Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Can ACT help with my Depression or Anxiety?

ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment  Therapy.  The essence of ACT is in the "art" of Acceptance verses what our society mainly teaches us to do which is usually trying to just "fix and solve" things.

In the Western World, the philosophy is usually to try and fix things, try to solve things, try to move forward and make things better and better.  This is our greatest strengths.  However, out of every strength, there is an intrinsic weakness.  If the problem is too great and we cannot fix it, then we get "stressed".

In the Eastern World, one the philosophy that has been nurtured in Budhism is Acceptance.  Accept and surrender to what is....IS.

So which philosophy is better or stronger?

None is the answer as we need both to manage our lives.   Just think of when you are driving a car.  Is acceleration more important that the brakes?  Neither, as we need both to be in control of our journey.  So if fixing is like acceleration and acceptance is like braking, we need to fine tune both skills in order to be in control of our lives.

In essence, fix what we can fix and accept the things that we cannot.

Acceptance sounds simple but it is not easy to do as we have not been conditioned to approach a problem in this way.  Most people when they say that they have accepted something, they may only be "putting up with it".  They maybe accepting it on the surface, but deep inside, they are still internally struggling with it.  True acceptance means that you are totally in "surrender" to it and "at peace" with it. 

We will explore this further in future blogs.

Dr Vin
MBBS FRACGP Qld
Australia

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