Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a therapeutic technique that helps people overcome the feeling of being trapped in their thoughts. It teaches people to accept their thoughts, reactions, and emotions without any judgment.
It also trains them to commit to making changes in their environment, to stop the thoughts or worries from occurring again.
Acceptance Commitment Therapy is like an umbrella that covers different treatment methods under one canopy. It has four key components which are “mindfulness, acceptance, values-based action, and non-judgment”.
The goal of ACT is to help clients live more fully in the present while still maintaining their long-term goals.
It helps clients accept both the reality and their reactions to that reality, rather than fighting against it. The acceptance of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings can lead to decreased emotional distress and increased happiness.
ACT helps you develop the mental skill of Psychological Flexibility. It allows a person to view their thoughts and feelings as passing events (like an oncoming storm).
What is Acceptance Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an approach that emphasizes mindfulness, acceptance, and values.
ACT is based on the idea that psychological difficulties are caused by avoidance behaviors or struggling with emotional issues in an effort to improve one’s mood.
ACT teaches people to be present in the now and see life as it happens in the present moment.
ACT helps people to accept their moods and thoughts without trying to change them. ACT helps people be more aware of what they want out of life, and create the meaning and purpose of their existence.
It’s important for individuals with depression or anxiety disorders to practice ACT, so they can learn how not to avoid their feelings, but find strategies that allow them to move forward despite their feelings of pain or discomfort.
At its core, ACT is mindfulness, and an excellent way to attain mindfulness is to focus on one of your senses. When you connect intimately with one of your senses, it helps you immerse yourself in the present moment.
For example, take a look around you right now and observe five unique things — it instantly helps you become mindful of the present moment.
What are The Benefits of Acceptance Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance Commitment Therapy focuses on acceptance and the connection between thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors. The benefits of this therapy are many.
ACT helps patients get in touch with their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and actions in the present moment. It also teaches them how to focus on living life to its fullest while accepting what they cannot change.
This form of therapy is used to address fears, anxieties, negative thought patterns, and trauma-related symptoms.
The ACT practitioners teach patients skills that help them manage these challenging thoughts and emotions while still being committed to the goals they have set for themselves.
For example, they often instruct patients on the various coping strategies necessary for using healthy distraction techniques when encountering upsetting stimuli.
1. ACT Provides an Effective Way Out of Depression
In a mental health survey, they found that depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States. In the UK, 1 out of 20 people experience it in their lifetime.
This is a relatively significant number and there are various consequences of depression, which include isolation, loneliness, and negativity. There are many ways to fight this mental illness, but one way could be Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
ACT provides an effective way out of depression by accepting what you cannot change and committing to what you can do to move forward in life.
It will be best if you get help from a therapist because ACT is not a miracle cure-all pill that could fix everything overnight.
Research has found that mindfulness is also helpful in preventing the relapse of depressive symptoms.
2. ACT Helps You Overcome Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy that focuses on acceptance, mindfulness, and values. ACT therapists have used it in the past to help people stop smoking, leave drinking alcohol, and lose weight.
This therapy has proven helpful in helping people change their behavior in the following ways:
— They have learned that life is not always under their control.
— They have become aware of how they are when they are in distress.
— They have found it easier to let go when they get disappointed or frustrated.
3. ACT Can Widen Your Worldview
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps change perspectives on painful experiences and encourages us to live more fully in the present moment. ACT also lessens our anxiety about the uncertainties of the future.
The present moment is always the most important because it’s the only thing we can change.
ACT also encourages us to live more fully in the present by helping us to identify and connect with our values and what is important to us in life.
This will help eliminate damaging feelings of regret, shame, and guilt that often keep people from living fulfilling lives.
When we have a broad perspective on pain, we will be able to live more fully in the present. And when we live more fully in the present, we will have a broader perspective on pain.
ACT is also a helpful way to instill a compassionate approach at the workplace.
A business needs to be committed to innovation and imagination-building, both for its employees and its customers. When a business models its worldview on this kind of compassion, as provided by ACT, it can lead to more shared success for all concerned.
4. ACT Can Help Ease Your Biggest Fears
Three of the biggest fears are the fear of change, the fear of rejection, and the fear of the unknown.
ACT helps tackle these in 3 ways:
1- It provides a safe space to talk about your fears and clarify them.
2- It helps in identifying what you can do to confront these fears and
3- it gives you a readily available tool to help you keep those fears at bay.
ACT is a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach designed to help individuals identify, understand, and change thoughts and feelings that lead to unhealthy behaviors. The ACT program will help your child develop the skills they need to cope with their anxiety.
Why You Should Consider ACT for Your Mental Health Needs
ACT can provide you with a more sustainable, longer-lasting change for your mental health by targeting the root causes of your problems. ACT uses various techniques to promote wellness in all areas of life.
We can use ACT to improve relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, manage stress, build self-confidence, or deal with psychological issues like anxiety or depression. Some benefits of ACT are:
— Reducing your sense of psychological or emotional discomfort by addressing the root cause of the problem
— Producing a more robust and longer-lasting improvement in your mental health than traditional treatments such as CBT and medication
— Improving your quality of life and relationships with others
— Alleviating symptoms associated with chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders such as OCD and panic disorder
— Reducing substance abuse relapse rates
ACT process is a strong framework to change your perspective on the world. When you use ACT, you can take control of your emotions and thoughts and make choices that will improve both your mental and physical health.
Happiness does not have to mean feeling good and having positive emotions. Happiness can also mean living a wholesome and meaningful life. ACT helps you achieve that.
ACT has been proven effective in helping people change their thoughts and behaviors (Livheim & Hayes, 2015).
ACT encourages people to monitor their thoughts while they are taking steps toward their goals.
In the end, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is about taking action. It’s all about changing one’s behavior. So, every day, take some small efforts toward what you believe will make your life more meaningful.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher.
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