Diana Hill, PhD is a clinical psychologist, international trainer and sought-out speaker on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and compassion. Go to drdianahill.com or her channels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (@drdianahill) to learn more.

410: How Acceptance (& Regret!) Help Our Parenting

Dr. Diana Hill

In our hectic parenting lives it can become easy to lose track of what’s important and get bogged down by the stress of it all. Diana Hill, clinical psychologist talks to us about how Acceptance and commitment Therapy (ACT) can help us become more psychologically flexible and how that will help our parenting.

How Acceptance (& Regret!) Help Our Parenting - Dr. Diana Hill [410]

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[00:00:00] Dr. Diana Hill: If I can control my weight or I can control my grades or I can control the cleanliness of my house or I can control all sorts of things, then I'm really attempting to control the thoughts and feelings and sensations that are underneath my skin that I don't like.

[00:00:20] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 410. Today, we're talking about how acceptance and even regret help our parenting with Dr. Diana Hill.

Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here, it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years. I'm the creator of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the bestselling book, Raising Good Humans, a Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids.

Welcome back to the Mindful Mom on Podcast. So glad you are here. If you haven't done so yet, please make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss any. And if you get some value from the podcast, if you've ever gotten any value from this podcast. Please, from the bottom of my heart, I beg of you, go over to Apple Podcasts, leave us a rating and review.

It just helps the podcast grow more. It takes 30 seconds. And me and the whole team that puts on this podcast really appreciate that. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Dr. Diana Hill, a clinical psychologist, international trainer, and sought out speaker on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Act and Compassion.

She's the host of the podcast, Your Life in Progress, and the co author of the Act Daily Journal. Integrating over 20 years of meditation experience with yoga and psychological training. Diana blogs for Psychology Today and guest teaches at Insight LA, Blue Spirit Costa Rica, and more. We're going to talk about acceptance and commitment.

What do those mean and how can they help us as parents? And really like in our hectic Parenting lives, it can become really easy to lose track of what's important and get bogged down by the stress of it all. So we're going to talk about how acceptance and commitment therapy and even things like regret can help us become more psychologically flexible and how that will help our parenting.

Dr. Hill's also a guest speaker in the Raising Good Humans Summit, which you can sign up for free at mindfulmommamentor. com slash summit. Okay. Let's do it. Join me at the table as I talk to Dr. Diana Hill.

Diana, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Nomal

[00:03:00] Dr. Diana Hill: Podcast. Thanks for having me.

[00:03:02] Hunter: Oh, I'm so glad you're here. I'm excited to talk about act, acceptance, and commitment. therapy, but we're going, we want to talk about it, of course, from the parenting point of view. And I just love to start out these conversations thinking about comparing what parenting may be like now versus what it may have been like then.

And I'm wondering how were you raised and what was your childhood

[00:03:23] Dr. Diana Hill: like? A mixed bag. I think that most people You know, most people would say their childhood is a mixed bag. There were things that were super wonderful about it. My parents were quite eclectic folks. My mom actually grew up in Peru and she was born in Dominican Republic, but grew up in Peru.

And so there was a lot of influences of South America in the way that she raised me in the way culturally some of those influences. And then my dad was Buddhist. So I had that perspective as well. And they were both really. big on nature and gardening. And so we were composting and then we had a big vegetable garden in the backyard.

So I have a lot of good memories about watering the garden after school and being with my kind of what I thought at the time were weird parents, but now I appreciate all the lessons that they taught me. But those are, we also had, challenges as well, but they're still married, which is pretty cool.

And I'm still pretty close with both of them. Oh, cool.

[00:04:24] Hunter: Cool. What would you thought they were weird? I'm sure like, you're like, mom's like from South America. She may do things like differently from where the way maybe my friends are doing things and dad's doing things differently. What were you worried about?

That was like weird when you were a kid that the other kids wasn't happening in other

[00:04:42] Dr. Diana Hill: families. Yeah. Yeah. First I want to say my mom was an expat. She was an American in South America. But I will say one of the things that was different is I went to Catholic school. So she taught Spanish in a Catholic school, but we were not Catholic.

