The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICAMB) recently published a five minute video on how two simple and gentle actions can help with depression. The video highlights the work of Dr. Steven Hayes, PhD, founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
The premise, he relates, is connecting to your values, opening up to your thoughts, and also to contribution and play. He suggests to do one new thing everyday that is connected to your values. By values he doesn’t mean something grand, but he says, the quality of being and doing, as if it’s just a secret between you and the mirror. The second thing is to do one kind thing everyday. The kindness could be towards yourself of another. He says the kindness should not be what would gain applause, and that it would be even better, if it you played a sort of game to not get caught doing the kind act.
These two steps have the ability to orient one to what they want in life and how they want to connect with others. The emphasis on going to your work, for example, could be about doing or making something that someone else needs, rather than doing it for making money.
The inroad is drawing attention to what brings meaning and purpose to your life, by doing one new thing everyday and one kind thing. These acts soften the approach to feeling better, and provide a way forward. The way forward is not about personal judgements and heaviness like, I have to do this, white knuckle it and fight my way out of the depression and anxiety.
Dr. Hayes says that depressed people worry about what others think about them. They are very hard on themselves about their depression. When working with certain women and men he found that they were brought up to be good little girls, and good little boys. The focus of doing good was for the benefit or approval of the parents. The idea to connect to the joy of others and doing for others brings about a whole different emphasis than with childhood training. Joy can now be found, by bringing it to others and connecting with your own values and purpose.
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