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Dealing with Negative Emotions / Thoughts

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy describes how people often deal with "negative" feelings. People tend either to avoid them that is known on the Hexaflex as "experiential avoidance." Or people respond to those thoughts and feelings that they label as negative by becoming "fused."

ACT offers another solution to handling these thoughts and feelings. First of all is to understand that really no feelings except shame are inherently negative. Fear is an appropriate emotion to feel when walking on the street in the middle of the night and hearing footsteps behind you. Anger is appropriate when someone has crossed a boundary. It is "normal" to feel angry or hurt if someone you cared about forgot to meet you for lunch.

So, instead of avoiding the thoughts and feelings or becoming fused, the other option is to simply notice you are having thoughts and feelings. A good practice to implement is another ACT concept "Mindfulness." Practice spending 5 minutes noticing what you are thinking and feeling, simply letting the thoughts and feelings come like "leaves on a stream."

This short video talks more about our "negative thoughts and feelings - and - if you can't do this on your own, maybe it's time to contact someone for some help - my clients and I use ACT to work through mood disorders and other struggles. Contact me at 678-798-8540 for more information.

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