137: Psychological Flexibility through ACT with Dr. Diana Hill

05.23.2021 - By Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive

Download our free app to listen on your phone

"Psychological Flexibility" sounds amazing.  Shouldn't we all want that?  After all, psychological flexibility has been significantly positively associated with wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic, and negatively associated with anxiety, depression, and COVID-29-related distress and worry.

(But what is it, anyway?!)

Psychological Flexibility is about being fully in touch with the present moment and, based on the situation, either continuing or changing your behavior to live in better alignment with your values.

Let's break that down a bit:

Being fully in touch with the present moment: We spend a good chunk of our lives not fully present.  And there are times when it makes sense - we don't necessarily need to be fully present for every moment of a long drive.  As long as we're present enough to drive safely, we don't need to observe the exact quality of red in the tail light of the driver in front of you.

But when we spend most of our lives zoned out on our phones, or rushing from one activity to the next (probably partly so we don't have to sit down and just be), we aren't truly present.

Better alignment with your values: We all have values, although perhaps some of us haven't fully articulated them.  We might value raising an independent child, but then step in every time they struggle.  We might value emotional closeness but struggle to actually do it because our parents didn't model it for us.  When we articulate our values, we define what we're working toward.

Based on the situation, either continuing or changing your behavior: One of my favorite parts of ACT is the Choice Point: the point at which something doesn't feel right to you.  At this point you get to decide: Am I going to keep doing the same thing I've always done?  Or am I going to do something that brings me into better alignment with my values?

 

Want to know more?  Dr. Diana Hill, co-author with Dr. Debbie Sorensen, joins me on this episode to discuss their new book ACT Daily Journal: Get Unstuck and Live Fully with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (this is an affiliate link, so I will earn a small commission through your purchase which does not affect the price you pay).  The book walks readers through a series of exercises to help them become more psychologically flexible, through the practice of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  The concepts in ACT are ones that I've found to be enormously useful both personally and in working with clients, so I'm excited to tell you about them here!

 

Dr. Diana Hill's Book:
ACT Daily Journal: Get Unstuck and Live Fully with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Affiliate link).
 

Jump to highlights:

(01: 26) What is ACT or acceptance and Commitment Therapy
(02:07) What is this thing psychological flexibility?
(03:48) What are the components of psychological flexibility?
(08:07) Cognitive diffusion
(11:38) The idea that we could believe that our thoughts are not true is mind boggling to a lot of people
(16:36) Values and parenting in particular is such a good one to discuss
(18:20) Values are something that are deep within you, that you can pull upon, when you've got nothing left
(19:10:) The idea of the choice point
(23:36) Perspective taking is probably one of the most important skills we can do for ourselves
(27:01) How do we live out committed action
(33:55) Our children are naturally beginner's mind
(35:18:) One of the things that actually sets humans apart  from robots, is our ability to think...

More episodes from Your Parenting Mojo - Respectful, research-based parenting ideas to help kids thrive