Saturday, July 20, 2013

{ ACT } don't think about the white polar bear

Have you ever tried hard not to think about something?

The classic demonstration* goes like this:

For the next 30 seconds, try not to think about a white polar bear.

Go on, close your eyes and just block out any thoughts of a white polar bear.

And then the white bear grows and grows. The more you shake your head, the more it sticks.

White bears can take other familiar forms: worries, fears, urges. Somehow, when we tell ourselves "Stop feeling sad about that!" or "Don't eat that cookie!", that's when sadness and craving seem to dance most wildly in our minds.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is built on the idea that, often, our desire to push away negative experiences only results in further suffering -- and, paradoxically, when we learn to “live with” certain unwanted feelings and emotions, we can release their hold over us and even create new, meaningful ways of living.

This year, I am excited to receive specialized training in ACT as part of my practicum. So, here at KARMOMO, I plan to start a series where I will unpack & share concepts as I'm learning them... and how they relate to life, wellness & creativity.

I look forward to having you along for the journey! For your convenience, you could opt to subscribe to KARMOMO to receive these tidbits right in your inbox or via your blog feed. Thank you!

*Wegner et al., 1987

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“Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” -- Marcus Aurelius