Afraid? Do it anyway! The 25 microskills in this little book will help you stand up to your fears, so you can live the life you really want.
To fear is to be human. But fear can also keep us stuck living lives that are stale, stagnant, or downright miserable. Fear leads us down paths that feel more safe, but that deep down we know are wrong for us. The good news is that you can stand up to your fears and change your life for the better. If you’re ready to stop avoiding stuff and say yes to opportunity, the easy-to-implement strategies in this book will help you break the avoidance habits that have been keeping you in a rut.
Drawing on evidence-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), this accessible guide offers 25 microskills to help you face your fears so you can live a truly courageous and meaningful life. With this book, you’ll learn:
Why you avoid stuff
Tips to increase self-awareness in moments of fear
Strategies for untangling from distressing thoughts
How to hold the inevitable pain and discomfort of life lightly
Ways to connect with your values and take action
We are hardwired to avoid, control, and escape the stuff that makes us uncomfortable. But if you’re ready to stop living scared, the tips and tools in this little book will help you pivot back to what really matters to you.
Matthew S. Boone, LCSW, is a social worker, writer, and public speaker who specializes in translating mental health concepts for the general public. He is director of programming and outreach for the Student Wellness Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and instructor in the department of psychiatry. He is editor of the book Mindfulness and Acceptance in Social Work, and an Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) peer-reviewed trainer in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
Jennifer Gregg, PhD, is a full professor in the department of psychology at San Jose State University; and a clinical psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, where she works with cancer patients and their families. She is an ACBS peer-reviewed ACT trainer, and has been delivering, conducting research studies, and training clinicians in ACT and other mindfulness-based approaches since 1997.
Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, is a practicing clinical psychologist, author, and researcher who has worked with young people, their parents, and adults with anxiety for over twenty years. In 2014, she founded the OCD Institute for Children and Adolescents at McLean Hospital. She is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and directs the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety in Cambridge, MA.
“By breaking down effective strategies into simple-to-digest, bite-size pieces, this is a book that will really help you take small steps toward a life that matters to you. The authors bring a wonderful combination of authenticity and expertise. It is clear they wouldn’t ask you to do anything that they themselves are not willing to do, and it’s great to know these ideas have a good scientific foundation behind them too.” —Ben Sedley, PhD, clinical psychologist, and author of Stuff That Sucks
~Ben Sedley, PhD
“If you’re like me and your attention span is shrinking, this is the perfect book for you. ‘Teeny Tiny Practices?’ ‘Microskills?’ Yes, please! Using helpful examples and relatable personal experiences, the authors provide the scaffolding to understand the ‘why’ behind each bite-size acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) practice. Stop Avoiding Stuff is easy to digest, practical, and really fun to read. If you want to live a mightier life, I highly recommend this book!” —Jill A. Stoddard, PhD, author of Be Mighty
~Jill A. Stoddard, PhD
“Stop Avoiding Stuff is the perfect balance of skills, wisdom, authenticity, and humor. I fell in love with this book. I saw myself—all too well—in Jen, Lisa, and Matt’s personal examples. As I read this book, I saw subtle ways and areas where I avoid stuff, and found compassionate microskills to help move me closer toward a life guided by values rather than dictated by old fears.” —Aisling Leonard-Curtin, CPsychol, PsSI, chartered psychologist with The Psychological Society of Ireland; peer-reviewed ACT trainer; and coauthor of the #1 best seller, The Power of Small
~Aisling Leonard-Curtin, CPsychol, PsSI
“Boone, Gregg, and Coyne have pulled off a marvelous feat—they have distilled down many of the core principles of ACT into a format that is fun to read! The book strikes just the right tone—you feel like you’re learning and even being challenged, without being lectured to or judged. I love the opportunities for teeny tiny practice—just the right size to make realistic change!” —Sonja V. Batten, PhD, psychologist, executive coach, past president and fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), author of Essentials of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and coauthor of Committed Action in Practice
~Sonja V. Batten, PhD
“Stop Avoiding Stuff offers concrete, practical, doable microskills that will help you get out of the avoidance trap. Grounded in scientific research, this approachable yet thorough book breaks down the tools needed for sustained behavior change into manageable steps. I’d recommend this to anyone who is ready to take action in their life, and is looking for the tools to help them move toward what really matters to them.” —Jenna LeJeune, PhD, licensed psychologist; president of Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center; and coauthor of Values in Therapy
~Jenna LeJeune, PhD
“This delightful little book is chock-full of kitchen-table wisdom, presented in a simple, humble, genuine, and accessible way. It both humanizes our natural tendency to avoid stuff we don’t like, while giving us a variety of healthy ways to turn back toward the stuff we are running from. This book is perfect for the time-challenged reader who might be willing to spend ten minutes each day building a conscious, intentional way of living. Beware though, this book can easily become a real ‘page-turner,’ as you get more and more intrigued about the impact of little behaviors on your ongoing sense of personal vitality and life meaning.” —Kirk Strosahl, PhD, cofounder of ACT, and coauthor of The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression
~Kirk Strosahl, PhD
“Everything in my life that works better now than it did before is a result of me stopping avoiding stuff. As this delightful book makes perfectly clear, stuff is not just activities that we avoid, but thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the body. Stop Avoiding Stuff does an impressive job highlighting all the ways we can learn to be more flexible, and how we can use that flexibility to suffer less and lean into more of what life has to offer. It was easy not to avoid writing this endorsement.” —Jon Hershfield, MFT, director of The OCD and Anxiety Center at Sheppard Pratt, author of When a Family Member Has OCD and Overcoming Harm OCD, and coauthor of The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD and Everyday Mindfulness for OCD
~Jon Hershfield, MFT
“Life doesn’t come with a rule book, but if it did, this would be a pretty cool one. It’s bite-size, fun to read, and covers the most important things. Once you are oriented, you can bounce around and acquire the skills that most interest you or that you really need right now. You could even put it in the bathroom and read it there. Not every book that can change your life needs to be a tome. Instead, stop avoiding stuff—one tiny bit at a time.” —Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Nevada Foundation Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno; and originator and codeveloper of ACT
~Steven C. Hayes, PhD
“Is fear holding you back in life at times? Then this book is for you. It’s packed with practical and manageable suggestions on how to thrive and step out of stuff that sucks, and into stuff that matters. It takes you through an easy-to-read, at times personal, down-to-earth, humorous, and loving journey too. Read this book. Your life is waiting for you to join it.” —Rikke Kjelgaard, MSc, author; licensed psychologist; chief rock and roller and expert in ACT; and creator of Fierce, Fabulous, and Female
~Rikke Kjelgaard, MSc
“If you find it hard to engage in everyday practices to help your anxiety, then this book is for you. I loved the micro-skills, and wanted to get out my own journal and start practicing the smallest of daily tasks right away. I am sure this will help you change your anxiety and worry, and give you much more. It’s written by experts in the field of ACT, and I highly recommend it.” —Louise Hayes, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Thriving Adolescent, Your Life Your Way, and Get out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens