Living and working in a fast-paced, competitive city like NYC is stressful even under the best of circumstances. Whether you’re dealing with unresolved trauma or simply bearing the weight of daily stressors, the stream of negative thoughts and emotions can sometimes feel like too much to bear. For people who never learned to process emotions in a healthy way, day-to-day life can seem like a never-ending cycle of denying, avoiding, or pushing down their feelings by covering them up with avoidance, anger, or substance use.
The truth is, you are not your thoughts or your feelings, and you can learn to shift your internal experience so everyday life doesn’t feel so overwhelming. By learning new ways to respond to your own thoughts and emotions, you can begin to build a life that feels safer and more comfortable, allowing you to pursue your goals without constantly being plagued by that negative internal voice.
What is acceptance and commitment therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based type of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on one general goal: to increase flexibility in how you respond to your inner experiences (i.e. emotions, thoughts, impulses, physical feelings). At Uncover Mental Health Counseling, the best therapists in Manhattan focus on six key processes to reach this goal.
Acceptance is an alternative to our instinct to avoid thinking about negative-or potentially negative-experiences. It is the active choice to allow unpleasant experiences to exist, without trying to deny or change them. Acceptance is not a goal of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but a method of encouraging action that will lead to positive results.
Cognitive Defusion refers to the techniques intended to change how an individual reacts to their thoughts and feelings. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy does not intend to limit our exposure to negative experiences, but rather to face them and come out the other side with a decreased fixation on these experiences.
Being Present can be understood as the practice of being aware of the present moment, without judging the experience. In other words, it involves experiencing what is happening without trying to predict or change the experience.
Self As Context.
Self as Context is the idea that an individual is not simply the sum of their experiences, thoughts, or emotions. The “self as context” process offers the alternative concept that there is a self outside of the current experience. We are not only what happens to us. We are the ones experiencing what happens to us.
Values in this context are the qualities we choose to work towards in any given moment. We all hold values, consciously or unconsciously, that direct our steps. In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, we use tools that help us live our lives in accordance with the values that we hold dear.
Finally, ACT aims to help patients commit to actions that will assist in their long-term goals and live a life consistent with their values. Positive behavior changes cannot occur without awareness of how a given behavior affects us.
Benefits of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) teaches you how to stop denying, avoiding, and struggling with your inner emotions. You’ll learn how to acknowledge deeper feelings. As you move through talk therapy in NYC, you may begin to realize that your feelings can be appropriate responses to certain situations. Once you grasp this way of thinking, you can start accepting the hardships and issues you’re experiencing. This acceptance allows you to make the behavioral changes necessary to improve your life. ACT can be helpful for people who are really driven to achieve a lot in life because it allows you to:
Be flexible with your thoughts and feelings
When you're continuously trying to achieve your best, it can be challenging to deal with things when they don't go as planned. In order to become more flexible, ACT teaches you to embrace and manage difficult concepts, emotions, and experiences which reduces tension and enhances your ability to solve problems.
Figure out what matters to you
High achievers can lose sight of what is truly important to them in their drive of success. With the help of ACT, you may identify your values—the things that are actually important to you. You can feel more motivated, purposeful, and satisfied by setting goals that are consistent with these values.
Let go of unhelpful thoughts
High achievers frequently have an inner critic who constantly pushes them to improve. ACT teaches you that your thoughts aren't always real, and really helps you let go of automatic negative self-judgments, be kinder to yourself, and have a healthier mindset.
Learn mindfulness skills
ACT teaches you how to be more aware of the present moment without judging it which will likely help high achievers like yourself stay on task, better handle stress, and maintain balance in your hectic life.
Balancing work and personal life
High achievers often find it really hard to balance between their personal and professional lives. With the help of ACT, it’ll be easier to understand that having fun, looking after yourself, and socializing with other people are just as important as winning and accomplishing things. Setting limits and finding time for enjoyable activities are key.
Bounce back from challenges
ACT makes you more resilient, or able to bounce back from setbacks and carry on. High achievers suffer setbacks and disappointments along the road, but with ACT, you can draw lessons from them and continue to work toward your objectives.