Steven C. Hayes quotes

  • Almost all people suffer some form of intense inner pain at some times in their lives. The suffering might be depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts and it results from the battles we wage against our thoughts as we futilely try to get rid of our historie.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Pain #Self Esteem #Suicidal

  • If you aren't willing to have it, you will.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Anxiety #Willing

  • Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Mind

  • One dangerous definition of happiness is to think of happiness as kind of a warm, joyful feeling in your heart that you have to pursue and grab and hold onto for fear that it'll go away. A better way to think about happiness that actually is something that I think you can reach towards is, it's living in accord with your values and in a way that is more open and accepting of your history as it echoes into the present, that's more self-affirming, self-validating and values-based. The Greeks had a word for it; they called it eudaimonia. And it is something that will empower human lives.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Heart #Thinking #Empowering

  • Go inside the sweetness of life, catch the places where you genuinely were moved by or connected with life, and you'll find in there kind of a light that can direct you when the cacophony gets very noisy and you get confused and lost, that can direct you towards what you care about.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Confused #Care #Kind

  • Your history's not going to go away; it isn't the same thing as dirt on the floor or paint peeling off the walls; it's not going to be solved in that way. It's more like learning how to carry it, to contact it, to see it. Because it's based on the psychology of the normal, the therapist is part of that too. And so they too are working with those very same processes. And so it requires a therapist just to see the value of it and to be willing to look at their own difficult emotions and thoughts and find a way to carry them gently in the service of the clients that they're serving.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Wall #Psychology #Going Away

  • Holding anxiety as your own enemy, and that it has to go down, diminish it, go away and not happen here is a kind of self-invalidating, interiorly focused process that would get you even more entangled with these processes. Instead, what we're going to need to learn to do is to allow your history to bring into the present thoughts and feelings and memories, and to sort of hold them mindfully and self-compassionately, and then focus on what you do and bring them along for that journey.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Memories #Journey #Focus

  • I kind of look at what's on the T-shirts and I see another solution, which also worries me. I see "Just do it." "No fear." - this kind of suppressive response to the treacle that the culture tries to define for us as a meaningful life also blows up on you. "No fear" is not something that you should put on your shirt. How about "I can hold my fear and still connect with you"? Put that on your shirt. "It's okay to be me, with all of my history." Put that on your shirt.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Meaningful #Blow #Worry

  • Most people are hurt deeply by betrayals in relationships. It might be better to really get up against and sort of contact that caring, and maybe take a more loving stance even with your own pain, and keep your feet moving towards what you really want, because the cost in terms of intimacy and connection and caring that comes when you try not to be vulnerable, when you're constantly looking out for betrayals of trust, is too great. It makes it very hard to have relationships of the kind that you really want. One, look where the pain is. Flip it over; you'll find that's where the values are.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Hurt #Pain #Betrayal

  • There are times when you felt especially important to another person, or cared about or loved or accepted. Well, loving relationships aren't something you can have like a precious little jewel you put in a box and then put on your shelf. It's something you walk towards. And there's always difficulties; there's always pain in relationships. But you can keep walking towards that beacon in the distance. That process, that journey, is called life. And if you're moving towards the things that you value, life is more vital, flowing; it's more empowering.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Pain #Distance #Moving

  • Feelings are only your history being occasioned by the present moment. If that's your enemy, then your history is your enemy. If sensations are your enemy, your body is your enemy. And if memory is your enemy, you'd better have a way of controlling your mind in such a way that you never are reminded of things that are painful from the past. If you avoid people, avoid having your buttons pushed, avoid going to places that might occasion anxiety; if you're hammering down drugs and alcohol; these are all methods of trying to mount that unhealthy agenda.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Memories #Past #People

  • Could we take anxiety to be something that may be of importance, may even be meaningful? And it says something about your history, and could we learn to sort of hold it in a way that's more compassionate, to sort of bring the frightened part of you close and treat it with some dignity, and keep focused instead on what kind of life you want to live connected to what kind of meaning and purpose. That's going to be a quicker, more self-compassionate and more certain journey forward inside things like panic disorder.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Meaningful #Journey #Anxiety

  • But this cheap-thrill version, this sort of ease definition, the feel-good definition of happiness is an empty promise. Unless we get wiser as to how to carry the difficulties of life in a way that's self-compassionate and empowering, we can create this kind of world in which we'd rather sort of plug into the matrix with whatever pills or escapist tendencies we can think of instead of walking through a process of living that's going to include loss. It's going to include limitations on function. We need to learn and teach our children how to do that.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Children #Loss #Thinking

  • What keeps me up at night in a negative way is, if we don't solve the problems of the human heart and of the human head, of human psychology, there is no technological solution so great that it can prevent the world that is coming, and a world of suitcase bombs or of the ability to pollute the planet in a way that it cannot recover, of global warming and the rest. We've created through science and technology a different world that has frightening sides to it, and psychology and behavioral science has to be part of this. We're going to have to find a way to humanize the culture itself.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Heart #Night #Technology

