Thursday, April 23, 2020

Three minutes to decrease COVID worry

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of therapy based on acceptance and mindfulness combined with behavior change and commitment. It's a form of therapy that is taught/frequently utilized in my current residency program.

One of our faculty who facilitates the resident processing group is Tom Lavin. He wrote out a 3+ minute meditation using ACT theory. While it can be useful in dealing with a whole host of stressors, it can also be very helpful in dealing with COVID-related stress/anxiety/worry that many of us may be experiencing. We might be worried about the health risks for our loved ones or ourselves. We might be worried about the financial fallout. We might be struggling with isolation, or conversely spending more time with family/housemates than we usually do. Or even just getting enough of the basic supplies... (For more on Tom Lavin's resources click here). 

Here's the meditation (shared with permission): 

Accepting, Choosing-Committing, Taking Action 
Tom Lavin MFT, LCADC, ACATA

Accept what is, as it is
Slowly... take a few deep breaths...
Allow your thoughts and feelings to emerge and just be there...
the ones you like... and the ones you don’t like...
take few more deep breaths...
and just let your thoughts and feelings be there...
Take a few more deep breaths...
and let your thoughts and feelings be there...
—not judging them and not trying to make them go away...
Just let your thoughts and feelings be there.
Accepting your thoughts and feelings does not mean you like them
and it doesn’t mean you like the situation ...
Just let your thoughts and feelings be there...let the situation be there...
and then settle into accepting what is, as it is...
If you’re having a hard time accepting what is,
go ahead and accept that you’re having a hard time accepting what is...that
you really wish the thought or feelings or the situation were different...but
they’re not...so you’re willing to accept what is, as it is...

After accepting what is as it is, focus on what’s important to you-is there
something about this you want to change---do you want to change your
perspective? Or change the situation?
What do you want to change?
If you think you can make the change, develop and plan a strategy
to make the change you discern would be good...
...then...engage in NIKE Therapy---be willing to “ just do it”...
Be willing to take positive, assertive action....

However, if you can’t change the situation and you’re struggling with
your perspective..... let go............let go...........let go.....
Let it go for today.
Just let it be.
Let it go... and move on...
Say “Yes to Life”...
... and focus your attention on other people and activities you value.


Image from the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management

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