Do you have any area of your life, which if you could address or overcome it, would make your life better or easier? Actually, most people can identify some area of their life that feels a bit ‘stuck’ – and although each type of ‘stuckness’ will be different, there will be one common ingredient. This common ingredient is our tendency to avoid emotional discomfort.
Most of the important challenges in life involve dealing with negative emotions. Examples include; the struggle of resisting food if you want to lose weight, or the discomfort of exercising, or the anxiety of doing anything that takes us outside of our comfort zone. The problem is that when something makes us feel bad, we tend to avoid it and then we feel relief. Therefore, avoidance makes us feel better in the short term. But in the longer term it produces more problems. We get stuck.
Negative emotional feelings are a normal part of life. So, one new type of therapy, called ACT, focuses on helping people to develop more acceptance of these uncomfortable feelings. It doesn’t aim to make you feel better, it aims to help you to feel better. ACT uses the skills of mindfulness to get more comfortable with discomfort. Admittedly, this doesn’t sound like much fun and is very different from our normal approach to problems, but it can be a really useful skill to learn. Developing a greater acceptance of emotional discomfort helps you to see that emotions are like the weather; they come and go. But perhaps the most common benefit of getting better at acceptance of discomfort is that, paradoxically, the emotions lose their power; they become more bearable. And this helps you to better overcome the things which are keeping you stuck in your life.
For NHS funded therapy, (including CBT and ACT), for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online [here]