Emotional health is an important component of our mental health and has to do with our subjective emotions like joy and sorrow, pride and shame, self-love and self-loathing, and more. While it’s true that emotions come and go, often striking us seemingly out of the blue, it’s also true that we are not powerless in the face of our feelings. While we might not entirely stop them, we can rise above negative emotions in order to live well in spite of them. One way to do so is by creating a bare spot in your garden.
Acceptance and commitment therapy is a powerful approach to our mental health and wellbeing. It may not seem like it sometimes, but each and every one of us has the power within us to create what in positive psychology is known as a life worth living. A life worth living simply means the life that we, individually, find valuable–a quality life that we want to fully and completely live. A life worth living is never out of reach. There is an incredibly useful therapeutic approach that can guide us all along the long and winding path. Referred to as acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, this approach empowers us all to live well and thrive in spite of problems, hardships, and challenges.
Positivity. It’s the art and science of seeing the good, of continuing to seek mental health and wellbeing, of knowing that you’re capable of taking action toward a life worth living. There are multiple components to positivity. Perhaps oddly, one of those components is doubt. It’s common, and very okay, to wonder if positivity is effective. Does it have an actual function, or is it just fluff? Does it contribute to wellbeing, or does it only happen once you “have” wellbeing? The short answer: You can hone positivity when you’re down and experience wellbeing despite mental health challenges.
Life. It’s a ride. Specifically, it’s a roller coaster, and according to Grandma in the movie Parenthood (1989), a roller coaster is wonderful. She describes,
“You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”
Flow, a mindfulness experience of being completely immersed in the joy of what you’re doing, reduces stress. Stress comes in many different forms and from a multitude of sources. It also has many rather nasty symptoms. In general, people often find themselves busy, rushed, facing looming deadlines, dealing with conflict, addressing seemingly insurmountable problems and challenges, illnesses both mental and physical. We hurt, we ache, heads pound, stomachs protest, and in general we feel that we’ll explode, and if we don’t explode we’ll certainly implode.
Recently, we took a family trip to Disney World. Topping my children’s list of enjoyment was pin trading. Disney sells cute little pins to tourists, and employees throughout the parks and resorts wear their own to trade with guests. It’s typically something that connects people, brings them together in friendly conversation and exchange.
One day, a man brought his own gigantic selection of pins and parked himself at a table to trade with guests. Unlike the Disney employees, he could be selective in his trading and only accept/trade away what suited him. That’s entirely well and good. What was not so well and good was how he rejected my thirteen-year-old son’s trade proposal. The man was harsh and brusque, telling him his pin was inferior and refusing to trade for the one my son had been seeking.