By Freddy Jackson Brown, Duncan Gillard, Steven C. Hayes

Part of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Many therapeutic approaches are seen as relevant only to those with a clinically diagnosed mental health problem. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) differs in this respect. Anyone and everyone can benefit from ACT; it can be applied to everyday difficulties as well as serious problems, such as depression. Workplace stress, for example, is a very common problem.

Here are some ACT tips for dealing with workplace stress:

  • List your values – in terms of the kind of person you want to be and the personal qualities that are important to you – and think about how they relate to your working life. From time to time, take one value from this list and set yourself a little personal goal that relates to it. For example, if you value being supportive to colleagues, ask someone who appears to be struggling to join you for coffee to discuss how things are going.

  • Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day if you’re faced with an overwhelming task. Divide that task into small steps and then take the first one!

  • If your work life is making you feel stressed, bear in mind that being disconnected from your values may also account for that feeling. Making some changes that reflect your values – such as resolving to have that difficult conversation with your manager which you’ve been avoiding for the past six months – may resolve the problem or at least make working too hard more manageable.

  • Take some time during your working day to just ‘be’. Consider working through a brief mindfulness exercise – it can have a profound effect on how able you feel to embrace the challenges you encounter on a daily basis.