And so some of the things that felt different for me was not. Like I would go to these rituals and ceremonies that were part of the Catholic school, things like first communion, where you get to wear the really pretty white dress and drink a little bit of wine and a little bit of communion.

And I was different. I didn't get to stand in that line and wasn't part of that. I was often embarrassed when kids came over to my house because we were probably middle class, but the school that we were going to was a private school where there was a lot of upper class kids that had things like Mercedes Benz's and Barbies.

That I didn't always have and Barbies with Corvettes. And so there was a I think sometimes as many kids do, they just look at their differences or what makes, what makes me different. And I think that early on I learned to try and be like a high achiever to try and fit in or stand out.

That's where perfectionism and high achieving behavior started to creep in, which ended up being a double edged sword for me, really benefited me in a lot of ways, but then also had a dark side where I ended up developing an eating disorder when I was 14 or 15 years old and struggled with that for decades before I went on to be a clinical psychologist.


[00:06:10] Hunter: I can relate to so much of what you said because not what you're saying about your disorder, but I grew up in a super Catholic town. My, I grew up in Rhode Island and it's like a huge, Azorean Portuguese population and like we had so many people doing First Communion that were there was First Communion parade like down the street.

Everybody was Catholic. And I'm, I grew up in this my parents were like agnostic. They were rejecting their dad was Lutheran or whatever growing up and, said we're tree huggers or whatever, like that was definitely, I was definitely called weird. And I was definitely told, someone told me, I remember in second grade, someone said do you believe in God?

And I was like I don't know. And they're like if you don't know, then you don't believe in God and you're going to hell. And I was like, oh, and it was very upsetting. But yeah, I remember going to church with someone and accidentally taking the, eating the wafer and cause my parents were like, just do everything they do and you'll be fine.

And the high achiever thing, I think that, I don't know, you look somewhat similar to me I think there was a time where it was like, we were very much praised for there was like a self esteem kind of movement happening where you're like, You're great.

You can do wonderful. Like I remember my grandfather gave me a dollar for every A I got, which wasn't, I wasn't super impressed with in high school, but by like fourth grade, I was super psyched about that. And just this like emphasis on achievement. And I definitely could feel that it's important for me to get those grades.

That was a really important thing, I don't know, that message came through for me loud and clear as well.

[00:07:56] Dr. Diana Hill: My husband, he has his PhD in education and his favorite line is they're going to school the smarts right out of you, which is that I that concept of the focus on achievement and the focus on the grade and the consequences to the child that Loses the love of learning or loses the process of learning and the exploratory nature of what is it that you enjoy?

What is it that you don't enjoy? What are you curious about the mistakes that happen that are growth areas? And so I became really quite rigid as a result of being a high achiever and. And that rigidity, it still shows up from time to time with me now where I lose focus on what's important to me or what about the process of my life because I'm so focused on trying to get to some goal and it's a never ending finish line, right?

So as soon as I get there, the finish line is already. And that happened academically for me early on, but now it happens like with parenting or with my private practice or book writing or whatever other things that I'm engaged in. And it's a really dangerous path in Buddhism, it would be considered samsara, which is the cycle of suffering where you're just constantly trying to get at something, grasp at something.

But it never really makes you feel satisfied.

[00:09:18] Hunter: The hungry ghost, right? And they're in the realm of the hungry ghost where you're eating and you're, you can't take it in and your tiny throat. Do you think that the perfectionism, like in all this achievement, do you think it was like this, and maybe even the eating disorder, right?

Is this do you think this is like an attempt to control the world that feels really uncontrollable, as you grow up and you realize like how

[00:09:47] Dr. Diana Hill: I, I view it through a biopsychosocial spiritual lens. So there is an element about it, something like an aim disorder that's biologically genetically. We know anorexia is what I struggle from. We know there's a close to 50% concordance rate, which means if you have two, two biological twins, there's a 50% chance that the other one's going to get anorexia if the first one has anorexia.

So there's, there is a, Genetic predisposition to, I think something like an eating disorder, but also to things like rigidity or having more of a conscientious sort of personality style and or anxiety sensitivity. And then there's the social cultural aspect of things where we're getting.

