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Every day, we are faced with difficult thoughts and feelings that are uncomfortable.  Whether it’s sadness, fear, shame, guilt, or anxiety, these feelings can take on a life of their own and feel overpowering.  Soon enough, we may start to have other unpleasant feelings as a result of our struggle with the initial feeling.  For example, we may feel frustration over the fact we are anxious, or guilt over the fact we are sad. That’s the problem with many of our feelings – the more that we struggle with having the feeling, the more the feeling takes hold of us.

What if there was an alternative?  What if there’s a chance that these feelings are here because there is something that is meaningful, something that is so important we hurt because of it?

If struggling with the feelings isn’t working, the only other alternative we have is to create space to allow them to be present.  Give this a try:

Take a few breaths.  Notice how it feels when you breathe, and how the air feels as it flows in through your nose when you inhale, and how it feels when it exits when you exhale.  Notice the speed of your breath, and how your rib cage moves slightly up as you inhale, and falls again when you exhale.  Now see if you can locate the difficult feeling.  Is it in your stomach?  In your chest?  In your heart? Your head?  Notice where you feel it.  Notice how big it feels – does it feel large and heavy, like it’s weighing you down?  Does it feel small?  Notice if it feels like it has any movement – is it pulsing, or vibrating?  Is it still?  If it had a colour, what colour would it be?  What kind of texture would it have – would it be smooth, or spikey?  See if you can create a picture of a creature for this feeling using these qualities. 

You don’t have to like the creature or want it there, but see if you can allow it to just hang out.  As ugly or undesirable as this creature may be, it is telling you that something is important.  We hurt where we care, and this creature’s presence is a sign that something is very important to you.  In other words, struggling with the creature is only struggling with an essential part of yourself.  What’s more, struggling with the creature ties up energy and resources that you could be using to do things that bring you closer to the life you want.

creatures

So, next time you see the creature, see if you can hold it lightly.  See if you can soften a little around it, and provide yourself with self-compassion like what you would feel for a friend experiencing the same thing.  Notice that you are always larger than the creature.  And maybe, it is okay to have this little creature along for the ride with you after all.

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You’re at home in the evening, and all of a sudden a wave of sadness creeps in.  You find out you didn’t get the promotion you worked so hard towards, and you feel shame, wondering how you’ll tell your family.  You arrive at an event, notice you’re significantly under-dressed for the occasion, and instantly feel embarrassed, wishing you could just disappear.  We experience a multitude of emotions each and every day, and yet we dread and try and avoid this experience as best as we can.  But why?

Were you ever told as a child, “Big boys/girls don’t cry”, “Snap out of it”, or “Don’t worry about it”?  From a very young age, many of us were taught to do our best to avoid emotions, to not think about them, or to use distraction techniques.  We learned that some emotions were “good”, and some were “bad”, and that we will only be happy in life if we avoid the “bad” or “negative” emotions.  As such, we start to become masters at avoiding emotions, whether it be holding them in, harshly judging ourselves for experiencing them, or trying to dampen our emotions with substances or other avoidance techniques.  Although this can sometimes be effective in the short term, there are many long-term implications for treating our emotions as enemies, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), our emotions are viewed as a part of our experience that are neither good nor bad.  Instead, ACT takes a radical stance that we must learn to universally accept all emotions, no matter how they make us feel.  Acceptance does not necessarily mean that we want the emotions or like them, but rather that we are choosing to allow space for them to be a part of our experience.  When we allow space for our emotions, we are fostering self-compassion by allowing ourselves to be here, as we are, right now.  Dr. Joan Rosenberg, a psychologist based in Los Angeles, argues that emotions actually help us to feel more comfortable in our own skin.  In her TEDx Talk, she discusses how we must embrace our emotions, as they are the path back to being more fully you.  In other words, to deny our emotions is to deny a part of ourselves and perhaps the very thing that makes us human.

