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How to use acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness to enrich your life

Joe Oliver, Jon Hill and Eric Morris, the authors of ACTivate Your Life, share with us how to use acceptance and mindfulness to build a life that is rich, fulfilling and fun.

Life is Messy

The truth is that life is messy. It’s chaotic, unpredictable and change is just about the only thing that remains constant. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out and learned the rules of the game, life changes and you need a new set of rules! 

So, what if there was no magic answer, no set of rules? What if the messiness and chaos of life wasn’t actually the problem? What if it were possible to live a meaningful and rewarding life despite all the storms and uncertainty, the fears and the setbacks? 

Life is for Living

The exciting – and revolutionary – thing about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is that it is not a set of rules – it is a way of life. ACT has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of helping people to start building lives that they are truly engaged in and fulfilled by. ACT helps us to ‘un-stick’ ourselves from the quicksand of uncomfortable internal experiences, not by fighting, suppressing or trying to change them, but by developing a sense of willingness to do the things that bring us fulfilment, even when that means coming into contact with painful thoughts and feelings. When we talk about ‘acceptance’ we do not mean simply resigning oneself to a life of pain and unhappiness. We mean acknowledging that certain things in life are outside of our control, but we can still take full responsibility for what is within our control – what we do and say, how we live our lives each day. ACT involves pressing the pause button on our busy lives and asking what is really important to us. What kind of a person do I want to be? What do I want to stand for in life? How do I use the limited amount of time and energy available to me every day? 

Open, Aware, Active – Skills for Life

ACT is simple – anyone can change their lives for the better by being three things – Open, Aware and Active.

Open

Being Open means learning to respond more effectively to the painful and unpleasant thoughts and feelings that are an inevitable part of the human experience, so that they no longer act as a barrier between us and the things that we value.

Aware

Being Aware means using the skill of mindfulness to connect with what is going on around us and inside us right here and now. That awareness can also help us to notice the opportunities that may have slipped under our radar – opportunities to know ourselves better and to do more of the things that make life worth living.

Active

Being Active means becoming clear on what matters to us most in life, and then pursuing those things vigorously – living life on purpose, rather than drifting through unconsciously.
Three simple skills. And while they might be simple, the impact they have on your life could be transformative.