Mindful Resilience 

Tools for Post-Breast Cancer Wellness Blog

Embracing Change with ACT: A Breast Cancer Survivor's Guide

Dec 02, 2023


"Change is not a threat, it's an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is," Seth Godin once said. As a breast cancer survivor, embracing this change is pivotal. I’m Linda Dyson, and today, let’s dive into how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), especially as explained by Russ Harris in "The Happiness Trap," can be a guiding light in your journey.

Acceptance and Commitment: The Heart of ACT

ACT teaches us not to battle our feelings but to embrace our reality and commit to meaningful actions. Russ Harris beautifully states, "It's about holding your fears in one hand and your commitments in the other." This balance is crucial in the unpredictable journey of cancer.

Values & Inner Strengths: Your Guiding Star & Momentum

What are your guiding values? Family, health, or personal growth? Identifying these can be your beacon through the darkest times. As Harris mentions in "The Happiness Trap," understanding your values is key to navigating life’s challenges.

Mindfulness: Embracing the Present

Mindfulness, a cornerstone of ACT, involves fully experiencing the present moment without judgment. This approach can offer solace amid the emotional storm that often accompanies cancer.

Accepting Thoughts and Emotions  

Cancer can trigger an overwhelming array of emotions. ACT encourages us to accept these as natural. As stated in a study from the Journal of Clinical Psychology (Hayes et al., 2006), such acceptance is often the first step towards psychological flexibility and empowerment.

Committed Action: Aligned with Your Values
ACT emphasizes actions that resonate with your values. This might mean focusing on wellness, seeking support, or contributing to a cause. As Harris notes, "Committed action means taking effective action guided by your values."

The Paradox of Change
ACT introduces a paradox: when you stop struggling to change your feelings, you start to change your life. Embracing this paradox can be liberating, especially during cancer treatment.

Practical Guide for Each Phase
ACT isn’t just a concept; it's a practical approach to each phase of your cancer journey, from diagnosis to finding your new normal.

Your Story, Your Strength
Your journey is unique. ACT doesn’t aim to rewrite your story but to change how you relate to it. It’s about finding strength in your narrative, as you live it every day.

In conclusion, embracing change with ACT is about living a life true to your values amidst uncertainty. It's about turning survival into a story of resilience and triumph.

To your health and empowerment,
Linda Dyson


1. Harris, R. (2008). *The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living*. Trumpeter Books. This book provides an accessible understanding of ACT principles.
2. Hayes, S. C., et al. (2006). *Acceptance and commitment therapy: Model, processes and outcomes*. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(1), 1-25. This study explores the effectiveness of ACT in enhancing psychological flexibility.


This blog post, combining the insights of Russ Harris and the concise style of Seth Godin, is designed to guide breast cancer survivors through using ACT for embracing change, aligning with their values, and finding strength in their journey.