What is ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

What is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy?

 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life. It’s one of a new generation of CBT approaches.

The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word ‘act’, not as the initials) does this by:

  1. a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively – in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).
  2. b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – i.e your values – then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

The ACT View Of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a “hot topic” in Western psychology right now – increasingly recognised as a powerful therapeutic intervention for everything from work stress to depression – and also as an effective tool for increasing emotional intelligence. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a powerful mindfulness-based therapy (and coaching model) which currently leads the field in terms of research, application and results.

Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, focus and openness – which allows you to engage fully in what you are doing at any moment. In a state of mindfulness, difficult thoughts and feelings have much less impact and influence over you – so it is hugely useful for everything from full-blown psychiatric illness to enhancing athletic or business performance. In many models of coaching and therapy, mindfulness is taught primarily via meditation. However, in ACT, meditation is seen as only one way amongst hundreds of learning these skills – and this is a good thing, because most people do not like meditating! ACT gives you a vast range of tools to learn mindfulness skills – many of which require only a few minutes to master.

ACT breaks mindfulness skills down into 3 categories:

1) defusion: distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories

2) acceptance: making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle

3) contact with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity

These 3 skills require you to use an aspect of yourself for which no word exists in common everyday language. It is the part of you that is capable of awareness and attention. In ACT, we often call it the ‘observing self’. We can talk about ‘self’ in many ways, but in common everyday language we talk mainly about the ‘physical self’ – your body – and the ‘thinking self’ – your mind. The ‘observing self’ is the part of you that is able to observe both your physical self and your thinking self. A better term, in my opinion, is ‘pure awareness’ – because that’s all it is: just awareness, nothing else. It is the part of you that is aware of everything else: aware of every thought, every feeling, everything you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and do.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique and creative approach to a change in behaviour which alters the very ground rules of most Western psychotherapy. It is a mindfulness-based, values-oriented behavioural therapy, that has many parallels to Buddhism, yet is not religious in any way; it is a modern scientific approach, firmly based on cutting-edge research into human behavioural psychology.

With thanks to Dr Russ Harris for this content

10 Things you can do for someone depressed

The Top 10 Things You Can Do for Someone Who’s Depressed

  1. Be clear in your mind that they need medication, therapy and make allowances for this.

Encourage them to continue both. Make it clear it’s now the new routine.

  1. There should be Guide Dogs for the Depressed.

If the sufferer doesn’t have a dog or cat, and especially if he or she lives alone, encourage them to have a well-trained, easy to manage, older animal.

  1. Make any decision you can for other person.

In other words, don’t say “Would you like to go out for dinner tonight? Where would you like to go? Say instead, “I want to take you out tomorrow for dinner. I’ll pick you up at 7.pm”

  1. Speak in normal, modulated tones.

Avoid the patronising overly compassionate look of concern and tone of voice. If they have trouble deciding or remembering something, keep your eyes from looking concerned or worried, because that will only add to their worry and confusion.

  1. Just be with them.

Don’t hover, try to cheer them up, or try and get them to “talk about it” Their mind is adjusting and processes are slowed and emotionally, they’re in conflict. Under those circumstances, its difficult to talk or to maintain eye contact.

  1. Expect dysfunction, be pleased with small steps.

Perfectionism is part of the cause of depression. Help the individual start breaking the cycle. 70% will return to pre-depressed state functioning with time and treatment.

  1. Don’t put them in a solution that would arouse and demand emotion.

Celebrations, holidays, receiving gifts, or a heated discussion of politics all require a level of involvement the depressed person is not capable of.

8. Be grounded and stay centered yourself. Remind yourself of your love for them that will endure “even this”.

9. When the person begins to heal is a wonderful time for them to have a coach or therapist.

 Life Coaches and therapists can be an extremely important member of the healing team when the client begins to function again and move forward.

 Buy one of these books – give one to the depressed person to read and read another yourself. (We recommend – “The Happiness Trap”)

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Paperback)
by Steven C. Hayes

The Reality Slap: Finding Peace and Fulfilment When Life Hurts (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

The Confidence Gap (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

 ACT on Life Not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger (Paperback)
by Georg H. Eifert

ACT with Love: Stop Struggling, Reconcile Differences, and Strengthen Your Relationship with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

Recommended Website:

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk//

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) — Interview with Therapist Ian Disley & Katya Kroupnik RingMD