So how can we end this battle with our emotions?  Next time you experience a strong emotion, pause.  Notice where you feel the emotion, and any thoughts that show up with it.  Notice if any rules or judgements about your emotions appear.  Notice if you experience the urge to run away and escape this uncomfortable feeling.  Then, instead of doing the escaping – just let it be.  Open up and allow space for the emotion, granting it permission to be there.  Physically, emotions hurt, but they cannot harm us.  We are always bigger than any emotion we may experience.  We hurt where we care, and experiencing an emotion is a sign that there is something we care deeply about.  What is it?  How can we honour this part of ourselves?  Can we thank ourselves for caring so deeply and passionately about something?  It is through this last step of gratitude that we can slow down, connect, and centre ourselves in what’s really important.

sitting-peacefully

You can view Dr. Joan Rosenberg’s TEDx talk by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE

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Having difficulties sleeping can be one of the most frustrating struggles for one to experience.  Whether it’s troubles falling asleep, waking up, or getting out of bed in the morning, issues with sleep can significantly impact other areas of our life.

Here are some tried and true tips inspired by research to help you set up an optimal sleep environment:

1. Set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day.

Although it can be tempting to base our wake up time on our schedule, our bodies can have difficulties adapting to these variations.  Waking up at different times each day can induce feelings similar to jet lag, leaving you feeling tired during the day.  Instead, try setting an alarm for the same time each day, even on weekends.

2.  Avoid screen time before bed, and download blue-light blocking apps.

Research has shown that blue light exposure from light-emitting eReaders before bed can negatively impact our quality of sleep at night and next-morning alertness (Chang et al., 2015). Using electronics in bed before you attempt to fall asleep may also be stimulating in general, by the nature of the content you are viewing or prolonged use.  To avoid electronics interfering with your sleep, commit to only using electronics outside of the bedroom environment.  You can also download applications which are specifically developed to remove the blue light from your electronics corresponding with normal daytime hours. “flux” is an example of one such application, and can be downloaded from the following link: https://justgetflux.com/

 3. Remove your bedroom clock or hide the display.

I cannot stress this one enough.  As a self-admitted bedroom clock-watcher, I can attest to how anxiety-provoking it can be to watch the clock count down closer and closer to the alarm going off.  Hours of “Okay, now I will have five hours of sleep… Now four and a half…” can further add to sleep anxiety and prolonged periods of tossing and turning.  Instead, shut off your clock display, turn the clock so it is not facing you, or cover the display with a face cloth so you cannot see it.

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4.  Avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bed.

Any caffeinated products (including coffee, tea, and soda) should be avoided five to six hours before bed.  Therefore, if you plan to go to bed at 10:00 p.m., avoid caffeine after 4:00 p.m.  This ensures that the caffeine has enough time to work its way through your system (which typically takes approximately 6 hours) before you go to sleep.  Similarly, nicotine should be avoided 2-3 hours before bed, as this is the time frame nicotine requires to work through your system.

5.  If you can’t sleep, try getting out of bed.

If you are in bed tossing and turning for greater than twenty minutes, it may be beneficial to try to get out of bed for a brief change in environments.  You may try to walk around the house, have a drink of water, or try a breathing exercise in the living room.  If you are lying in bed thinking of all the things you need to do the next day, it may be helpful to go to the kitchen or living room and write a list of the things you need to do.  You can leave your list on the table there and then return to bed, knowing that those to-do’s will still be there for you in the morning.

6.  Increase physical activity during the day.

There is ample scientific evidence that exercise improves quality of sleep, and can also improve human sleep disorders (Sherrill et al., 1998).   With direct benefits for sleep and countless benefits for other areas of our health, why not get active!  Try to aim for 30 consecutive minutes of physical activity per day, through activities such as taking a class at the gym, going for a long walk, or playing with the kids.

Adapting to a new sleep routine can be frustrating, and it does take time.  Be persistent with using these strategies, and you should be on the road to a restful night’s sleep!

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References

Chang, A., Aeschbach, D., Duffy, J., & Czeisler, C. (2015). Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. PNAS, 112(4): 1232-1237.

Sherrill, D., Kotchou, K., & Quan, S. (1998). Association of physical activity and sleep disorders. Arch Intern Med. 158(17): 1894-18



“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations” –Michael J. Fox

sunny-tree

Although acceptance is the namesake and one of the main premises of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), it can be a difficult concept to understand and an even more challenging one to put into practice.

There are many misconceptions about acceptance.  When we speak of acceptance, we do not mean liking or wanting something that we are struggling with.  It also does not mean resigning or giving up on trying to improve a situation.  Rather, acceptance means taking a stance that is fully open to experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations, whether pleasant or unpleasant.

