A MEANINGFUL LIFE

THE SIX CORE PRINCIPLES OF ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT):

1. DEFUSION
Recognizing thoughts, images, and memories for what they are – just words and pictures – and allowing them to come and go as they please, without fighting them, running from them, or giving them more attention that they deserve.

2. EXPANSION
Making room for feelings, sensations, and urges and allowing them to come and go as they please, without fighting them, running from them, or giving them undue attention.

3. CONNECTION
Bringing full awareness to your here-and-now experience with openness, interest, and receptiveness; focusing on and engaging fully in whatever you’re doing.

4. THE OBSERVING SELF
A transcendent part of you; a perspective from which to observe difficult thoughts and feelings, without being hurt by them. The one part of you which is unchanging, ever-present, and impervious to harm. It has no physical properties: it is “pure awareness.”

5. VALUES
Clarifying what is most important in your heart: what sort of person you want to be, what is significant and meaningful to you, what you want to stand for in this life.

6. COMMITTED ACTION
Taking effective action in line with your values (again and again, no matter how many times you go off track). These six basic principles are neatly summarized in the basic ACT formula:
A = Accept your thoughts and feelings and be present.
C = Connect with your values.
T = Take effective action.
The more you live by these six core principles, the more fulfilling and rewarding your life will be. But don’t believe this just because I say so. Try it out and trust your own experience. If these principles work for you, if they give you a rich, full life, then it makes sense to embrace them as fully as possible.

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