By: Stephanie LaBonte
“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
What do you do in the space between stimulus and response? In that moment between something happening and your reaction. In that space, you find the power to choose. In that power, you can find growth and freedom.
There is an easy-to-remember framework, based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that you can use when you want to employ your power to choose. But, what is ACT? ACT emphasizes acceptance as a way to deal with negative thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. ACT therapists often operate under a theory that suggests that increasing acceptance can lead to increased psychological flexibility, otherwise known as resilience.
When you are faced with a circumstance that brings about negative thoughts or feelings, remember the acronym BOLD.
B – Breathe deeply and slow down
Breathe in (saying “in, one, two, three”, to yourself) and out (saying “out, one, two, three”, to yourself) for a few breaths
O – Observe
Say to yourself: “I’m having the thought that _________ (insert negative thought). This is me observing myself having the thought that _______(insert negative thought).
L – Listen to your values
Do you value kindness toward yourself? (everyone deserves self-compassion). If you do, listen to that value. Perhaps there is another value that resonates with you – focus on that value.
D – Decide how to act with kindness toward yourself and then do it.
What kind words would you say to a friend struggling with the same self-criticism?
What kind of actions might you do to comfort or reassure your friend?
Are you willing to treat yourself as you would your friend?
Write down kind words you can say to yourself.
Do something kind for yourself. Examples: chat with a supportive friend, listen to music, take a bubble bath, do something fun
It can be powerful to plan ahead of time the kind words and actions that can be most helpful to you. Then, in the moment of the circumstance, you can have a personalized plan to rely on – instead of your in-the-moment emotions.
How can you utilize BOLD to build your resilience?
Stephanie’s coaching take-away:
You can use BOLD anytime, anywhere to cultivate strength of acceptance of what is and resilience to move forward in your values and with self-compassion.