Acceptance Behavioural Therapy leverages mindfulness and other techniques to help people deal with depression, anxiety, and communication difficulties — inside and outside of the workplace. UK-based Ian Disley MAC is a Cognitive Behavioural Coach and ACT Trainer (Acceptance Commitment Therapy), who has used his experience and background of working within a Community Mental Health Team to form his own private practice. This is an excerpt from a recent conversation we had with him, discussing counselling, life coaching, and the successes of ACT in the corporate setting. Katya: It seems that corporate wellness is becoming a standard offering at many companies. What sort of workplace therapy do you provide for your corporate clients? Ian: I use my background in working within community mental health to relate common emotional and personal issues that can interfere with workplace performance and in the stresses of everyday life, such as anger issues, depression, anxiety, and communication difficulties. As a qualified Life Coach specialising with a Cognitive Behavioural approach, at the core of all my work is Acceptance Behavioural Therapy, having gained over 20 years of experience of working with vulnerable clients.  I have spoken nationally on a variety of Mental Health & Wellbeing topics, and work within a strict ethical framework as a long-standing member of the The Association for Coaching. Q: What topics do you present on and what sorts of businesses have benefited from your counselling and coaching expertise?  Ian: My primary focus has been to offer practical, “hands on” strategies to boost emotional resilience, self-empowerment, enhancing personal and workplace wellness. With my insights about the common issues and challenges that people face as a foundation, I have spoken extensively on topics including assertiveness, positive thinking, communication and managing stress effectively.  I have also provided interactive presentations to all types of workplaces, from small businesses, government agencies to charities and community groups. Katya: You have run your own practice for some time. What does your group focus on? Ian: My interest in the importance of Workplace Wellness led me to form MindWorks Coaching (Private Health & Wellbeing Practice) where I apply my insights about people and personal issues to the world of work by offering seminars, consultation, Career Coaching and troubleshooting to the workplace. I am passionate about empowering others to help themselves, living by the motto of “Helping You to Help yourself, to Help Others”. I have also taught and delivered Personal & Social Development programmes around the country. Including Wellbeing Skills group, Life Skills workshops and courses teaching DBT Skills training (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy), CBT Skills training (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and ACT Training (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) providing a Wellbeing Support Group in the community for the last 6 years. Katya: What is Acceptance Commitment Therapy? Ian: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your control, and commit to valued based action that improves and enriches your life. Katya: What concepts or affirmations are at the core of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? Ian: The four key pillars we work through in this type of therapy are: acceptance, choice, commitment, and taking action. Here’s what some of the meditations I take clients through would follow: >> Accept your reactions

  • Breathe, take slow deep breaths focusing on your breathing
  • Observe what is going on around you: be mindful and present – right now
  • Let the Thoughts come and go.  They are just words, pictures, images, it’s what the mind does it is a thought machine.
  • Connect to your Feelings and Emotions are a normal response, we are only Human. They will pass, like clouds in the sky and the weather changing, just be the sky and watch them float on by.
  • Control what you can and except what you can’t, remember the ‘Serenity Prayer’ be wise to know the difference.

>> Choose and Commit to your valued life direction

  • Consider your values, what is important to you, what are your hearts desires, what do you want to be remember for?
  • When taking any course of action or decision ask, is it workable and what is helpful, its not whether its true or false, right or wrong, but is the action taken ‘Helpful’ and true to your values.

>> Take Action

  • What’s the best thing to do, right now, in line with my chosen Values?
  • What will I be leaving behind as a legacy, what will people say about me on my 80thBirthday or at my funeral.

Katya: Is ACT a new type of therapy? What is the history of this method? Ian: Derived from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (DBT) Act is known as one of the “third generation” models in Psychology used as a talking therapy and in group work. ACT uses a contextual approach to challenging people to accept their thoughts and feelings and still commit to change by sticking to their values with committed action steps towards their lifelong goals and purpose. With many years of evidence based research and Random Controlled Trails it has a 30 year history of helping people from all walks of life, ages and ethnic groups. For those suffering from Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Addiction, Trauma, Chronic illness and in even resolving relationship difficulties. Katya: What is the difference between CBT and ACT? And why is ACT more effective? Ian: Although originally derived from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) the major difference is rather than trying to change unhelpful and intrusive thoughts and feelings as we do with in CBT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy or Training is about accepting them just as pushing a beach ball in the water it just pops up again, likewise pushing thoughts and feelings, running away from them, hiding from these normal feelings and distracting yourself with addictive habits, these negative thoughts and feelings  will just come back with a vengeance. Katya: Is Acceptance Commitment Therapy the same inside and outside of the workplace? Ian: ACT in the corporate world  is known as Acceptance and Commitment Training used in the workplace for continuing Professional Development, Staff Training and within Executive Coaching. The six core process of ACT are the same, however due to possible stigma of therapy, the terms ‘Training and Coaching’ is more acceptable to the corporate world, the result being the same, individuals and teams living and working with life and work in balance, a more fulfilling and meaningful personal life and career, rich and rewarding as you take action in line with what is important to you in rising aspirations. Katya: Can you talk about a use case/use cases where ACT is proving to be beneficial? Ian: We facilitate Health & Wellbeing groups for a wide range of individuals suffering from social anxiety, loneliness, panic attaches and low moods and this has resulted in them forming and maintain new friendships with one another, gaining more confidence, higher self-esteem and learning life skills to manage their mental health condition sometime without the need for medication, resulting in less hospital admissions and GP appointments. We have had referrals from Medical Centres, Community Mental Health teams, Doctors, Addiction centres and other therapists. We have successfully secured funding from NHS (National Health Service) through the local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and funded for 3 years by the Big Lottery. ACT is increasingly getting more popular as an alternative to medication and several clients have been able to use their new found skills, strategies and techniques to be able to reduce and be weaned off their medication under the supervision of their GP (General Practitioner, Doctor) Thank you, Ian, for your time — it was a pleasure speaking to you! If you would like to learn more about ACT or consult with Ian, you may message him directly through his profile (here). 

