Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of therapy that can be utilised alone or in combination with CBT.
The main thrust of CBT is to recognise a negative thought and challenge it. The main objective of ACT is to observe a thought without judgement and to let it be. No challenging, no changing, just being in the moment whatever the moment brings.
ACT will teach you how to:
- overcome painful thoughts and feelings by not fighting them;
- develop compassion for yourself since you no longer make harsh judgments about your thoughts & feelings;
- be flexible and adapt to the fast changing world around you.
ACT was developed as a type of therapy to help people learn strategies to live life more in the now, more focused on important goals, and less focused on painful thoughts, feelings and experiences.
MINDFULNESS is commonly taught as a strategy of ACT.
Exercise in mindfulness.
You have 5 senses. When you focus on each of your senses, as you do a task, you will be fully in the moment. You will not be thinking of the past or the future, you will not be worrying about anything else. You will be totally present.
Whatever you experience through your five senses, you experience without judgement. You become a participant observer with no expectations or value judgments.
- Take an orange. Set your timer for 2 minutes. For the next 2 minutes you will peel and eat your orange focusing on each sense.
- When you peel your orange with your fingers, ask yourself: what does this look like, what does this feel like, what does this taste like, what does this sound like, what does this smell like?
- When you take a bite, as yourself: what does this look like, what does this feel like, what does this taste like, what does this sound like, what does this smell like?
After 2 minutes, the timer will ring and you can stop. You will have experienced 2 minutes of mindfulness which proves that you can control where you put your focus. Practice this throughout your day – when you take a shower, wash dishes, go for a walk etc.
The more you do, the more you will enjoy life and the more you will be switching off intrusive thoughts which are the cause of much of your anxiety.