A recent survey done by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of Mental Health Research Canada has found that anxiety levels among Canadians has quadrupled since the beginning of the pandemic. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 61% of those surveyed said that they have experienced some or more anxiety, which is a jump from the 28% who said that they had some anxiety before COVID-19.  In times like these, it is more important than ever to be diligent about your mental health.

ACT therapy is a well known method used to treat stress and anxiety.  It is a mindfulness-based behavioural therapy where you learn to accept your inner thoughts and feelings instead of suppressing them, allowing you to face your problems head on while also employing methods to solve them. ACT uses 6 core processes in order to achieve this:

1. Acceptance

Through ACT you learn to embrace all of your experiences, including the unwanted ones.

Example: Accepting that while you are confident person, you have certain insecurities that weigh you down.

2. Cognitive Defusion 

This method of ACT requires you to stand back from yourself, and take a look at your thoughts in an objective way. Defusion means noticing your thinking processes, without trying to alter them.

Example: You might occasionally have intrusive thoughts about losing a loved one. Instead of stopping the thoughts, you acknowledge their presence while realizing that these thoughts are not reality.

3. Self in Context

This component of ACT is seeing yourself in a context, which means that you get in touch with your sense of self and be observant of who you are which is distinct from your own thoughts and memories.

Example: You reflect on your life and your upbringing and see how it may or may not influence experiences in the future.

4. Values

ACT teaches you to recognize what matters to you the most and what you truly want your life to be about.

Examples include Relationships, friendships, your career and so forth.

5. Being Present

ACTs goal is to have you experience the world more directly so that your behaviour is more flexible and consistent with the values that you hold. It emphasizes living in here and now and being aware of your experiences as they happen at this very moment in time.

Example: While taking a walk in the park, you notice the sun shining in the clear blue sky. And in your mind you say to yourself: I see the sun, and I feel the pleasant warmth on my face.

6. Committed Action

This means to make concrete goals in order to do the things that bring value to your life.

Examples include starting your own blog, learning to meditate, or going to bed earlier.

The Toronto Neurofeedback and Psychotherapy Centre offers ACT therapy services. Click here to book your appointment today!