What is ACT? (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy)

What is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy?

 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life. It’s one of a new generation of CBT approaches.

The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word ‘act’, not as the initials) does this by:

  1. a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively – in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).
  2. b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – i.e your values – then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

 

The ACT View Of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a “hot topic” in Western psychology right now – increasingly recognised as a powerful therapeutic intervention for everything from work stress to depression – and also as an effective tool for increasing emotional intelligence. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a powerful mindfulness-based therapy (and coaching model) which currently leads the field in terms of research, application and results.

Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, focus and openness – which allows you to engage fully in what you are doing at any moment. In a state of mindfulness, difficult thoughts and feelings have much less impact and influence over you – so it is hugely useful for everything from full-blown psychiatric illness to enhancing athletic or business performance. In many models of coaching and therapy, mindfulness is taught primarily via meditation. However, in ACT, meditation is seen as only one way amongst hundreds of learning these skills – and this is a good thing, because most people do not like meditating! ACT gives you a vast range of tools to learn mindfulness skills – many of which require only a few minutes to master.

ACT breaks mindfulness skills down into 3 categories:

1) defusion: distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories

2) acceptance: making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle

3) contact with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity

These 3 skills require you to use an aspect of yourself for which no word exists in common everyday language. It is the part of you that is capable of awareness and attention. In ACT, we often call it the ‘observing self’. We can talk about ‘self’ in many ways, but in common everyday language we talk mainly about the ‘physical self’ – your body – and the ‘thinking self’ – your mind. The ‘observing self’ is the part of you that is able to observe both your physical self and your thinking self. A better term, in my opinion, is ‘pure awareness’ – because that’s all it is: just awareness, nothing else. It is the part of you that is aware of everything else: aware of every thought, every feeling, everything you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and do.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique and creative approach to a change in behaviour which alters the very ground rules of most Western psychotherapy. It is a mindfulness-based, values-oriented behavioural therapy, that has many parallels to Buddhism, yet is not religious in any way; it is a modern scientific approach, firmly based on cutting-edge research into human behavioural psychology.

With thanks to Dr Russ Harris for this content

Reduce Your Work Stress & Burnout Risk Using ACT!

Reduce Your Work Stress & Burnout Risk Using ACT!

Do you know someone in a high stress job, with difficult hours, systems, customers, colleagues and red tape?

These challenges mean that anyone can be susceptible to burnout, so is there anything we can do to help you to help yourself to lower their stress levels?

As accredited members of The Stress Management Society and Mental Health professionals we can help you to help yourself, to help others. One of the key parts of stress are the psychological effects of working with difficult clients, customers, friends, work colleagues and even family. In particular “stigmatising attitudes” are particularly difficult for those suffering from mental health or addiction issues. If we could decrease these psychological effects for individuals in the work place we could also decrease their stress, and degrees of burnout, resulting in increased performance and motivation.

There has been a number of evidence-based studies comparing the impact of ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy), in using the model in executive coaching and training for work life balance, burnout and stigmatizing attitudes amongst employees and executives.

The ACT intervention significantly reduced stress with one on one follow-up sessions and burnout through group work and seminars. In addition, reductions in sick leave, absenteeism and poor performance significantly exceeded those attained ACT training and coaching.

Studies have showed, amongst those significantly stressed, ACT significantly decreased levels of stress and burnout, and increased general mental health compared to a waiting list control.

The specific ACT intervention the study used was six 2-hour group sessions. The intervention included information about stress and relevant lifestyle factors (e.g. work-life balance, sleep, and exercise), behaviour change strategies, communication and assertiveness skills, and training in ACT techniques for managing stressful thoughts and feelings, values clarification, and mindfulness practice.

