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We are influenced more by the way we relate to our thoughts and feelings than by our own thoughts and feelings (Bond et al., 2006). We suffer more because we avoid pain than from pain itself (McCracken, 1998).
In this article, I will talk about how to accept negative thoughts and emotions, focusing on 6 principles (Hayes et al., 1999; Bond and Flaxman, 2006) that allow us to live with more emotional flexibility (Baer, 2003). ; Hayes et al., 2006).
Let the thoughts come and go
Instead of trying to deny, replace our thoughts or prove that they are false, we let them come and go like clouds. They are not facts. We see our thoughts on what they are – nothing more or less than words or pictures.
Accept that you are not in control
Instead of fighting uncomfortable situations, accept that you have no control over anything but your actions and the way you respond. This does not mean that you have to like them or want them.
Focus on the here and now
We often struggle with the future or the past. Both cause anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. We focus on what is happening in the here and now. The more we understand our thoughts and feelings, the better we will be able to regulate our behavior and make the choices we need now.
Distinguish what is really permanent
In life we have many roles and labels to describe ourselves. These roles and labels are part of a story that is constantly changing. As we go through life, the body changes, thoughts change, emotions change, roles change, but you who observe are the only ones who are constant. We are not the labels and the roles we choose or are assigned.
Learn what is important
Deep in your heart, how do you want to live your life? What do you want to do with your short time on this planet? Values are the way we want to live – they describe how we want to behave on an ongoing basis and give meaning to our lives.
Do what is needed
This means taking effective action, guided by our values. It is good to know our values, and to have them in line with our daily actions. Only then does life become rich, full and meaningful.
Hill & Oliver (2019): “It is not the presence of unwanted thoughts and feelings that is problematic and derails us in life, it is the way we tend to respond to them. It is the urge to push, to deny, to fight with them or to avoid situations that may be caused that keeps us stuck”.
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