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Managing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings: Dr Russ Harris

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From Life Lessons: From Sport and Beyond with Simon Mundie

Why resisting and battling uncomfortable thoughts and feelings doesn’t work, but acceptance and self-compassion does.

Dr. Russ Harris is the world’s best-know teacher of Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)

Experiencing emotions like anxiety is entirely normal. It is part of the human experience. If you DIDN’T experience them, then there may be a problem!

However, it is not unusual to believe we shouldn’t experience uncomfortable feelings and thoughts, and so we are prone to resisting them, or medicating them away.

Dr. Russ Harris explains that there is another – better – way. It is a paradoxical intervention – in that we are taught to lean towards the discomfort, not away from it.

The paradox is that when we stop battling to get rid of the thoughts and feelings, they have less power over us and pass more quickly.

In this episode Russ explains how the meaning of confidence has changed, and why its original definition is worth reconnecting with.

He explains why self-acceptance is more important than self-esteem, and why we should learn to prioritise values as highly as goals.

And Russ shares some powerful ‘defusion techniques’ – which are brilliant for managing difficult thoughts and feelings in the moment, and double as a mindfulness tool too.

This episode is full of useful tips that have benefitted my life hugely. ACT helped me sleep better and deal with pressure more skillfully – in sport or at work.

If there is someone you know who you think might benefit from hearing this episode, please do share it.


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And for the ‘Mundie on Monday’ newsletter – featuring three of the best Life Lessons from three years and more than 160 of these conversations – head to simonmundie.com

And please do share this episode with anyone who may benefit, and rate and review wherever you get your podcasts

Finally a shoutout to my sponsors whose support enables me to put out weekly episodes

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