Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life--Support Materials

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This is a note from Steve Hayes about the book

I wanted to say a little about what we are learning about the impact of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

We have used or are using the book as part of our protocols in four scientific studies. The book is very flexible -- you can fit it to almost any issue, so these studies are in several different areas.

One study that is now done is Jason Lillis’s dissertation on weight maintenance. It’s a really neat study, and I predict it will get some publicity when it comes out in a journal.

In that study everyone in the ACT condition got a 6 hour workshop on ACT (not really focused on weight – but focused on doing what you value and learning to sit with difficult thoughts and feelings that get in the way). And everyone in the ACT condition also got the book.

When we then asked at the follow up if people used the book we divided up the groups into those who used it very little and those who used it regularly and carefully. We compared that last group (the readers and regular users) to people in the ACT condition who got the workshop but did not use the book much.

(In truth, in other analyses we also compared the frequent readers to the control group, and the effects there were huge, but that comparison includes the workshop in one group and not the other so it is really not as relevant to the question of whether the book itself was helpful).

At a three month follow up, those who read and used the book carefully in the ACT condition:

  • Had a higher quality of life
  • Were less judgmental toward themselves
  • Felt less judged by others
  • Were more accepting of difficult thoughts and feelings about weight issues
  • Were more successful in living their values
  • Had more intrinsic and less avoidant or socially compliant values

All of these folks got an ACT workshop, and the workshop itself had a really big impact – so this was over and above that. Overall (not dividing the group by whether they read Get Out of Your Mind carefully) people in the ACT condition lost more weight over 3 months, lowered their diastolic blood pressure, had better overall mental health, were more distress tolerant, and so on through a long list of good effects. But on top of that the book seemed to make an impact.

Tami Lazzarone has recently completed a randomized trial of the book with 236 teachers and staff in K - 12. At post those who read the book had small to medium improvements in general mental health, anxiety, depression, and burnout. At a 3 month follow up all of these effects were larger -- mostly medium to large. At the process level changes were found in mindfulness, acceptance, and psychological flexibility and these post changes mediated follow up outcomes.

Takashi Muto has done much the same thing with a Japanese translation of the book -- applying it to college students from Japan who are adjusting to life in the US. It is still underway but at post the effects are very good.

Anyway, let me just say this: there are a lot of books out there that say they will help you. It is one thing to say that. It is another to put a book on the line and see, objectively, how it works in controlled studies. So far the results coming in are very supportive.

How do we get everyone who buys it to read it carefully and to do the exercises? It seems to take that to make a real difference.

But probably a third of the folks who buy it will get bogged down and some will just abandon the book.

That really distresses me, since I know some of those people are suffering and could be helped if they gave the book a chance.

The bogging down may be due to my science geek writing style (I’m learning, but it is hard for me not to talk like a geek after 30 years in the University, even with a professional writer like Spencer Smith helping me). But the other part is this: this is a tricky area!

The human mind does not like being dethroned, and it is hard to use words to rein in the word machine. That is especially true in a non-interactive medium like a book.

But I do think there are steps that can help.

I suggest this if you buy this book:

  1. Join the Yahoo list serve ACT for the Public. This is the link:’s free. Post to it when and if you get stuck. Don’t abandon the book before you get help with it. Please.
  2. It is hard to really do the book carefully right off from the beginning. It takes a while to see what it is really up to.

I suggest that you skim the whole thing in a day or two, skipping the exercises and not stopping if you get confused.

Then let it sit for a day or so.

Then if you sense that there may be something of value for you in the book, open it up at page one and read it carefully, doing the exercises as you go. That process will take at least a month. If an exercise or sections bogs you down, put a post-it note there and move on … you can come back later. And you can post an email about the issue on the list serve.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Steve Hayes

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