Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Willingness to Feel Your Feelings

By Alice Boyes, PhD. | Uncategorized

One of the super cool concepts from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is about being “willing” to feel whatever you are feeling right now.

This might mean being willing to feel, for example:

– panicky
– embarrassed
– a sense of longing
– suicidal*
– or, whatever you are feeling right now. Try to name the feelings. Jot them down.

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy a distinction is made between wanting to feel a certain way and being willing to feel that.

Example

If you are feeling suicidal, you obviously do not want to be feeling that way but the idea is that you are willing to feel suicidal IF that is how you feel right now. You are willing to feel the feeling of it, without needing to act on the feeling for THE PURPOSE OF TAKING THE FEELING AWAY.

At the heart of ACT therapy, is the idea that when you fight with your distressing thoughts and feelings, they fight back. If you are constantly fighting with your thoughts and feelings, you will know that its exhausting.

When you’re willing to feel your feelings, you take some of their power away, because if you’re willing to feel them you’re implicitly saying that the feelings are not intolerable. You take some of their power away and they have less fight in them.

(*please don’t act on it <3 You'll be ok, even if right now it doesn't feel like you'll be ok)

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