Can we think our way to control, sanity, calm, etc?

While tag surfing I saw this post titled “The Frog and the Typewriter.”  The title drew me in, and while I’m not sure I get most of the psychological jargon, a phrase stuck out:

[T]he more you try to control your emotions with reason, the worse things get.

That conforms to my experience as well, so I was intrigued enough by that insight to dig into ACT therapy (referenced by Ollie’s post).  Again, I didn’t understand some of the entry and I wasn’t intrigued enough to translate too much of the terminology. 

However, I did like a couple of concepts that I saw when poking around in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy sites:

  • Fear is at the core of many problems — Yes, nothing like a little fight-or-flight to bring control to our emotions. (NOTE: FEAR is an acronym used in ACT).
  • Reason giving for behavior is counterproductive —  As I’ve heard someone say: “We are not rational beings, we are rationalizing beings.”  I’ve always been able to retrofit exotic and self-justifying reasons into situations where I’ve behaved badly.
  • The healthy alternative is to act — Or ACT, again, another acronym for how to deal with unwanted emotions, feelings, etc.
    • Accept your reactions and be present
    • Choose a valued direction
    • Take action  

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