Hi, welcome to my page. What inspired you to write Stuff That Sucks?
I have been using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for
years. It is what helps me when I'm struggling with painful thoughts and
emotions, and it seems to make sense to many of the young people I work with in
my psychology practice. So I decided to share some of my ways of explaining
these ideas in a way that allows readers to feel validated and respected.
Why is the first step to change accepting what you can't
The first step is to breathe in. Notice all the stories your
mind is telling you and be aware of all the emotions bouncing around inside
you. Then breathe out. Notice that even when your mind is saying you can't
tolerate these mean thoughts and painful feelings, your experience is telling
you that there is room inside you for them. You are able to hold these things,
even if you wish you didn't have them. And if you don't have to struggle
against them, then that frees up a whole lot of energy to committing to things
you care about.
What should we commit to change?
The challenge for every human is to figure out what we each
care about and then care about it. What is one thing I can do today to make me
feel like I have taken a step closer to be living the meaningful vital life I
want to live? It doesn't matter if it's a big step or a tiny step, as long as
it is in the direction of the Stuff that Matters, the things I care about. It
could be doing one more thing to be the kind of friend I want to be, or the
kind of family member I want to be, or the kind of human I want to be or
something else that really matters to me.
What are your top tips for parents who have teenagers
struggling with their emotions?
Listen some more.
Create opportunities where your teen might talk.
If they start talking, be ready to listen.
Don't problem solve or give advice unless they specifically ask. Just keep
listening, acknowledge that you can hear their pain and that you care.
Living with all emotions is part of being a human, you can't protect your teen
from that. But you can be available to sit with them as they experience them.
By not rushing in to tell them to 'cheer up' or 'stop worrying' or telling them
what to do, you are teaching them that you believe in them, you don't see them
as broken or wrong for having these feelings, but instead as human as the rest
Why did you include illustrations in Stuff That Sucks?
I always knew that the book needed to look great, with lots
of thought going into the design and illustration. So many self-help books look
like the design was an afterthought. However, the team at Open Labs Studios at
Massey University, in Wellington, New Zealand have put together a book design
that far exceeds my wildest expectations, and their illustrator Kalos Chan has
just captured what it feels like to struggle with emotions so well.
(Interview by Brooke Hunter from https://www.girl.com.au/stuff-that-sucks.htm )