Reinforced for certain types of behaviors and other types of things are not getting reinforced. So you're getting an A when you get your spelling test right, and that feels good, right? So there's the sociocultural focus on certain body shapes and sizes as being privileged or, prioritized. And then there's also the aspect of an act we call experiential avoidance.

Which is if I can control this thing, if I can control my weight or I can control my grades or I can control the cleanliness of my house or I can control all sorts of things, then I'm really attempting to control the thoughts and feelings and sensations that are underneath my skin that I don't like.

And that may be things like feelings of inadequacy or feelings of anxiety or feelings of shame which are naturally.

Going to happen to all of us across our childhood and across our lifespan. And for me, I didn't know, I didn't know what to do with those. And it just seems simpler to, count my calories or get straight A's than actually go into that underworld and that mystery and that wilderness of all this stuff that shows up under our skin and tends to get pretty intense during adolescence in particular.

And then a lot of us don't have the tools of what do we do when that shows up.

[00:11:50] Hunter: Yeah. I guess they're like coping skills gone awry. They're coping skills that help you manage and help you get through the day and then it gets it can, it gets out of control.

As I remember for me, a really positive coping skill was like going for a run and I would run without headphones and I learned to run in high school and I would run college and stuff like that. And I, it would just. And it would be a really healthy coping skill, but I could see how it could go into, if anything left to extreme, right? Goes awry and in this way.

[00:12:27] Dr. Diana Hill: And it can become a bit of a whack a mole situation. So if running is what helps you get rid of your anxiety, then whenever anxiety shows up, I need to go for a run. But what if anxiety is showing up twice a day? Are you going to start running twice a day?

What if it shows up three times a day? And we see this with other types of avoidance behaviors, right? So maybe it's not running, but maybe it's, I need to take an Ativan or drink a glass of wine. Or when my anxiety shows up, I need to, organize my house or that these types of experiential avoidance strategies, which tend to be about getting rid of feelings or thoughts or sensations that happen under our skin.

End up having this rebound effect. So the feelings come back. Sometimes they come back even stronger and we end up being our lives be are directed by what we're avoiding as opposed to what we want. So there's lots of reasons to run. We may run because it, it gives us a little mood boost.

I love to run because It's a nice way to just get outside and breathe and be with my thoughts and be out in nature and take a break from all of the chaos of my family life and my work life. And that's different than I'm running to get rid of my anxiety. So in act, we really make this distinction between.

Are you moving in a direction that's in line with your values that brings you a vitality that opens up your life that helps you be the type of person that you want to be in the world? Or are you moving away from that because you're trying to avoid something that's uncomfortable and oftentimes the things that bring us vitality in life or the direction we want to head in our lives include some degree of discomfort and it's actually the skill and the ability to be with and open up to.

The discomfort of loving living and holding it with compassion while we move in directions that matter to us, that really opens us up.

[00:14:24] Hunter: Stay tuned for more mindful mama podcasts right after this break.

[00:14:28] Dr. Diana Hill: So it's been an interesting journey and that I ran a treatment center for eating disorders. I went into doing, I first started studying dbt for bulimia and I worked with Debra Safer at Stanford and researching that. Just

[00:14:44] Hunter: explain what dbt is for the listener.

[00:14:47] Dr. Diana Hill: So DBT, I would say DBT is it's one of the cognitive behavioral therapies, but it was one of the first ones that brought in acceptance and brought, it's a, it brought in, it was developed by Marsha Linehan, who was also a Zen practitioner.

And so she brought in a lot of principles around, it's not just about changing your thoughts or changing your feelings. It's also the power of accepting what is and radical acceptance, like complete radical acceptance. It also has a lot of other skills like interpersonal effectiveness skills, how to assert yourself mindfulness skills.

It was one of the early acceptance based approaches. They call them third wave psychologies. And so I started there researching that and and then found my way. to act from there, which is a sister of dbt. It's not quite as structured as dbt is, and it has this extra component of values what you want your life to be about and ended up running a treatment center for eating disorders for a while before I went into private practice.

