Observe your mind before you react

Our unconscious automatic reactions make us miserable. What’s wrong when you’ve tried and you just don’t seem to change? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) sees psychological flexibility as central to living a mentally and emotionally healthy life. Managing the moment you are actually living in right this second requires you to be psychologically nimble and adaptive. You need to live each moment with presence, clear perceptions, and wise actions. When you live like that most of the time life simply works better. However, most of us stay stuck to our thoughts about things rather than seeing things clearly.

Free your mind and your life will unfold naturally with minimal worry . Here are some common things our minds will tell us:

“I just can’t get over  _________. If only it never happened.”

“I just can’t handle  _________. Things would be so different if I could.”

“I just can’t bring myself to _________. I’ll just carry on despite it.”

“I keep being such a  _________  and I hate that about me.”

“I keep _________ , and every time I do it, it makes things worse.”

“I just can’t stop  _________. If I could, my life would be so different.”

These thoughts are examples of needless suffering that we bring upon ourselves. Thoughts like these are not required to function as a human and are not really even helpful to us in managing the moments in our life. ACT understands mental suffering such as the thoughts above as involving any combinations of the following:

We  are avoiding experiencing something (a perception, thought, memory, emotion, physical sensation, or personality trait)

We are out of touch with the true self (observer self, self-as-context, transcendent self, spiritual self, wise mind, valuing self, etc.)

We are out of touch with the moment and/or we are not accepting it as it is

We are out of touch with our deepest values

We are not acting in accordance with our true values

We are cognitively fused with some thought

Thus, for most of us who end up in counseling, our problems are more about how we are using our minds rather than about outer events life. We get stuck unconsciously in mental processes that lead nowhere except to suffering and misery.

Wake up. Observe your mind before you react.

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