How Acceptance and Commitment Therapy skills can help you to respond effectively to the Covid 19 crisis

FACE COVID – how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy skills can help you to respond effectively to the Covid 19 crisis – with thanks to Dr Russ Harris for the text, and the worldwide ACT community for the wonderful animation and infographic!

‘FACE COVID’ is a set of practical steps you can take to respond to the Corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Here’s a quick summary of the key steps, and in the linked animation, infographic and e-book you can explore them all in more depth:
F = Focus on what’s in your control

A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings

C = Come back into your body

E = Engage in what you’re doing

C = Committed action

O = Opening up

V = Values

I = Identify resources

D = Disinfect & distance
= FACE COVID! Let’s now explore these, one by one…

Focus on what’s in your control
Fear, anxiety & worry are normal reactions. You can’t magically control them. Nor can you control the Corona virus or the world economy. But you can control what you do – here & now. So focus on that!

Acknowledge thoughts & feelings
Silently and kindly acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, With curiosity, notice what’s going on in your inner world. You might say to yourself, ‘I’m noticing feelings of anxiety’ or ‘There’s my mind worrying’ or ‘I’m having feelings of loneliness’.

Come back into your body
Find your own way to connect with your physical body, For example: Slowly press your feet hard into the floor, or slowly press your fingertips together, or slowly stretch your arms or neck, or shrug your shoulders, or take some slow breaths.

Engage in what you’re doing
Notice where you are, and refocus your attention on the activity at hand. Notice what you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Notice what you are doing, and give your full attention to that activity.


Committed action
Take effective action. Follow official guidelines to protect yourself & others. Ask yourself often ‘What can I do right now – no matter how small it may be – that improves life for myself or others?’

Open up
Make room for all those painful feelings – and be kind to yourself. What kind things would you say to and do for a loved one in this situation? Apply those same kind words and deeds to yourself.

What sort of person do you want to be? How do you want to treat yourself and others? Your values might include love, patience, courage, kindness … or numerous others. Look for ways to live them.

Identify resources
Identify resources for help, assistance, support, and advice. This includes friends, family, neighbours, health professionals, emergency services. Make sure you know the contact phone numbers.

Disinfect & Distance
Disinfect often & physically distance – to care for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Please share all these resources – the animation, infographic and more detailed e-book as widely as you may choose. This is a global time of crisis and need for effective action – let us do all we can to FACE COVID – and care for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Check out Russ’ full ebook on FACE COVID here.

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