I'm not solely in eating disorders anymore, but I really find these principles are useful for any of us that struggle. With trying to control or find ourselves moving in directions that we don't want to be moving in, maybe as parents or as partners or just a people on this planet, how to be with what's uncomfortable and being with the uncertainty of things while turning towards the type of person you want to be beautiful.

[00:16:13] Hunter: I love that. So when going back to your own life, like how did you. How did you end up getting pet moving beyond your eating disorder

[00:16:22] Dr. Diana Hill: when you were young? Oh my gosh. That's a long windy story. So it was 14, 15. I went to a treatment center and came back and then I developed bulimia.

And in my twenties, I ended up getting really involved in the work of Thich my dad was a practitioner, his teacher was Thich Nhat Hanh. And so I went to Plum Village when I was 20. 2001. So I think I was just barely 20. And that started opening the Plum Village is his monastery in France where he was in exile in France.

And that opened the door to me of just a different way of living of practicing mindfulness. And I got really involved in yoga. So that was the start of. When I say bio psycho social spiritual, that was a spiritual component of my recovery that still is a thread through my recovery and a thread in a lot of my work that I do of this foundation of mindfulness and the foundation of sort of yogic principles of effort and surrender.

And, but it wasn't a straight path. I don't think a lot of people's recovery from addictions is. We hear this, we see the story on People Magazine. Of recovered from whatever alcoholism or recovered from an eating disorder, but it's much more of a labyrinth than that. It has a lot more twists and turns.

So I ended up going into graduate school to study with Linda Craighead And I was studying appetite awareness, which is how to bring awareness to your physical hunger and fullness and use that as a guide for your eating. So that's the biological component of the biopsycho spiritual model, right?

That's a whole biology around listening to your body and feeding your body. And when I was in graduate school, my first year of graduate school, I relapsed into my eating disorder. So I'm here, I'm a PhD student studying eating disorders and I relapsed. Which is a massive, shameful, scary.

Experience and so I withdrew ended up withdrawing and say, I'm willing to let this all go because my recovery is the most important thing. And how do I possibly work with other people? If I'm struggling, actively struggling with Minnesota and I went to a yoga ashram. And that's when I got really clear on, wait, I went to Eldorado Mountain Yoga in Boulder.

I thought I was going to be a yoga teacher and then decided, wait a minute, I can, I want to be able to go back and bring all this stuff that I know has been really useful to me, but have it really marry with and integrate with what's happening in the academic world. And that I don't have to choose because I felt like I had to choose.

I felt like I either had to choose to be. This researcher, academic self that is perfect, or I'm like meditating in an ashram somewhere wearing yoga pants all day and, often my spiritual journey and that's been the practice for me since then is how do I, where do I find this integration and also the integration of some of the biological stuff like nutrition and Intuitive eating and appetite awareness and all of that.

And that's when I came back and found Deborah Safer, who was doing DBT at Stanford. And she was really inspiring to me and she came on as another mentor. So that was part of my, recovery in some ways was also my career path.

[00:19:49] Hunter: Oh my god, I can relate so much to everything you said. I studied with Thich Nhat Hanh and I've gone on retreat with, I went on retreat with him and my six year old daughter and the last time he was in North America and yeah, and just even the I'm not, I don't think I ever had like an eating disorder.

I had a, I had a sugar problem. I had You know, a sugar addiction, I would like, it's ridiculous. Like my roommates would find raisins, like in the, all the cushions of the couches, cause I just was like trying to replace the sugar, but like it was body awareness. It was like yoga and that, and being able to find that I guess I relate to that feeling of try finding that feeling of what is your body need?

That satiety feeling, fullness and things like that. Anyway, sorry, there's this I was like, Oh yes, I relate to so much of your story. And I think that's so beautiful that that you took that and, you explored these different avenues and then found a place where it was all coming together.

And I can definitely see that in the act, you know, work that you do, the acceptance and commitment therapy work that you do, because it really brings together all these like different pieces of. You tell me about like how it brings together different pieces.

[00:21:10] Dr. Diana Hill: ACT is an approach to not necessarily getting rid of symptoms.

