754: Steven Hayes on Why Craving Pain is Human

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the most effective methods to increase psychological flexibility – but what exactly is ACT, how can it decrease the suffering in your life, and why is it so crucial to leading a happy and fulfilling life, especially in this day and age?

What to Listen For

  • What is the bus driver metaphor and how can you use it to prevent your thoughts and feelings from controlling you?
  • What is ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and why is it so effective?
  • What one question can you ask yourself to determine why something is important to you?
  • Why is it important to us to experience the full range of emotions, rather than just the good ones?
  • How can you learn to appreciate negative feelings just as much as positive ones so you can decrease the suffering in your life?
  • What can you do to turn negative feelings (like anxiety) into a guiding compass for what you want in life?
  • What has been the biggest challenge with the way our lives have been infused with technology and what can you do to lessen the negative impacts?
  • How dominant is the comparison of more versus less in our heads?
  • What is the best way to start overcoming your anxiety, and why might it seem counterintuitive at first?
  • What simple exercise can you do to transform your mental state whenever you want?

Pain is unavoidable. One could argue it is the most important stimulus for change and growth in a person’s life. And if pain is that important, then having a mindset or method for dealing with pain can only benefit you in the long run. If you allow yourself to get hung up on painful moments and refuse to learn from them, then you will only increase the suffering you experience.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps individuals to shift their perspective on pain and suffering by improving their psychological flexibility. Think of it as a tree in a storm. If that tree is stiff, it will eventually snap under enough stress, but if the tree is flexible, no matter how hard the wind blows, the tree will simply bend until the storm has passed.

Do you want to snap under the stress of life? Or do you want to bend, and come out the other side stronger and wiser?

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Resources from this Episode

Episode 729: Self-esteem is Bullshit

Steven Hayes

Episode 727: Sugar Ray Leonard

Mental Brakes to Avoid Mental Breaks | Steven Hayes | TEDx

How love turns pain into purpose | Steven Hayes | TEDx

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AJ Harbinger - author of 1126 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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