Our minds do not seem to come innately wired for acceptance.  More often than not, we find ourselves struggling with difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  Almost all of us have some version of a “not good enough” story.  We may compare ourselves to others in terms of wealth, attractiveness, status, or achievements and wonder why we do not stack up.  This can then lead to struggle, and attempting to cope with the struggle by doing things that do not bring us closer to achieving these ideals.

For example, one may have the thought “I wish I was as attractive as them” which then leads to feelings of shame, guilt, frustration, or sadness.  The individual may struggle more with those feelings, and then try to alleviate some of the pain through distraction techniques such as television or overeating.  Unfortunately, these strategies are unlikely to rid the individual of the feeling forever, and they are likely to produce further feelings of frustration, sadness, and shame.  This can lead to further distraction techniques, which then becomes a cycle of struggle.

Acceptance offers us an alternative to feeling caught in a battle with our own mind.  When we choose to accept a thought, feeling, or sensation, we are acknowledging that sensation and allowing its presence – even if it is unpleasant for us to do so.  It is greeting the feeling with open arms; even if it is not something we want, with the knowledge that it is normal and natural to have this feeling.  It is meeting the feeling with compassion, noticing that we hurt where we care, and this is a feeling that is telling us something is important to us.

So how do we do this?  The first step is to notice the thoughts, feelings, or sensations you may be struggling with.  What is it?  Notice where you feel this struggle – how does it show up as a sensation in your body?  Do you feel a tightening in your chest?  A knot in your stomach?  A lump in your throat?  Notice what your urge to do is when this sensation shows up.  Do you have the urge to run, and not confront it?  The urge to watch television, or have a snack?  The urge to yell, or tell somebody off?  Notice if these urges bring you closer to the person you would like to be, or take you away from them.  Finally, you may ask yourself: Is it possible to sit with these sensations and allow them to be there while refraining from acting on the urges?

We may find that acceptance is easier with some thoughts or sensations, and more difficult with others.  There may be times when acceptance comes easy to us, and we welcome thoughts and feelings with open arms.  Then there may be other times when we notice we are in a struggle, but cannot seem to find the will to accept.  Accept this.  The more we accept, the more we can notice thoughts that hook us and the urges that come from the thoughts, without acting on those urges.  The more we utilize acceptance, the more we may have compassion for ourselves and for others who are struggling.

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fading-person

Have you ever felt like your thoughts were swirling so fast it felt like you were becoming caught up in a mind tornado?  Have you ever gotten so into your thoughts that you lost track of what was happening around you, and zoned out?  If you answered yes, you are certainly not alone!  When we experience strong thoughts, feelings, or emotions it can lead to feeling stuck and disconnected from the world around us.  This does not mean we are crazy – it’s our body’s natural response to feeling overwhelmed.  Grounding involves engaging with our five senses to help return our attention back to the present moment when we feel we are getting caught up in thoughts.  The grounding techniques below can help bring you back from feeling stuck and help you return your attention to your environment.


5-4-3-2-1 Grounding

Notice five things you can see in your immediate surroundings, four things you can touch (e.g. your shirt on your skin, your back touching the chair), three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.  This technique forces you to return your attention to your surroundings, and is one of the most common and effective grounding strategies to use.

Noticing your Points of Contact

Pause and notice all of your points of contact.  Notice your feet on the floor, and how your toes, arches of your feet, and heels feel on the ground.  Notice your thighs on your chair, and how the chair feels as your legs rest on it.  Press your back against the chair if it is not there already, and notice how this feels.  Notice where your hands are making contact, whether they are resting on your legs, the arms of a chair, or on a table or desk.

Listening to a Song

Choose a soothing song, and listen with your full attention.  Notice the different layers of the music, including beats, instruments, and singing voices.  Notice the speed of the song, and whether it is fast or slow.  Notice if the song has loud or quiet parts.  Notice how the song makes you feel.


Although these techniques do not “fix” the difficult thoughts, feelings, or emotions you may be experiencing, they are helpful in directing your attention to your senses and your environment.  It may also be helpful to create a visual reminder for you to practice grounding, such as a sticky note on your desk.  These strategies are best practiced daily, even if you do not feel like you are currently in a panic state.  The more you practice, the more effective these strategies will be when you do need them.

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meditation

Although gratitude is a well-known concept, it isn’t something that the majority of us bring to mind on a regular day-to-day basis.