In short, the just 12 total hours of intervention covered:

-information about stress, sleep, exercise, behaviour change strategies in communication and assertiveness. ACT skills defusion, acceptance, values focus and mindfulness.

 Here are some stress tips that we use.

Keep in mind that stress isn’t a bad thing.

Stress motivates us to work toward solving our problems. Reframing thoughts to view stress as an acceptable emotion, or as a tool, has been found to reduce many of the negative symptoms associated with it. The goal is to manage stress, not to eliminate it.

Talk about your problems, even if they won’t be solved.

Talking about your stressors—even if you don’t solve them—releases hormones in your body that reduce the negative feelings associated with stress. Time spent talking with friends and loved ones is valuable, even when you have a lot on your plate.

Prioritize your responsibilities.

Focus on completing quick tasks first. Having too many “to-dos” can be stressful, even if none of them are very big. Quickly knocking out the small tasks will clear up your mind to focus on larger responsibilities.

Focus on the basics.

Stress can start a harmful cycle where basic needs are neglected, which leads to more stress. Make a point to focus on your basic needs, such as eating well, keeping a healthy sleep schedule, exercising, and other forms of self-care.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

People who are overinvolved in one aspect of their life often struggle to deal with stress when that area is threatened. Balance your time and energy between several areas, such as your career, family, friendships, and personal hobbies.

Set aside time for yourself.

Personal time usually gets moved to the bottom of the list when things get hectic.

However, when personal time is neglected, everything else tends to suffer. Set aside

time to relax and have fun every day, without interruptions.

Keep things in perspective.

In the heat of the moment, little problems can feel bigger than they are. Take a step back, and think about how important your stressors are in a broader context. Will they matter in a week? In a year? Writing about your stressors will help you develop a healthier perspective.

I’m Not Good Enough – Low Self-esteem

 Know someone who thinks “I’m Not Good Enough”?

We tend to go through life evaluating ourselves and others according to a scale of worth. The idea of self-esteem is the amount of value that we consider we are worth.

These values vary from person to person. Whilst we might rate ourselves as being of little value, others might rate us much higher. If we get into the habit of thinking negatively about ourselves, then low self-esteem, or placing little value on ourselves, is the result.

Low self-esteem can be a result of negative life experiences, particularly when we’re young and most vulnerable. These experiences may include being criticised or judged negatively, such as from a parent or school bullies. As adults, abusive relationships and very stressful life events can also cause low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem can stay low, because of our own self-critical thoughts, which can be triggered by criticism, or perceived criticism (even if none is intended, we believe we are being criticised).

 How Low Self Esteem affects us:

Emotions

 depressed

 hurt

 angry

 frustrated

 anxious

 ashamed

 guilty….

Thoughts

 Negative, self-critical: I’m so stupid, I’m worthless, It’s my fault, I’m a failure, I’m not good enough, I’m incompetent.

 Unhelpful Thinking Habits might include Mental Filter, Mind Reading, Self-Blame, Internal Critic, Compare & Despair, Shoulds and Musts, Black and White Thinking

Behaviours

 try to please others

 get defensive when we believe we’re being criticised

 under-achieve or work harder to compensate and cover up our incompetence

 shy and passive around others

 avoid situations and people

 neglect or abuse ourselves

 Making Changes

Doing things differently

 Communicate with others assertively

 Set achievable and realistic goals. When you achieve them, congratulate

and treat yourself, and allow others to congratulate you

 Accept compliments – say thank you, and smile

 Act the person you want to be – play the role for long enough and you can become that person

 Visualise positive change

 Look after yourself – eat healthily, exercise, do more things you enjoy doing

 Stand, walk and talk confidently

 Change your image – hair, clothes, make-up

 Take up a new hobby or interest

 Learn a new skill

 Reward yourself for achievements and successes – however small

 Thank others – show your appreciation, and others will appreciate you

 Do things for others – help someone out. It makes us feel better about ourselves

 If you can do something well, let others notice – when they notice your work, their opinion of you will be raised, which in turn, raises your own self esteem

Thinking differently

 STOPP! Pause, take a breath

 Ask yourself:

 What am I reacting to? What have I been thinking about here?

 Is this fact or opinion?

 Is that “Internal Critic” operating again?

 Am I looking at things through those gloomy specs (“Mental Filter”) again?

 Am I getting things out of proportion?

 How important is this really? How important will it be in 6 month’s time?

 Am I expecting something from myself that is unrealistic?

 What’s the worst (and best) that could happen? What’s most likely to happen?

 Am I using that negative filter? Those gloomy specs? Is there another way of looking at it?

 What would I think about someone else in this situation? What would I say to a friend?

Am I spending time ruminating about the past or worrying about the future? What could I do right now that would help me feel better?

