The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Model has been designed to help develop psychological flexibility and resilience. As the name of this model the implies it encourages us to be accepting of our emotional experience as opposed to finding ways to avoid these sometimes uncomfortable and painful emotions. As Dr. Russ Harris points out, much of the literature today focuses on positive thinking. This literature can encourage us to be avoidant of our emotions. Positive thinking as well as gratitude practice are extremely valuable concepts. We want to notice what is going well and we want to notice that for which we can be grateful. These practices are valuable but should not lead us in the direction of repressing our emotions and depersonalizing ourselves. When this is the case they are no longer functional and become counter productive. What we are likely to be most afraid of in life, may well be our own emotions, and we can be very resourceful in finding ways of avoiding them. As we avoid our emotions life becomes more complicated. For clarification, I am not talking about emotion reactivity, but I am encouraging emotional awareness. Emotional avoidance is often the pathway to experiencing excessive, anxiety, depression, and compulsive behaviors. In addition it can have devastating consequences for our personal relationships. In addition to encouraging acceptance of our present emotional experience, ACT Therapy encourages us to take positive action which is in alignment with our personal values. Although we can't immediately stop our emotions, or anxiety without creating harmful side effects, we can take positive action toward our goals which are in alignment with our personal values. As we take positive action, this may help us with anxiety by focusing our energy for a positive purpose, unfortunately taking certain positive actions themselves can create its own anxiety at times. Establishing our core values is an important part of this therapeutic model. With each act of committed action we are moving toward having a more enriched and fulfilling life. When we clearly understand our values we can more easily understand when our behavior is in alignment with these values. As I talked about in another post the concept of "Choice Point" can be very helpful. As a reminder the Choice Point helps us see if we are moving "toward" or "away" from our values as we make decisions. The "Choice Point", is another concept I learned from Dr. Russ Harris. So what does psychological rigidity look like? It is a convenient path, but presents a very different outcome from that of psychological flexibility. Each day we get to choose which one we want to practice.