Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life


Learn step-by-step how mindfulness & acceptance can help You:

  • Overcome depression
  • Transform emotional pain
  • Free yourself from negative thinking and self-judgment
  • Commit to what you care about
  • Live a life you value

“With kindness, erudition, and humor, the authors of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life educate readers into a new way of thinking about psychological issues in general and life satisfaction in particular. Their combination of cutting-edge research and resonance with ancient, tried-and-true practices makes this one of the most fascinating and illuminating self-help books available. If you’re tired of standard psychological parlance and still frustrated with your quality of life, this book can be a godsend.”
Martha Beck, columnist for О Magazine and author of Finding Your Own North Star and Expecting Adam

People suffer

It’s not just that they have pain—suffering is much more than that. Human beings struggle with the forms of psychological pain they have: their difficult emotions and thoughts, their unpleasant memories, and their unwanted urges and sensations. They think about them, worry about them, resent them, anticipate and dread them.

At the same time, human beings demonstrate enormous courage, deep compassion, and a remarkable ability to move ahead even with the most difficult personal histories. Knowing they can be hurt, humans still love others. Knowing they will die, humans still care about the future. Facing the draw of meaninglessness, humans still embrace ideals. At times, humans are fully alive, present, and committed.

This book is about how to move from suffering to engagement with life. Rather than waiting to win the internal struggle with your own self so that your life can begin, this book is about living now and living fully—with (not in spite of) your past, with your memories, with your fears, and with your sadness.


This book is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. (“ACT” is spoken as a single word, not as separate initials.) This is a new, scientifically based psychotherapeutic modality that is part of what is being called the “third wave” in behavioral and cognitive therapy (Hayes 2004). ACT is based on Relational Frame Theory (RFT): a basic research program on how the human mind works (Hayes, BarneS’Holmes, and Roche 2001). This research suggests that many of the tools we use to solve problems lead us into the traps that create suffering. To put it bluntly, human beings are playing a rigged game in which the human mind itself, a wonderful tool for mastering the environment, has been turned on its host.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that some of your most difficult problems have paradoxically become more entrenched and unmanageable, even as you’ve implemented ideas about how to solve them. This is not an illusion. This results from your own logical mind being asked to do what it was never designed to do. Suffering is one result.

This may seem like a very odd claim, particularly if you picked up this book to help yourself overcome some of your psychological issues. As a rule, people turn to self-help books for tools to solve specific problems: depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma, stress, burnout, chronic pain, smoking, to name just a few. For the average person, overcoming these problems implies not just an ultimate end but also an end reached by specific means.

For example, overcoming stress seemingly must first involve eliminating stressful feelings; overcoming smoking seemingly must first involve getting rid of urges to smoke; overcoming anxiety’ disorders seemingly must involve learning how to relax instead, or to dispute and change overblown and worrisome thoughts; and so on. In this book, ends and means are carefully distinguished, and you will learn that many of these common sense routes to a better life are now thought to be both risky and unnecessary in current psychological theory’.

If you are suffering with a psychological problem, you should know that research suggests that ACT helps with many common psychological difficulties (Hayes, Masuda, et al. 2004), and its underlying model has received considerable support (Hayes et al. forthcoming). We will discuss these data throughout this book.

The fact that you are reading an empirically based account is all the more important because this book will take some seemingly strange twists and turns. At times, it may be confusing. To some degree that is unavoidable because ACT challenges some of the most culturally ingrained forms of conventional thinking about human problems.

Research indicates that ACT’s methods and ideas are generally sound, which provides reassurance that these concepts and procedures are effective. (See the appendix for a partial list of studies on ACT and its components.)

That doesn’t mean they are easy to grasp. Then again, if these ideas and methods were already well-known to you, this book would probably not be useful.

Here’s a sample of some of the unconventional concepts you will be asked to consider:
■ Psychological pain is normal, it is important, and everyone has it.
■ You cannot deliberately get rid of your psychological pain, although you can take steps to avoid increasing it artificially.
■ Pain and suffering are two different states of being.
■ You don’t have to identify with your suffering.
■ Accepting your pain is a step toward ridding yourself of your suffering.
■ You can live a life you value, beginning right now, but to do that you will have to learn how to get out of your mind and into your life.

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life : The New Acceptance & Commitment Therapy pdf by STEVEN C. HAYES, PII.D. with SPENCER SMITH