 Am I putting more pressure on myself, setting up expectations of myself that are almost impossible? What would be more realistic?

 Am I jumping to conclusions about what this person meant? Am I mis-reading between the lines? Is it possible that they didn’t mean that?

 What do I want or need from this person or situation? What do they want or need from me? Is there a compromise? How could I act in a way that was more effective or helpful?

 Am I just focusing on the worst possible thing that could happen? What would be more realistic?

 Am I focusing on the negative, putting myself down? What would be more realistic?

 Is there another way of looking at this?

 Am I doing that Compare & Despair thing: exaggerating the good

aspects of others, and putting myself down? Or am I exaggerating the negative and minimising the positives? How would someone else see it? What’s the bigger picture?

 Things aren’t either totally white or totally black – there are shades of grey. Where is this on the spectrum?

 This is just a reminder of the past. That was then, and this is now. Even though this memory makes me feel upset, it’s not actually happening again right now.

 What would be the consequences of doing what I normally do?

 Is there another way of dealing with this? What would be the most helpful and effective action to take? (for me, for the situation, for the other person)

Be compassionate with yourself – just as you might be with someone else

 o What would a caring friend say to me in this situation?

o What is a kind and constructive way to think about how I

can improve this situation?

o Whoever said human beings are supposed to be perfect?

o Would a caring mother say this to her child if she wanted

the child to grow and develop?

o How will I learn if it’s not okay to make mistakes?

 Acknowledge your strengths – start by writing out a list of

things you’re good at, or what others have or do say about you.

 Notice the positives – carry a notepad around, and write down whenever you notice something good or helpful that you’ve said, or done, or what others have said about you

 At the end of each day, ask yourself: What have I done or tried today that I’ve never done or tried before? What have I done to help other people today? Who has helped me? What have I enjoyed doing today?

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/SelfEsteem.pdf

© Carol Vivyan 2009, permission to use for therapy purposes

Are you strong enough to hold your Temper?

Are you strong enough to hold your Temper?

Anger is a result of thinking that we have been unfairly treated or disrespected, or that others have broken or fallen short of our rules, standards or expectations, and we won’t stand for it.

Thinking this way leads us to feel angry, which stimulates the body’s adrenaline response which is our body’s way of helping us to cope with either fighting or running away (‘fight or flight’ response). We respond to those thoughts and feelings, by acting, or feeling an urge to act, in threatening or aggressive ways.

Thoughts that often occur:

 I’m being treated unfairly

 I’m being disrespected

 They’re breaking a rule or standard

 I won’t stand for it

Physical Sensations – The Adrenaline Response

When there is real, or we believe there is a real, threat or danger, or that we must defend or stand up for what we believe is right, our bodies’ automatic survival mechanism kicks in very quickly. This helps energise us to fight or run away (‘fight or flight response’). We will notice lots of physical sensations, which might include:

 heart racing or pounding – enabling good blood supply around our bodies

 breathing quickly – allowing more oxygen around the body

 tense muscles – a state of readiness to fight or flee

 shaking

 hot, sweating

 light-headed

 stomach churning or butterflies

 fist or teeth clenching

Behaviours might include:

 staring & angry facial expression

 aggressive body posture

 go towards what makes us angry

 attacking or arguing

 hitting out (or urge to hit out)

 shouting, snapping at others

 running or storming away

 staying silent, inwardly seething

 door slamming, making lots of noise

 sulking

We all feel angry sometimes. Anger has consequences, and they often involve hurting other people – more usually their feelings, but sometimes physically. Anger can cause problems in our personal lives and affect work and study. After an angry outburst, we can think very critically of ourselves and our actions, leading us to feel guilty, ashamed and lower our mood, which might result in our withdrawing from others, not wanting to do anything (see depression cycle).

Identify your triggers

What or when are the times when you are more likely to get angry? If you can see the patterns, then maybe you can do something about those situations, and do something different.

 Behind the wheel?

 At work?

 When stressed?

 With certain people?

 When you’ve been drinking or using other substances?

What to do when you feel angry

STOPP! Pause, take a breath, don’t react automatically

 Walk away – you can come back and talk later

 Ask yourself:

 What am I reacting to?

 What is it that’s really pushing my buttons here?

 Am I getting things out of proportion?

 How important is this really?

 How important will it be in 6 months’ time?

 What harm has been done?

 Am I expecting something from this person or situation that is unrealistic?

 What’s the worst (and best) that could happen? What’s most likely to happen?

 Am I jumping to conclusions about what this person meant? Am I mis-reading between the lines? Is it possible that they didn’t mean that? Is this fact or opinion?

 What do I want or need from this person or situation? What do they want or need from me? Is there a compromise?

