Health

What are the six core principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Feeling worried, unhappy or unfulfilled? Are you smiling on the outside, pretending that everything is okay, when really it’s not? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and there is a way out with ACT. But what is ACT, we hear you ask? It stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and works just in the same way as CBT or talking therapy. You need to address the situations you’re facing, so you’re able to process them in your mind and have a clearer vision going forward. Sound simple enough? What’s even better is that the principles of ACT are super easy to follow and better still, there are only six of them. This life-changing mindset will help you address those painful thoughts more effectively, ensure you are not afraid to take action and will help contribute to making your life richer and more meaningful. As with all therapy, results don’t happen over night, but with a lot of intensive practice and learning the points below, you can get there. Good luck! 

1) Defusion

When you process your thoughts in a different way then you would do typically, so they have less of an effect on you. The more you learn to think in this new way, the less your thoughts will be able to frighten, disturb, stress or depress you. Oh, and all that self-criticism you had before? Yeah, that’ll change too.

2) Expansion

When you allow your mind to think of hostile feelings and sensations, instead of trying to block them out. The more you become open-minded about these feelings, the less likely they’ll be able to bother you, allowing you to move on much more quickly so you can put your energy into something more productive.

3) Connection

Focusing on what is happening around you in the present moment, rather than thinking and worrying about what has happened in the past or what could happen in the future. The here and now are the only things you should be thinking about.

4) The observing self

Something which has been ignored by western psychology until recently. The more you get to know this part of yourself, the further you will be able to transform your relationship with difficult thoughts and feelings.

5) Values

It is important to understand and be aware of what your values are, in order to make your life more significant. Address them to find out what sort of person you want to become, what matters to you and what you want to stand for. These will all help guide you in the right direction and motivate you when change needs to happen.

6) Committed action

Your values and committed action run hand in hand to help your life become much more meaningful.  Make sure this action is something you can continue to do repeatedly, regardless of how many times you fail or go off track.

For more information read The Happiness Trap: a revolutionary mindfulness-based programme for overcoming stress, anxiety and depression (£10.99, Robinson) by Russ Harris.