Metaphors for Life - an invitation to consider your own experience of relating to thoughts, feelings and actions from a different perspective. Encouraging psychological flexibility with content inspired by the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
A collection of ideas, short stories, fables or parables designed to pose questions and help you navigate life using similes and metaphors. Using a bite-sized, 'Pause for thought' or 'Thought for the day' style format, rooted in the principles of psychological therapy and self help for improving mental health and wellbeing.
#14 Dropping anchor with Russ Harris
Thanks to Russ Harris for his willingness to share this exercise, called "Dropping Anchor", in this guest post on the 'Metaphors for Life' podcast. In his most recent book, this exercise was described as "the single most useful and versatile technique in the whole of ACT" (that is, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).
Dr Russ Harris is a peer-reviewed ACT trainer, international speaker and author of self-help books including 'The Happiness Trap' and 'The Reality Slap', among others.
Find out more about Russ Harris and his work, including online courses, here:
#13 Illustrating your mind with Louise Gardner
In this guest post from professional Illustrator, Louise Gardner AKA @ACTAuntie on Twitter, and "Your ACT Auntie" on Youtube, we learn about her drawing of a human mind as a 'Safety Observing Sponge'.
If you'd like to see more of Louise's work, check out www.louisegardner.com
#12 Mental Traffic
In episode #12 of the 'Metaphors for Life' podcast, we're reflecting on the idea that "thoughts in your mind are like vehicles on a road".
To bring this to life I recorded this on location, near to where I live.
I have posted a video to accompany this episode on YouTube - check it out! https://youtu.be/MKXG-2gck1Y
It can be noisy and distracting to have cars and buses pass within earshot of where you live. Especially if you're trying to get on with the stuff in life that is important to you. I've had doubts about whether I could put up with it. My experience tells me that I do not have control over it - much as I might like to, I do not get to direct or control this traffic!
I have also found it interesting to watch the traffic, taking a step back and noticing the various vehicles as they make their way past, for whatever reason. See how you get on!
#11 Bottling Emotions
Opening up after having been shaken up can be painful and messy. If you did choose to lift the lid, for some reason, what's your mind telling you about what could happen?
From my perspective, I can see that problems arise, both within ourselves, and, in my view, within society, if we keep ignoring and "bottling up" our emotions rather than acknowledge the challenge of the human condition. Whether its a screw top or a cork, one can only contain so much, so perhaps its worth sharing?
#10 Introducing Yourself
Have you ever thought about the kind of relationship that you have with your own self? Relationships need work and attention, kindness, respect, compassion and tolerance, whether it’s with a partner, a child or a friend. Becoming frustrated, having unrealistic expectations and speaking down to a person who you spend a lot of time with risks them thinking that you don’t care and makes it difficult to get on. Why not have a go at being your own cheerleader?
#9 Digging holes
Your supposed to avoid and escape from uncomfortable feelings and circumstances, right? In my experience, this is not always possible. When you're trying to cope with a difficult situation it's worth checking in with your sense of how well a strategy is working for you. You might find that while feeling stuck you're making things more difficult for yourself in your efforts to dig yourself out, control the situation and problem solve!
This episode is based on the "person in the hole" metaphor, from the 1999 ACT book by Steven Hayes, Kirk Strosahl and Kelly Wilson - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behaviour Change.
I interviewed Steve Hayes about the use of metaphors in ACT, in episode 6 of this podcast, and David Gillanders made reference to this metaphor in episode 8!