 What would be the consequences of responding angrily?

 Is there another way of dealing with this? What would be the most helpful and effective action to take? (for me, for the situation, for the other person)

 Visualise yourself dealing with the situation in a calm, non-aggressive but assertive way, respecting the rights and opinions of all others involved.

How to deal with the physical sensations of anger

Counteract the body’s adrenaline response – it’s readiness for action, by using that energy healthily.

 Practice calming or mindful breathing – this one act alone will help reduce the physical sensations, emotions and intensity of thoughts.

 Visualisation: Breathe in blue (for calm) and/or green (for balance) and breathe out red.

 Go for a walk, run or cycle, or maybe do some gardening or housework.

www.getselfhelp.co.uk

 © Carol Vivyan 2009, permission to use for therapy purposes

 

25 Ways to Build Stronger Friendships

25 Ways to Build Stronger Friendships

Know someone who’s Lonely? Friendships are incredibly important. At certain stages in our lives, friendships are everything to us – the most important thing in our lives. Friendships help define us. Our friends can influence our choices – where we live, what we eat, what we buy.

Friendships grow and change as people come and grow. There is old proverb that says, “friends are flowers in the garden of life” Friendships need their own kind of water and soil to grow healthy and strong.

 

The following are 25 things to keep in mind to facilitate building stronger friendships.

  1. Choose friends wisely. You do not have to be everyone’s friend. Choose to be friends with people who build you up, not tear you down. Choose friends who inspire you and welcome you, not alienate and insult you. You can’t choose the family you are born into, but you can choose your friends.
  2. Listen. Listen closely to what the other person is saying. Let that person know that you hear them. Ask clarifying questions. Summarise what you’ve heard. Though helpful, it does not always have to be through words. Eye contact and body language are also important ways of showing someone you are listening.
  3. Respond carefully. Think before you speak – especially if you are angry. Sometimes, taking a moment to think about what you say before you start blurting things out will spare hurt feelings and bruised pride. Also, when friends feel like it is okay to be themselves around you, they trust you. Choose your words with care.
  4. Avoid consistently giving advice or trying to fix all of your friend’s problems. If a friend asks for your advice, give it. They might want you to proofread an important email before it is sent out. Maybe they are struggling with a relationship. Perhaps life is throwing them a curve ball and they need your support or insight. Don’t wiggle your way into every aspect of your friend’s life, telling them how to be the star of their own show. Give them room to process things and make their own decisions.
  5. Play fair. Avoid trying to one-up your friends. Eventually your friends won’t want to play with you anymore.
  6. Be authentic. Be yourself. Be honest. Avoid putting up a facade. We all test our relationships by throwing something out there about our true nature. We then hide behind a corner, head peeking out, waiting for the response.  If someone can’t accept you for who you are, developing a relationship with them will be hard. Don’t short change yourself by denying your beliefs, values, and point of view, for the sake of fitting in. You won’t be doing anyone any favours.
  7. Communicate openly and honestly. Developing communication with a person can take time – and trust! Ask your friends what you can do for them. Share what you have to offer. Don’t be afraid to let people know what you need. Share what is necessary, but don’t dominate conversation. When a problem arises, work through it together.
  8. Accept your friends for who they are. On your search for friends who can accept your authentic self, keep in mind – other people are looking for the same thing. We all want people who love us for who we are.
  9. Respect their choices. It is okay to disagree. If your friend decides to make a move when you think standing still is the right thing to do, let them do their thing. If you’ve given your advice and your friend sees things differently, step aside. What your friend is doing might be right for their life but not yours. They might be making a mistake, but if it doesn’t kill them, maim them, or leave them in a coma, hopefully, they can learn from the experience. And, if it will kill them, lock them in a closet and don’t let them out until they’ve forgotten why you trapped them in there in the first place.
  10. Be the kind of friend you want others to be for you. You want friends who are honest, kind, compassionate, fair, not judgmental, authentic, and intelligent.  Be that person first and you’ll be more likely to attract that kind of friend into your life.
  11. Be empathetic. Trying to understand things from your friend’s point of view can help you communicate and understand each other better.
  12. Give compliments. Show love for your friends by complimenting them on their good qualities or things they do well. Has a friend done something you admire them for? Let them know!
  13. Express your gratitude. Let your friends know that you value your friendship. Tell them. Write them a note. Did you see the collector’s edition of their favourite movie while you were out? Buy a copy. Surprise your friend by taking him or her out for lunch or dinner at one of their favourite places.
  14. Admit and apologise. When you do something wrong, admit it.  Learn to apologise. Sometimes a friend is upset, and all they want from you is to (genuinely) say “sorry.” It shows that you realize your misstep, and that you will hopefully not make the same mistake again.
  15. Let go. Did a friend do something that hurt you? Have you talked it through? Were apologies made? Let go and move on! If you don’t, you’ll hang on to the transgression and it will taint the relationship going forward. Don’t trudge up a prickly patch of your past. Try your best to make a fresh start.
  16. Make time for your friends. Spend time with your friends. It might feel odd to schedule your friends on your calendar, but if you have a busy schedule, getting them in your book, is better than letting them go. Show your friends that you want to be around them. Is your friend far away? Write them an email, chat with them via IM, call them on the phone, plan a weekend get together. Making time for your friends sends the message that they are an important part of your life.
  17. Keep your promises.  If you know you can’t deliver something, don’t promise that you will. If you make a promise, do you best to keep it. It is better to say, “I don’t think I can make it on Saturday night, but let’s get lunch next week,” than saying you will show up, and then accept a different invitation or cancel at the last minute.
  18. Celebrate what you have in common. Most friendships are started because of some common thread – a favourite sport, a love of books, an appreciation of fine wine, an insufferable boss. Get season tickets to your favourite baseball team or check out the local library book sale together next month.
  19. Try new things together. What new experiences can you share with your friend? It could be as simple as checking out the new local coffee shop, or as adventurous as bungee jumping.
  20. Have fun together. Friendships, like any other relationship, can fall into a rut sometimes – especially if all you do with your friends is share your latest complaints every time you see each other. Shake up the routine. Go out and do something fun you both enjoy or look at that list of new things to try that you came up with and do one of them. It’s great to have a friend you can open up with but lighten the burden load and let loose – create some happy memories together.
  21. Seek balance in your friendship. Entering a relationship with selfish motives and being a person who takes and takes and takes until the well runs dry, is likely to lead a lonely life. Serve and support your friends. What can you do for them? How can you help? What can you add to their life or their day to make it a little bit better?
  22. Take equal responsibility for the friendship. Take turns making plans or driving across town to see each other. If there is a problem, acknowledge your part in it and figure out, together, how to make it right. If both people are not tending to the relationship, it will not flourish.
  23. Be a cheerleader. Be encouraging. Motivate your friends. Affirmation goes a long way. If your friends aren’t in your corner, who is?
  24. Keep personal information confidential. As relationships grow, it is common for friends to share confidential information with you. If a friend tells you a secret it is because they trust you and believe that you will keep what they told you in the strictest of confidence.  Do not betray your friend by sharing their secret stories with others. Many times, a relationship has been ruined over spilled secrets.
  25. Unclench your fist. Friendships grow and change. Sometimes they end.  You can change a lot in a year. Imagine how much you can change in 10 years. The person you were when you met someone is not the person you will always be. You grow up. You change your mind about things. Your friends will do the same. Sometimes a friend you’ve known for years will start to play a bigger role in your life as the years pass. Perhaps your lifestyles change radically, and spending tons of time together just does not feel right anymore because you have fewer interests in common.  This friend might stay in your life but might have less impact on and influence in it. That’s okay.  If a person is bringing you down, hurting you, or starts to go down a dangerous path, it is completely acceptable to end the relationship. Sometimes we struggle to hang on to a wilting relationship. Many times, it is healthier to let go.
Top 10 Things You Can Do for Someone Who are Depressed

