Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help you to recover from trauma, stress, and negative events in your life. ACT is a form of mindfulness therapy that encourages you to confront your strong or negative feelings in order to achieve greater overall well-being. With the guidance of a therapist, ACT can help you identify your coping style and help reduce behaviors of avoidance.
ACT can also reinforce your commitment to changing your habits and developing new positive habits that help you achieve your goals. When there is a situation that you cannot control, it can feel very uncomfortable. ACT helps you to learn how to accept things that you cannot control. Learning to accept things you cannot control can allow you to move forward with self-acceptance and not be stuck in a place of worrying, obsessing, and feeling helpless. ACT teaches you to accept reality and work with what you have so that you feel that you are as in control of your life as possible.
One definition of acceptance is to accept reality as it is and move forward. Acceptance allows you to reduce avoiding things and learn to accept that negative feelings are sometimes an appropriate response to negative situations. ACT teaches you that challenges are part of life, and accepting the existence of these challenges can be key to making changes in behavior. Once you confront the challenges of your life, you can commit to making the changes you want to make. Some ways to foster acceptance include:
- Do not act, allow the feelings to happen
- Identify your challenges but also accept your strengths
- Recognize that you cannot be good at everything
- See the difficulty in front of you and do not try to avoid or suppress it
- Remember that how you react puts you in control of what you think and feel
In ACT, diffusion is when you see your thoughts and feelings as they truly are: some things that simply need to pass through you instead of something that will not end. Frequently, you cannot avoid an unpleasant experience. Although, in some situations where it is appropriate, you can use ACT skills to make an unpleasant experience more manageable. There are steps that can help:
- Observe how you feel physically during the situation
- Pay attention to and adjust self-talk away from negativity
- Look closely at what you are seeing in the situation and separate reality from projections and assumptions
- Re-evaluate the situation using your improved thinking
Conditions ACT May Help
ACT helps you change your thoughts and feelings so you come from a reality base. You can leave projections behind. ACT can help treat both mental and physical conditions, some of them are:
- Substance use disorders (SUD)
- Chronic pain
Fighting your past and fighting your emotions will make you feel stuck. Acceptance is the first step in practicing confident behavior which is based on your own values. Once you accept your challenge, you can find resilience and the ability to practice optimism. There are ways to incorporate this and improve your behavior:
- Stay in the present
- Remember your identity and values
- Committed action
ACT develops and expands psychological flexibility. With flexibility, you can embrace being open and have the ability to change your thoughts or behaviors so that they align with your own personal values and goals. Using ACT, you consistently will be able to see that it is bad for you to try to control your uncomfortable emotions and experiences and that doing so causes distress and a feeling of being stuck in hopelessness.
Changing your way of thinking and knowing you have alternatives that are valid and positive is extremely beneficial. Taking the steps to change your behavior while replacing the way that you think will result in changes to your attitude and your emotions. You will feel stronger and realize that you have options and some sense of control. Embracing your values and using mindfulness strategies, are the way to alter your response to things that make you feel out of control.
Sometimes situations arise that you have no control over which causes a very negative response in you, this is part of life. Using ACT consistently will, over time, change your coping mechanisms into something strong and helpful. Anyone can benefit from short-term ACT therapy, without any medication. You learn to change the way you relate to your emotions without letting negativity be in charge. To be successful in ACT, making a subtle change in your thinking will allow you to take action based on your values and not from raw and out-of-control emotions.
Human emotions are part of who people are, they are not problems to solve. Our experiences are not something that we can separate, nor can we keep only the ones we like or which feel good. Experiences are a part of who we are and what we develop into. In order to grow and make a shift in thinking, we have to realize that acceptance is a tool we need to work on shifting in a positive direction. The way that you talk to yourself during a negative event is key to making changes to modify your thinking. Once you face and accept a challenge, you can make a commitment to stop fighting your past ways of handling emotions and start practicing confident behavior based on your core values. Vanity Wellness Center offers integrative mindfulness therapies to help you meet your recovery goals. Call today at (866) 587-1737.