It's about building a life that is in line with your values. And so sometimes that means your anxiety doesn't go away. It might come back. Actually I run, I have a low grade anxiety. Sometimes it's stronger. Sometimes it's it's not super strong right now in this moment with you Hunter, but I'll say, yesterday it was pretty intense towards the end of the day when I was worrying about something.

So with ACT, it's not about, necessarily trying to control or get rid of any of those types of symptoms that it doesn't even see pathologize people that have struggles. That all humans struggle in different ways. We all experientially avoid. We all don't like feeling things. And so we do all sorts of stuff to not feel things.

But what it offers you is this path to what's called psychological flexibility and psychological flexibility is your ability to stay open to what's happening in the present moment, your thoughts, feelings, and sensations to stay aware. Which is aware. I like to be an observer to step into an observer state aware of what's happening and then engaged with your values.

So to be able to really take action with your hands and feet and in a way that's aligned with your heart and it has these six core processes that support that psychological flexibility. For example, with parenting. Psychological flexibility in parenting. I was just working with a client right before meeting with you and they were talking about bedtime and how they've gotten into this routine now where their three year old requires six stories, oh my gosh, two songs.

One story that's made up by the parent in the dark after the lights are out

[00:23:04] Hunter: after all that, boy,

[00:23:06] Dr. Diana Hill: And I'm like, okay it's when you see a dog that's being like dragging their owner on a leash down the street and you're like, who's walking who here? And I'm like, who's putting who to bed here?

So what's happening there? Like, how did the parent get there? Like, how did you get there to six stories and two songs? I got there because I really don't like the feeling of guilt. When I say That time, story time is over, time to go to bed now. And I feel guilty because I was working or I feel guilty because, I just have a chronic state of parental guilt.

Or I really don't like the feeling of the sound of my child whining. And then it makes me, I just want that whining to stop. So I threw in another story or I also maybe have some memories of my parents who did not read to me. And that feeling of loneliness or feeling of isolation at bedtime and feeling scared, right?

So in that moment, what's happening is that some rules are showing up for this client. I made all the, I made all that up. So this is actually, it's not what's true for this client. I just made it up. Some rules might be showing up for this person. Some stories, some memories. This is all stuff that's showing up.

It's choosing for them like a dog pulling at them, their actions. And what this parent really wants or what a parent really wants is to enjoy bedtime with their kids and connect and if you're forced into reading six stories, two songs and a story at bed, in the dark, you actually start to resent or maybe dread or not or not feel like you're being the parent that you want to be.

So with act, what you would be doing is you'd be. Opening up to those feelings, noticing those thoughts, aware, Oh, there's my guilt. That's my mom guilt or my dad guilt. It tends to show up a lot, doesn't it? And then choose to engage with your values. And what is the type of parent that I want to be in this moment?

What are the limits that I want to set? What is the warm heartedness I want to bring? What is the compassionate voice I want to use while I'm setting those limits? And that would be you acting in line with your values, even with those difficult sensations showing up for you. So that is an example of psychological flexibility and those processes, these six core processes that support that we can break down and teach people how to use them and practice them.

I would

[00:25:25] Hunter: love to break them down. And I love that example. I really appreciate you sharing that example with us because. It's such a great example of boundaries needed, right? Because that parent's needs are, both the parent and the kid's needs are important, right? They're right in there.

There's a conflict of needs and it's like, how do we, how do you know, how do we say I hold a boundary, right? And holding a boundary really. Involves a lot of the time, like being able to experience the discomfort of Oh, hello, old guilt. I see, or the discomfort of the whining and just get through the whining at a certain point, or the discomfort of saying no.

And having your child be unhappy with a no, and that's sometimes, sometimes the right decision in those moments and you, we have to go through the experience of discomfort in order to be able to hold to our boundaries and act on them. And I love that. So it's this idea of being able to experience this.

You were talking about this experience, being able to experience these feelings, feel the feelings. And that gives, that's like that's hold that mindfulness piece, right? Of like then being able to. If the feelings are like the waterfall, then you're stepping out in front of the waterfall. You're looking at it and saying, Oh, okay.

This is what it is. And now I have the ability to choose because I'm not just like under the waterfall of the feelings. So this is a profound practice.

