“Human beings have the biological equivalent of a sports car between their ears….But you would not jump into a fast sports car and jam on the accelerator if somebody hadn’t told you where the brakes are” – Stephen Hayes

ACT Explained

Mental Brakes to Prevent Mental Breaks

In the words of Dr Steven Hayes, often hailed as the father of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), human beings have the biological equivalent of an advanced sport car between our ears. However, you would not let someone drive such a vehicle without telling them where the brakes are! Here at Anxious to Zen we not only tell them where the brakes are but how to use them.

ACT is one of the relatively ‘new wave’ of therapeutic interventions and lends itself towards group training as it is transdiagnostic and based on a set of principles.

In practical terms this means getting 30 people in a room and teaching them these principles regardless of how their personal issues manifest. This in turn makes it a cost effective solution for businesses looking to improve the wellbeing of their staff, reduce absenteeism, increase focus and improve staff retention.

Psychological Flexibility

At its heart is the cultivation of Psychological Flexibility otherwise known as Resilience. Learning how to define what is important and set that as your direction regardless of the narrative and emotions created by the mind.

ACT is based on a branch of science called Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and describes how, as humans, we learn in response to our environment and experiences to create ‘frames’ around certain contexts.

In a somewhat simplified manner, a frame consists of an experience (context), reflections and thoughts on the experience, emotions or feelings elicited by those reflections, and ultimately, actions or behaviours in reaction to the thoughts and emotions.

Adaptive vs. Maladaptive Responses

This can be very adaptive as we change in response to our environment to keep moving forward and growing as individuals.  Through this mechanism we resolve issues, and it can be said that we have created a ‘positive’ adaptation.

Stress and Maladaptive Anxiety start in the same way but the ultimate actions and behaviours can be said to be dysfunctional. These behaviours may include procrastination in decision making, avoidance of people, places or things, use of distractions including drugs and alcohol, none of which are long-term ‘workable’ behaviours.

In our courses we explain how frames form and how our choices can either reinforce a frame or undermine a frame. We look to teach people how to reinforce adaptive frames and undermine maladaptive frames.

Three Core Principles

The core principles in ACT are Openness, Awareness and Intention.

The Anxious to Zen training explains these principles and how to apply them in our daily lives.

Whilst the course is ACT based it also leverages elements of neuroscience to support the process.

ACT is ‘experiential’ – it needs to be lived. In the words of Russ Harris, the Psychotherapist instrumental in popularising ACT, we can use the tools in ACT to help people get out of their heads and back into their lives.

The course does not use complex jargon and is pitched at a level for anyone to understand.

With engagement in the process anyone, not just people who present as anxious, depressed or stressed, are likely to see benefits in their lives through this work.

How Can We Help?

Anxious to Zen offers a range of training products that allow Businesses to super-charge their employees and individuals to reach their potential. Select an option below to read more…

Since the pandemic, 81% of workplaces have increased their focus on employee mental health, but 1 in 3 employees still feel it’s inadequate

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