The action-oriented psychotherapy technique known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has shown promise in treating a range of mental health issues, including anxiety. ACT is described as a “unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility” by the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). To better align one’s thoughts and behaviors with one’s beliefs and goals, psychological flexibility—which can be especially useful in overcoming anxiety—refers to emotional openness. Anxiety is referred to as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” It is an inevitable emotion that every person will surely experience, as it is the body’s natural response to stress. Verywell Mind provides the following list of ACTs six key processes, which best illustrate its advantages for anxiety:
- Acceptance: This means recognizing and accepting the whole spectrum of your feelings and ideas.
- Cognitive defusion: Cognitive defusion is the process of distancing yourself from your inner experiences by focusing on thoughts rather than running away from them.
- Self as context: This involves learning to consciously observe, experience, and process your thoughts about yourself without attaching your self-value or identity to them.
- Being present: To develop a better understanding of self and events without passing judgment, one must learn to be more conscious and present in the here and now.
- Values: This involves choosing personal values in different domains and striving to live according to those principles.
- Committed action: This involves taking concrete steps to incorporate changes that will align with your values and lead to positive change.
Teens who participate in ACT are given useful coping mechanisms and techniques for handling anxious feelings and thoughts. It places a strong emphasis on mindfulness practices, enabling teenagers to notice their feelings and ideas without passing judgment. Deep breathing exercises and other mindfulness techniques have been shown in studies to be beneficial for stress reduction, relaxation, regulation of psychophysiological states, and organ function. ACT is based on the concept that suffering is a natural and inevitable part of the human condition and proposes that undue suffering and dysfunction arise from attempts to control or eliminate unwanted experiences. ACT upholds the therapeutic objective of fostering greater psychological flexibility in young people so they can effectively navigate these kinds of problems. Acceptance, mindfulness, and values-driven living are encouraged by ACT, which not only treat anxiety symptoms but also enhance psychological well-being.
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