Top 10 Things You Can Do for Someone Who are Depressed

Know someone depressed?

The Top 10 Things You Can Do for Someone Who’s Depressed

  1. Be clear in your mind that they need medication, therapy and make allowances for this.

Encourage them to continue both. Make it clear it’s now the new routine.

  1. There should be Guide Dogs for the Depressed.

If the sufferer doesn’t have a dog or cat, and especially if he or she lives alone, encourage them to have a well-trained, easy to manage older animal.

  1. Make any decision you can for another person.

In other words, don’t say “Would you like to go out for dinner tonight? Where would you like to go? Say instead, “I want to take you out tomorrow for dinner. I’ll pick you up at 7.pm”

  1. Speak in normal, modulated tones.

Avoid the patronising overly compassionate look of concern and tone of voice. If they have trouble deciding or remembering something, keep your eyes from looking concerned or worried, because that will only add to their worry and confusion.

  1. Just be with them.

Don’t hover, try to cheer them up, or try and get them to “talk about it” Their mind is adjusting and processes are slowed and emotionally, they’re in conflict. Under those circumstances, it’s difficult to talk or to maintain eye contact.

  1. Expect dysfunction, be pleased with small steps.

Perfectionism is part of the cause of depression. Help the individual start breaking the cycle. 70% will return to pre-depressed state functioning with time and treatment.