That being said, there are many benefits to practicing gratitude in your daily life!  There is substantial research on the power of gratitude and the connections expressing gratitude has to human relationships, mood, and overall self-reported wellbeing (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Rash, Matsuba, & Prkachin, 2011; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003).  It is no surprise that gratitude is linked to increased satisfaction in relationships, improved mood, and increased well-being.  With benefits like these, why not make it a point to practice more gratitude!

Here are some ways to help you cultivate gratitude on a daily basis:

1. Write down three things you are grateful for each day.

  • This is an incredibly simple suggestion, but is very effective in recognizing the things in your day you are grateful for.
  • Write down these things in a notebook or journal, and keep it in a visible place where you will see it. This helps ensure you remember to do it each day!

2. Download a gratitude app on your mobile device, and use it!

  • Apps can be a great tool because they are easily accessible if you use your mobile device regularly.
  • Two gratitude apps I have tried are Gratitude 365, and Gratitude Journal. Both of these apps allow you to write short entries in addition to including photos of the things you are grateful for each day.
  • The homepage of the apps display your entries on your own monthly calendar. This is great to see an overall recap of the things you were grateful for in an entire month.
  • These apps also include a Reminder feature, so you can set the app to remind you to write an entry each day at a certain time – great for forming a new habit!
  • As an added tip – it can sometimes be meaningful to do this activity with a loved one and record what each of you are feeling grateful for that day.

3. Express gratitude towards the people you are thankful for in your life.

  • Write down a list or a letter including the things you are most grateful for about a person who is meaningful to you.
  • Once you have completed the list, share it with the person, either by telling them the next time you see them, phoning them, or maybe even sending your letter in the mail!
  • You can check out this video for an example of expressing gratitude towards loved ones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg

 If you don’t want to commit to any of the above suggestions, watch this YouTube video on Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ

 This video is a wonderful reminder of how many things there are to be grateful for each and every day – I hope you find it as inspiring as I did!

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Sources

Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2003). Count blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.

Rash, J. A., Matsuba, K.M., & Prkachin, K.M. (2011). Gratitude and well-being: Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention? Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(3), 350-369.

Watkins, P.C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R.L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 31(5), 431-451.



For me, it all starts with packing away the Christmas decorations.  As I pack the decorations into their corresponding boxes, a small sense of sadness creeps in, and thoughts that there isn’t much to look forward to, come out.  Days are shorter, with darkness beginning early and the neighbourhood quieter as people stay inside.  It suddenly becomes more difficult to do things that are usually simple, like making dinner, socializing, going to the gym, or even getting out of bed in the morning.

Although it may feel like you are stuck until the days become brighter and warmer, and it’s true that you cannot force yourself to be in a better mood, there are things you can do to help alleviate your suffering during this time!

Here are some tips to help keep you on track and manage the winter blues:

  1. Exercise regularly: I cannot stress this one enough.  Often exercising is the last thing we feel like doing when we feel blue, but the research suggests substantial evidence for the positive benefits of exercise on mood.  When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which work in a similar way to antidepressants.  Exercising also has an energizing effect, which can help with the fatigue that often accompanies the winter blues.  If you are finding troubles motivating yourself to exercise, try to find an exercise buddy, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to exercise, or mark the days you exercised on a calendar to help keep you accountable.
  2. Continue to do the things you love: In the wintertime, it is easy to talk ourselves out of going to things that are important to us.  I notice myself having more trouble getting to the gym or yoga class – both things I enjoy – simply because they seem like a lot more work during this time.  Make a list for yourself of activities that are meaningful to you, and make a commitment of how many days a week you would like to do this activity.  Then when your mind throws up barriers…
  3. Don’t always listen to your mind: If you are feeling low, you are likely having more negative thoughts than normal.  I find that during the winter months, I have more negative thoughts about myself, my relationships, and life in general.  It is important that we are mindful of these thoughts, and notice them without becoming attached.  One of the easiest ways to do this is by labeling the thought.  For example, “I notice I am having the thought that I am not good enough” is very different than “I am not good enough”, as it helps us recognize that it is a thought that we are having instead of an ultimate truth.  You can also try a more formal exercise, such as leaves on a stream (found here)
  4. Talk to someone: Unfortunately, when we are feeling blue, one of our common coping mechanisms is to avoid social interaction.  Sometimes we do not even realize we are doing it until a relative or friend points it out.  During this time of year it is important to reach out to those we care about, despite the fact that it may not always be easy.  As we will discuss in next week’s blog (and on Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 25th!), talking is incredibly important for connection and emotional well-being.  If you do not feel comfortable talking to a friend, partner, or family member, consider taking advantage of our free consultation and speak to myself or another one of our counsellors to find out more about how we can help.

