Book review: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven C. Hayes

This book encourages you to detach from the causes of suffering, embrace your psychological pain, identify your values, and take action towards those values. It is all based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which focuses on mindfulness techniques, acceptance, and value-centric living. The author pretty much outlines the path out of suffering and towards full engagement of life.

When people believe their negative thoughts and incorporate them into their personal identity, their perspective becomes severely limited, and suffering becomes twofold. There is pain of the presence like anxiety and depression. When focusing on such negative states, a secondary type of agitation emerges: the pain of absence, which refers to the inability to move forward in life and the opportunities missed as a result.

Mindfulness techniques are very effective in catching negative thoughts before they become an ingrained part of one’s identity or self-concept. A daily practice of meditation and other contemplative practices can create a healthy distance between negative thoughts and one’s sense of self as external to those thoughts. Practicing acceptance, or the willingness to experience the situation and self exactly as they are in the present moment is the next step. The third step is to identify values, which are not life goals or specific outcomes but rather directions in life that people make the conscious decision to move toward. Once values are identified, incorporating practices of mindfulness and acceptance paves the way to values-driven living.

Key insights of this book are:

  1. There are two faces of human suffering: present pain, which refers to an undesirable condition, and the pain of absence which results from not living a full life.
  2. Human beings think relationally, creating temporal, causal, and comparative links between various subjects.
  3. Running away from pain only makes it more palpable.
  4. Avoidance can be counteracted by the belief that it’s possible to respond in a new way to old problems.
  5. Acceptance means letting go of trying to control thoughts and feelings.
  6. Creating distance between the self and negative thoughts is the first step in reducing emotional pain.
  7. Identifying with the consciousness that holds pain is preferable to identifying with the pain itself.
  8. Mindfulness practices heighten the ability to be flexible and access a wide range of reactions.
  9. Pain offers meaningful guidance to identify values.

I really enjoyed this methodically and thoughtfully written book which made the philosophical underpinnings of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) accessible. I strongly suggest reading it in its entirety. Get it here.

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, novel in verse, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

Crystal Sound Bath Therapy

crystal sound bowl bathMy latest class in sound therapy went well, as expected. I took the class for meditative effects as it makes me sit still for a half hour and helps in calming me down to a relaxed state which lessens my anxiety and counteracts the stressors in my life. Plus I don’t experience tremors (medication side effects) when I’m meditating, at least not the majority of the time. The class began with brief introductions, as it was only a half hour long activity then to an invocation to create sacred space for our activity. Only ten people were in attendance so there was plenty of room to stretch out on the floor in the sanctuary. Most brought their own mats but I had to use the center’s carpet remnants which was still comfortable.

The bowls’ harmonies were extremely calming. Sound and vibrational healing isn’t new (some believe the universe was brought into being by sound), simply not mainstream. The facilitator told us that sound healing is typically done with acoustic instruments or simply the human voice and it is beyond the human ear that our skin and bones (through every cell and atom) conduct vibrations throughout the entire body.

Frosted crystal bowls (pressurized silica sand and water) of various sizes amplify energy and transfer the sounds to our bodies with a synergistic effect that was produced through the different harmonies of the various bowls and the added use of various small musical instruments. The instructor spoke intermittently to tell us what was happening; and in doing so used a tone that harmonized well with the bowls, too.  It was an excellent exercise in mind-body healing (balance and harmony) as it was deeply relaxing, promoted self-awareness, and added some clarity to my day.

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