  1. Don’t put them in a solution that would arouse and demand emotion.

Celebrations, holidays, receiving gifts, or a heated discussion of politics all require a level of involvement the depressed person is not capable of.

  1. Be grounded and stay centered yourself. Remind yourself of your love for them that will endure “even this”.
  2. When the person begins to heal is a wonderful time for them to have a coach or therapist.

 Life Coaches and therapists can be an extremely important member of the healing team when the client begins to function again and move forward.

 Buy one of these books – give one to the depressed person to read and read another yourself. (We recommend – “The Happiness Trap”)

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Paperback)
by Steven C. Hayes

The Reality Slap: Finding Peace and Fulfilment When Life Hurts (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

The Confidence Gap (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

ACT on Life Not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger (Paperback)
by Georg H. Eifert

ACT with Love: Stop Struggling, Reconcile Differences, and Strengthen Your Relationship with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Paperback)
by Russ Harris

 Recommended Website:

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk//

What are you doing for Mental Health Awareness Week?

What are you doing for Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness Week is rapidly approaching (from the 14th to 20th of May). The focal point for this year is Mental Health in the workplace – highlighting Mental Health, particularly in the workplace is a force for change. A recent study from the Mental Health Foundation found 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace and it is a known fact that stress is a huge contributing factor in mental health issues.

As specialists in transforming organisations into mentally healthy workplaces, as members of The Stress Management Society we can assist your organisations journey through not only providing workshops and training, increasing employee motivation and happiness levels, but also by ensuring everyone within your organisation feels valued and supported through promotional tools.

So, what can we do to reduce the pressures people are facing in the corporate and professional environment and how can we ensure that they are freely able to discuss their mental health?

The perfect way to communicate about mental health, raising awareness of the issue, exploring the causes and cures of Mental health, would be by creating desk drops, or using other promotional materials to help promote mental health throughout the week of May. We can help you create Stress Mood Cards, which can be branded with your organisations details, colours and logos and can include details such as your EAP.

Research has shown that company branded Stress Mood Cards generate 3 times more awareness than conventional branded marketing products, so they are a great way to link a mentally healthy workplace with your brand and effectively engage employees. These portable, pocket sized stress testing products can be branded with your logo, wellbeing messages and relevant support resources to create a memorable campaign. With prices starting as low as 0.23p per card depending on quantity, The Stress Management Society’s Mood Cards offer the best value in the market.

You can find out more information, request some samples or order the cards today by emailing louisa@stress.org.uk.

We can also help you implement Mental Health First Aid within your organisation and provide workshops surrounding Managing a mentally healthy workplace. Developing your senior management teams, managers and employees is critical if you want to establish mentally healthy workplace, so contact us or direct to info@stress.org.uk if you would like to know more.

Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month

It’s here! April signals Easter, the start of Spring…and of course Stress Awareness Month.

You may have already prepared communications, arranged lunch and learns, and planned activities to maximise the awareness of this important topic.

But if you have been tied up with the new financial year or distracted by the Easter break, there is still time to incorporate some stress-busting and awareness-raising activities in your organisation.

Raise awareness

• Add a banner to the homepage of your company Intranet, or on the front page of a newsletter for Stress Awareness Month. If you do not have time to write content you can simply create links to existing resources such as your company EAP scheme, wellbeing pages or helpful websites such as www.stress.org.uk.

• Ask your managers to talk about Stress Awareness Month in their regular team meetings and encourage employees to share tips and coping mechanisms.

Encourage employees to be more active

• Challenge employees to arrange one standing or walking meeting during the month – this could be a team meeting or one-to-one.

• Bring in a fitness instructor to provide a free group session for staff. Yoga works well for this.

• If you have partnerships or employee benefits with a gym, physio or health centre, request a free trial during the month to encourage more employees to use it.

Get social

• Encourage team lunches or a night out. Alternatively pick a week where employees are encouraged to eat breakfast together – provide smoothies/fruit/cereal as an incentive to get people together.

• Walk the floor and encourage your managers to do the same – a break away from your desk is a de-stressor in itself, and by taking a few minutes to meet and talk to other employees you can brighten their day too.

Pay it forward

• Helping others makes us feel good too. Encourage employees to ‘pay it forward’ this month by inviting someone new for lunch, donating to charity, organise a cake sale, setting up a gratitude jar, simply smiling more or paying a complement to a colleague.

Try something new

They say a change is as good as a rest so try a few spot changes during the month such as:
• Leave some adult colouring sheets and pens on the tables in the staffroom/canteen.
• Move around the furniture in communal areas to encourage people to sit somewhere new.
• Play music in the office or in the staffroom/canteen.
• Dedicate one of the meeting rooms to become a relaxation/meditation room for the month – add beanbags, cushions and low lighting.