I hope these strategies help you as much as they have helped me in managing the winter blues.  Even though they do not make the negative feelings disappear completely, they are effective in helping you suffer less by engaging in the things that are meaningful to you even with difficult thoughts or feelings present.

love-winter

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December has arrived, and the holiday season is officially upon us.  But does it ALWAYS feel like it is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?

presents

The holiday season is a time when many experience feeling stressed, overwhelmed, in a daze, and maybe even angry (think:  the mall parking lot on Black Friday/Weekends/Boxing Day)!  Some also experience effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD, for short), resulting from less daylight during this time of year.  Luckily, there are things you can do to help you stay present, maintain connection to what’s important, and do the things that are meaningful to you this holiday season.


 1.  Stay Present

There are so many things to think about in preparation for the holiday season that it is often difficult to stay present and focused on the here and now.  For example, you may be decorating your tree, but thinking about what presents you still need to buy, which day you need to attend a holiday party, and what you should make for dinner.  This distraction may take away your enjoyment of decorating the tree, as you were not fully “there” while doing it.

Instead, try and implement mindfulness into your holiday activities.  Engage all of your senses, and focus on your experience of that activity instead of thinking about what you have to do next.  To relate this back to our tree example, if you were decorating mindfully, you could be paying attention to the texture of the tree branches and how they feel on your fingertips, the colours of the ornaments, the placement of the ornaments, the sound it makes when you place an ornament onto the tree, the smell of the tree, etc.  If you realize that you become distracted by a thought, notice the thought that distracted you and bring your attention back to focusing on the tree.

decorating

Try and make a point of staying mindful during each holiday activity that you do.  It may also be helpful to engage in a more “formal” mindfulness practice, and dedicate a specific time for it each day.  You can check out apps such as “Stop, Breathe, Think” (available on both Apple and Android devices) or scroll down to read previous blogs we have written to find out more information on beginning a formal mindfulness practice.

2.  Making Meaning

Some holiday stress may result from the disconnection of the activities we are doing and the reasons as to why we are doing them.  There is sometimes a sense of obligation in the holiday season, when we feel like we are obligated or “should” do activities, even though they may not be important to us.

Think of three people who are important to you.  Some examples could be parents, children, spouse, coworkers, friends, or community members.  Now, think of three things that are important to you during this holiday season.  This may include things such as generosity, tradition, connection to others, kindness, etc.

baking

Now compare the things you have listed as meaningful to you to your holiday to-do list.  Do all of the activities on your list correspond to one of the people or things you listed as being important to you?  This comparison is helpful for reminding us why we are doing the activities we have planned for the holidays, and it often makes activities more enjoyable when you know they are fueled by something that is important to you.  Furthermore, if you realize that there are to-do’s that do not correspond with any of your values, it gives you space to make a decision as to whether you would still like to maintain that activity or not.

3.  Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!

We can’t stress this one enough!  If you do not schedule activities, you are more likely to feel overwhelmed and as though you do not have enough time to complete all of the things you need to do.  Scheduling your activities allows you to plan specific times for each task, and removes the pressure of not knowing what to do next.

Use a blank calendar, day planner, or a smart phone calendar to plan out which days you will do which activities.  If it is a large activity (e.g. buying gifts for the whole family), break the activity down into smaller steps and schedule the smaller steps into your planner.  For example, you may schedule creating a list of gifts, when you will phone someone to go with you, or multiple days of shopping so you do not feel pressured to complete the task in a single day.

When you are creating a schedule of your holiday to-do’s, do not forget to include your regular activities such as exercising, attending work or classes, and volunteering.  Many self-care activities tend to fall by the wayside during this time of year, so it is important to ensure you are continuing to complete self-care activities, even if they may need to be less frequent.


We hope that some of these tips may help you stay present, connected to what’s important, and allow you to find time for activities that are meaningful to you during this holiday season.  If you think that you would benefit from one-on-one support during this time of year, please do not hesitate to contact us to set up a FREE consultation to find out how we can help.

