At Counselling Online we are providing online counselling services in Australia through SKYPE using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). We are seeing a number of executives and busy owners presenting with symptoms of anxiety, stress and burn-out. They often question why they are working long hours, what value is there when they don’t see family and why are they feeling tired and anxious a lot. We look at 4 specific areas for our executive and high-achiever clients:
Happiness is not normal
We explore with clients the myth that seems to exist these days that happiness is normal and human beings are meant to be happy and feeling good all the time. We suggest this is not the case and is more a myth that has been perpetrated by too many self-help books. Whose sole aim is to sell a belief that through positive thinking or other such unscientific methods.
Instead, we suggest that human suffering is normal and rather than happiness we should instead seek the peace of mind. We suggest that living is to be part of a society where there is death, tragedy, heartbreak. But also love, joy, kindness and happiness. And that a rich, full and meaningful life is opening ourselves up to all aspects of life – even the difficult parts.
Much of anxiety is caused by worrying about what may happen in the future. Will I have a job or will someone love me? Will I get a promotion, what happens when I get old – and so on and so on. It is understandable that so many of us think ahead in the fast-paced society we live in. Where there is a constant stream of messages about why is successful, what is normal, what is beautiful and so on.
Mindfulness is a way of observing our experience and learning to unhook from difficult thoughts. Mindfulness helps free ourselves from the illusion of language. Language can stop us from experiencing life as we can see life through a prism of being an anxious person or being an addict for example. This labelling becomes self-defeating and we become stuck and holding onto thoughts serves to also hold us back.
Much of human language has now evolved around ridding ourselves of undesirable events such as colds, pests, weather conditions. We seem to crave a life that is free of disturbance or difficulty. Psychological pain has a history and it is not a matter of getting rid of it, it is more a matter of how we deal with it and move forward.
The acceptance part of the skills set which we show clients is that trying to get rid of pain only amplifies it and entangles us further. The acceptance we encourage is not a sad, weighty acceptance but a rather vital embrace of the moment. Here at Counselling Online, we notice many executives and professionals have difficulty with acceptance as they can be programmed to want to make things better or project manage areas of their life that are difficult.
Commitment and value-based to living
We ask clients a number of questions to help them clarify what they are doing in life and for what purpose. It’s amazing in this hurried and fast-paced life that we work hard. Try to earn good money but seldom we stop for a moment and think about why are doing this and is the work we do serving a purpose. Is it taking us towards the person we want to be. So we ask clients
- Are you living the life you want to live right now?
- Is your life focused on what is most meaningful to you?
- Is the way your life your life characterised by vitality and engagement?