We all know that exercise is beneficial but unfortunately most of us don’t do it. Which is a problem because if we don’t put some effort into making a life we want we will possibly end up with having a life we definitely do not want. We all have lots of creative reasons for not doing exercise, although in reality only one thing holds us back. We don’t exercise because it is uncomfortable. And we avoid discomfort like the plague!
Interestingly, a recent Australian study looked at a new kind of psychological therapy designed to help people who weren’t doing any exercise. In fact, by the end of the study, these previously sedentary people were four times more likely to be meeting government recommended exercise levels than people who hadn’t had this help.
This therapy, called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, (or ACT for short), uses CBT and mindfulness and works on two levels. Firstly, it helps people to identify what they value in their life and to build an action plan to help them make this real. Having a good reason to do something is powerful motivation. Secondly, it helps people find ways to deal with the obstacles that stop us from moving towards the life we want. Obstacles can come in the form of thoughts, like “I am too busy to exercise” or uncomfortable feelings, like getting out of breath and feeling tired. In ACT people are taught how to use mindfulness techniques to ‘unhook’ themselves from the negative thoughts and to metaphorically ‘make room’ for the discomfort. It’s actually easier than it sounds. A growing body of research evidence suggests that ACT can also be a powerful way of helping people with anxiety, stress and depression.
For NHS funded ACT training courses for stress, anxiety or depression, including Saturday morning sessions, phone (01208) 871905 or register online - [HERE]