Motivation and emotion/Book/2013/Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and emotion/Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and Stress

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Stress[edit | edit source]

That feeling of impending doom? As if time is running out? stress can feel like that.
Stress can have debilitating effects to your everyday life (Flaxman & Bond, 2010). This section of the chapter will be focussing on workplace stress as research suggests workplace stress to be prevalent throughout all professions (Flaxman & Bond, 2010). As one can only image from time to time everyone suffers from stress, whatever the situation is stress can get the better of us.
However, at times stress can just be too much and your head feels like it may explode, so how can we minimise this reaction to stressful situations?
Research suggests that programs such as worksite stress management and training (SMT) are a moderately effective practice for improving employee’s psychological health (Flaxman & Bond, 2010; Bond & Bunce, 2000).On the other hand acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has been said to promote workplace mental health through implementing the six ACT processes: acceptance, defusion, and contact with the present moment, self-as-context, values, and committed action (Hayes et al., 2013; Flaxman &Bond, 2010).
A recent study by Flaxman and Bond (2010) undertook research examining whether ACT process would improve mental health through an increase in psychological flexibility. The study was depicting how different therapies work in different ways e.g., SMT is based on cognitive change and ACT on psychological flexibility (Flaxman & Bond, 2010). The training took place within three hour sessions over a period of three months, the intervention for the ACT model consisted of: mindfulness exercise, in which participants closed the eyes in order to increase awareness of present moment and further assisting in the acceptance of negative thoughts and emotions (Flaxman & Bond, 2010). The mindfulness strategy further facilitated finding one’s sense of self and differentiating you from problematic psychological content (Flaxman & Bond, 2010). The training additionally provided participants with exercises centred on cognitive defusion such as differentiating literal contact from thoughts and beliefs with the intention to open up one’s mind to self-valued behaviour (Flaxman &Bond, 2010). Participants also took part in exercises used for clarification of goals and self-directed values e.g., writing it down, saying it to another (Flaxman &Bond, 2010).
It should be noted that the research findings suggest that ACT process are effective in expanding psychological flexibility to reduce stress (Flaxman & Bond, 2010).The afore mentioned strategies
may be implemented in your own life, perhaps when you are faced with stressful situations taking into account how some of these strategies were implemented and doing so yourself.

References[edit | edit source]

Bond, F. W., & Bunce, D. (2000). Mediators of change in emotion-focused and problem-focused worksite stress management interventions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 156.

Flaxman, P. E., & Bond, F. W. (2010). A randomised worksite comparison of acceptance and commitment therapy and stress inoculation training. Behaviour research and therapy, 48, 816-820. Doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.05.004

Hayes, S. C., Levin, M. E., Plumb-Vilardaga, J., Villatte, J. L., & Pistorello, J. (2013). Acceptance and commitment therapy and contextual behavioural science: Examining the progress of a distinctive model of behavioural and cognitive therapy. Behaviour Therapy, 44, 180-198. Doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2009.08.002