An Overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

“Acceptance asks us to recognise this paradox, to understand that it is part of being human to experience pain, that life requires it, and to exert endless effort towards always preventing pain is more than a full-time job that will never be accomplished. If, however, we can be open to experiencing pain and fear, to recognise their connection to things that are meaningful and purposeful, to give up the never-ending battle of avoidance, then we create room for our life to happen, even if things are difficult. So, acceptance is not just ‘sucking it up’, it is remaining open to our most difficult and painful emotional experiences so that we can move through them, all the while staying as engaged in our lives in meaningful ways as much as possible…

…Not getting dragged down by the past or weighed down by the future requires being grounded in the present. Our minds are constantly tugging at us, pulling us towards the anxieties of the future or the regrets of the past. When we focus intensely on the present moment – on what’s happening in our bodies, our minds and all around us – we increase our ability to be psychologically flexible. This is often referred to as mindfulness, which is really nothing more than just paying exquisite attention to the present moment.”

—Joseph Trento, “How to Live a Values-Driven Life in the Face of Dark Emotions.” Aeon. April 1, 2019.