dealing with

Struggle with feelings:

What emotions, feelings, urges, impulses, or sensations (associated with this issue) do you fight with, avoid, suppress, try to get rid of, or otherwise struggle with?

Avoiding challenging situations:

What situations, activities, people or places are you avoiding or staying away from?

What have you quit,

withdrawn from, dropped out of?

What do you keep “putting off” until later?

More about ACT next week.

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