  • Processes of avoiding the world within in order to try to regulate your behavior, or becoming entangled in your thoughts interfering with your ability to take advantage of what's around you, or losing contact with your values for fear that you'll know more about the places where you hurt - those kinds of processes are just normal psychological processes. And if you take the mode of mind that works great in 95 percent of your life and apply it within, it then implodes. It starts creating barriers, and that's true at work, it's true in our culture, true in our politics.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Hurt #Mind #Trying

  • There is a middle path between indulgence and suppression, but the culture has overwhelmed that in the cacophony that has been created in the modern world and the commercial encouragement of avoidance and indulgence on the one hand, or suppression and "just do it," treating yourself as an object on the other. We've got to find a way that's more compassionate, softer, that allows us to move forward towards the kind of lives that we really want to live.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Encouragement #Moving #World

  • If a therapist is feeling insecure in therapy, a lot of therapists will try to sort of push that aside to try to do the therapy. Instead, we would ask people to get with that feeling of insecurity, because after all, the client is being asked to do the same thing. It has a kind of a quality of two human beings in the same situation, really, working through these psychological processes. And yeah, you hired me; I'm working for you as a therapist. But I'm not up here and you're down there. And what you're struggling with, at other times and with other areas I'm struggling with.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Struggle #Insecure #People

  • The definition of happiness being very emotion-oriented - the problem is that there's too many quick and dirty ways to chase that in ways that end up being unhelpful to people. If you just have another martini or even more severe substances. But commercial culture and our media is constantly encouraging us to think that if we feel good we live well. We're only too happy to sell you goods and services from the dancing oivoids and the pill you can take, or the trips or the cars or the clothes or the women that you can get with - whatever that is that will give you the quick route to that.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Dirty #Thinking #Giving

  • Our children are exposed to 10, 20, 30 times the number of words that our great-grandfathers were exposed to. We're exposed in a single day or two to more horror on our Internet Web pages than our great-grandfathers were exposed to in decades of living. We have not created modern minds for that modern world. Science and technology has just dumped it on us. And I think people yearn for it. I think you see it in what's popular. Why are people wanting to learn about meditation and talking about a purpose-driven life? It's because they know more is needed in the modern world.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Children #Technology #Thinking

  • I think we're coming into a time where it has to do with how you stand in relationship to your own world within and in relationship to those around you in the world without. And I believe these are the things that we need to put into our schools, education, into our psychotherapy and into our culture more, finding a way to not be so harsh and judgmental, so objectifying and dehumanizing, constantly focused within and trying to get these difficult thoughts and feelings to go away.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Believe #School #Thinking

  • The changes that we can make in the culture can be there for people that we will never meet, that will never know us, and that's what keeps me up at night. It's what excites me about science, that we can learn ways of being with each other. And the behavioral sciences have not been enough of a part of cultural development. The physical sciences have; the behavioral sciences have not. And I would like to see if we can bring some things into human culture that would humanize and soften and empower people.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Night #People #Empowering

  • ACT psychology is a psychology of the normal. A lot of the psychologies that are out there are built on the psychology of the abnormal. We have all these syndromal boxes that we can put people in and so forth. The actual evidence on syndromes is not very good. There's no specific biological marker for any of the things that you see talked about in the media. Even things like schizophrenia - there's no specific and sensitive biological markers for these things. There may be some abnormal processes involved, but vastly more of human suffering comes from normal processes that run away from us.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Running #People #Psychology

  • I think the commercial culture, and also science and technology after all, which gives us greater ease but also makes it harder for us to sit with the small amounts of distress that come just by living itself. It isn't that we're chasing happiness; I think we have the wrong model of happiness. I mean, defined as eudaimonia, defined as a values-based life of integrity and fidelity to yourself and what you most deeply want to stand for, that definition of happiness - man, that's the kind of life I want to live and I think that will support people and sustain people.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #Integrity #Mean #Technology

  • Antidepressant medications, you still have some depressive thoughts. Antipsychotic medications, you still have some psychotic symptoms for the vast majority of the people taking them. But it gives them a little separation, and it doesn't control his behavior as much when you have a sad feeling, difficult thought, an odd perceptual experience. We can teach people those exact skills in therapy, you get longer-term benefits and without the side effects. So don't be sold just because a commercial interest wants to sell you things.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #People #Giving #Feelings

  • Let's take something like antidepressant medications. There's decent science saying it has an effect, but it's shockingly small after you control for penetration of the blind, people knowing that they're getting the active pills versus sugar pills, if you use an active control. It's probably only a few points. But it's a multi, multibillion-dollar industry. And by the way, has huge side effects. 40 percent of the people taking them have significant sexual side effects. And that's just one. A single antidepressant medication can be worth a billion dollars to a company.
    -- Steven C. Hayes

    #People #Blind #Significant