From all of us at J Marlin and Associates Inc. to you, Happy Holidays!

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Does the thought of reading a self-help book make you cringe?  If it does, you’re not alone!  Many people do not like the idea of reading a self-help book for fear that the book may be “preachy”, “air-fairy”, or flat-out does not relate to them.  However, self-help books can be great tools both during counselling treatment, or if you are just considering a lifestyle change.

When choosing a self-help book, one of the most important things to consider is that the book is from a credible author and is backed by scientific evidence.  Try and seek out books that are from reputable clinicians, and based on research evidence, instead of relying solely on anecdotes (personal stories).

You can find out if an author is credible by doing a quick Google search of the author’s name:  Are they affiliated with a university?  Do they have a clinical practice and registration with a medical college (e.g. College of Psychologists, College of Registered Psychotherapists)?  Do they have any academic publications?

Academic publications (sometimes called journal articles) are a good way to determine if the content of a book is based on scientific evidence.  For example, if you would like to read a book based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), try and input these terms into Google Scholar (scholar.google.ca) to see if there is research on the subject.  The search below returned almost 700,000 results!  This is generally a positive sign that the topic has been heavily researched.  To learn more about what the research says, click on the article titles and you can read the article abstracts for more information.

act-google-search

Finally, it is helpful to check out the book before making the decision to purchase!  Flip through a few pages in the bookstore or on Google Books (books.google.ca), making note of the content, style of the writing, and the issues the book is addressing.  Some books naturally speak to some personality types more so than others, so it is important to find a book that you feel you can relate to.


For a little inspiration, here are three of our favourite self-help books, which have changed both our lives, and the lives of clients:

1. Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life by Steven Hayes

book-get-out-of-your-mindSteven Hayes is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and has authored over 400 academic publications!  Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life applies concepts of ACT to help readers move from feeling stuck in a struggle against their own minds to assess what is truly meaningful to them and then pursue a life guided by those values.

Why we love this book:

This book provides an educational background as to how human suffering occurs, and ways in which we can cope with that suffering.  There are exercises and spaces for you to complete activities throughout this book, which we have found helpful to make the book more relatable to your own unique experiences.

Who could benefit most from this book:

If you are suffering from depressed mood, anxiety, stress, or want to just learn more about how ACT can help you cope with everyday situations, this book is for you!

2. The Reality Slap by Russ Harris

book-the-reality-slap

Russ Harris is a medical practitioner, psychotherapist, and leading expert in ACT.  He is from Australia and travels internationally to train practitioners in the ACT approach.  In The Reality Slap, Russ discusses “Reality Gaps” (such as the death of a loved one, personal illness, or loss of a job), and how we can live a life that is meaningful despite them.  He then discusses ACT-inspired coping strategies, and provides guidance as to situations when these strategies could be helpful.

Why we love this book:

The Reality Slap features a style of writing that is conversational, as if you are speaking to the author.  Russ’ compassionate and sometimes humorous tone is comforting to the reader, and many have described that reading this book made them feel as though they are not alone.

Who could benefit most from this book:

Anyone who has recently been through a difficult time could benefit from this book.  This may include the death of a loved one, a major health diagnosis, divorce, loss of a job, an accident, or betrayal.

3. Living Beyond Your Pain by JoAnne Dahl and Tobias Lundgren

book-living-beyond-your-pain

JoAnne Dahl is a prominent ACT researcher who specializes in the use of ACT to treat chronic pain and epilepsy.  Tobias Lundgren is a licensed clinical psychologist who has carried out applications of ACT in clinical research areas of epilepsy, diabetes, and chronic pain.  Living Beyond Your Pain reveals a new approach to living with chronic pain, which involves recognizing pain as an event in your life that does not have to interfere with the way you live.

Why we love this book:

Similar to Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life, Living Beyond Your Pain includes various exercises throughout the book to help the reader incorporate ACT into their lives and help transform pain from a life-defining preoccupation to just one thing in their lives that they experience.

Who could benefit most from this book:

Anyone who suffers from a chronic condition, such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, diabetes, or chronic migraines could benefit from this book.

 


All of these books are available on Amazon.ca and Indigo.ca.  Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life and The Reality Slap can also be found in some Chapters/Indigo stores.

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J Marlin and Associates Inc. offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy services to help individuals increase their sense of vitality, well-being, and fulfillment.

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