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Unemployment has freed me up to address some personal issues that have laid dormant and yet sufficiently irritating to me for far too long. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach these concepts…

  • As a self-help project
  • In therapy (which I can’t afford right now anyway)

Or

  • Avoidance (which has served me so well in the past)

I don’t remember how, but in my search for direction I stumbled upon a book that many will call a self-help book. I see it as more of a resource and a workbook for self acceptance and personal progress. I decided to read and stop my pattern of avoidance.

The book is Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life: The New Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. I highly recommend it to anyone uncomfortable in their own present and past pain, or disappointed in themselves for not succeeding at making the personal changes that seem so desirable.

Part of the reason I like this workbook so much is that it incorporates concepts that I had already personally discovered but had been unable to successfully articulate.

First, as I’ve already said many times before this book admits that fighting against a personal thought or action or trying to NOT do something contradicts what scientists know about human behavior and tends to make those issues worse. This book merely articulates that concept better than I could and backs it up with scientific evidence. But more importantly it provides an alternative approach.

Second, as I’ve also said, talking through and accepting our difficult issues as they are is part of a healthy approach to progressing.

Lastly, the book presents the idea of “mindfulness and willingness” that’s I’ve long desired to adopt through meditation.

This isn’t a book you’ll read through, take a few quotes from and move on with your life. It’s a workbook meant to instigate actual change and you can only do that by doing the recommended exercises. I suspect it would best be used in conjunction with a therapist, but if you are patient with the book and with yourself you can successfully process the book on your own.

I agree with many of the customer reviews on Amazon that the book can be a bit cumbersome to conceptualize. That’s because it is so counter-intuitive. I read certain chapters, re-read them and practiced the concepts over a week or two time period before picking the book up to read further. But that’s how I tend to read books anyway…indulging and then setting aside for a while.

You’ll definitely need a creative mind. By that I mean you’ll need to be able to visualize and occupy a vague “what the hell am I doing this for” space for a while doing some of the exercises. Some of them seem silly and unnecessary but there’s always the payoff when you turn the page.

In the end I believe it’s cutting edge in the behavioral science arena (ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and there will likely come more concise, more articulate books to read in the future. But as an introduction to the ability to live the YOUR LIFE more fully I’d recommend this book now. I’m still working through it, revisiting certain chapters and practicing the concepts in my daily life. I already feel less like I’m living in my head and am able for longer periods of time to feel present and accepting.

I’m still unemployed unfortunately. This isn’t a cure-all “Secret” sort of book. I do feel like the quality of my day-to-day thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviors have taken huge strides towards the more rewarding and this can only have a sum residual positive affect for good.

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