[00:26:53] Dr. Diana Hill: And it's about flexibility and values. Those are the sort of cornerstones of it. Because sometimes. It's holding the boundary because holding the boundary helps me live out my values right now in this moment as a parent.

Sometimes it's getting way more flexible with your boundary. So last night, my version of bedtime is it's late. We have I have A teen and a 10 year old, a 13 and a 10 year old and it's basketball playoffs and the Lakers are playing. And I have two boys that are really into the Lakers and we're down to the end here, right?

Fourth quarter and the Lakers are coming back. Am I going to go in and be like eight o'clock kids turn off the TV? It's a school night, right? Even though I really want to, even though I want to go to bed. I'm tired. Let's end this now. I don't really care that much about basketball, right? So that's also a moment where how can I be more flexible?

As a parent and tolerate the, I'm stretching my, I'm stretching my limits here in the service of, Hey, fun, I want to be a fun mom. That's actually a value of mine is, and not always an easy one for me to live out. I'm, I lean a little bit towards being unfun. My husband's more of the fun parent.

I'm the like, keep everyone in line parent, right? Wow.

[00:28:06] Hunter: Another place I relate with you, Diana, I am the hard ass as well in my family. Yeah.

[00:28:10] Dr. Diana Hill: Yeah. Yeah. So I can practice flexibility around that, but it's because I have clarity around what is the value that I am putting at the forefront. And I like to think about that as you're like Rubik's cubes, so there may be one value that's, like one color that you are working on. Because it's something that's important to you. It's how you want to show up in your parenting. Maybe you want to be more fun, or maybe you want to be more soft and flexible, or maybe you want to be more creative, or maybe you want to be more truthful.

Some parents aren't super truthful, and that's a value that they have, right? But that's the top of the Rubik's Cube that you practice. And then you also have all these other values on the other sides that you're balancing out. And sometimes you need to bring one to the forefront. So last night I let my kids stay up late and watch a basketball game.

And now I have a sick kid at home, but I don't think it's related to staying up late. I think he was already getting sick, but yeah, so it's it's freeing when you see parenting as driven by your values because you get, you can be more flexible. And it's also freeing when you don't have to have your behavior.

So coupled to your thoughts and to your feelings that you can have a feeling and you don't have to act on that feeling. You can have a thought and like a guilty thought. Or I'm a bad parent thought or whatever, and you don't have to act on that thought. And that's what psychological flexibility gives us.

Is that freedom. I love

[00:29:30] Hunter: that. It's freeing to have your behavior not be coupled to your thoughts necessarily. That's that's so true, but it's also in some ways harder, right? What you're describing is a middle path, right? You're describing a middle, a mess, a kind of messy middle, right? Like this freedom and flexibility is also means I have to stop and think about all this. I have to stop and tap into my values and process this whole thing, right? I think a lot of times parents, we want like a, we want like a rule, right? This is the thing. This is what we do. If we go to like extremes, it's always this, or it's always this.

It's easier, right? It's easier to be in the extremes than it is to be in the messy middle.

[00:30:15] Dr. Diana Hill: It's the analogy that I have. I think people might get tripped up into, I have to stop and figure out what my values are in the same way that I was working with, if I were working with someone that wanted to have a more balanced relationship with food.

Oh, I have to stop and think about what's my food plan or what's my food role that there's actually already a knowing inside of you. That you have a knowing of tuning a guitar when you tune in and you really just check in with yourself. What is an alignment for me? What do I really know to be true for me as a parent about what's important right now or what I care about right now?

Not what everyone says or not some, like a food plan on how it says you should eat. And what am I really hungry for? What works for my body? It's going to be different than the person sitting next to me because they have a different biology than me. My, what works for me as a parent is going to be different from the parent that is picking up their kid at school right next to me and that's okay.

And so values are personal and they're chosen. And when we start to look within and notice how it feels in our body, like what does it feel like when you have a day, like if you look back over the course of this day, this, yesterday. And you were like, yeah, that was a moment where I feel like I really showed up.

And it felt like it was a meaningful moment or a connecting moment, or I feel good and proud of how that parenting moment went. That's an indicator of what your values are. So it doesn't have to be, I always, I think in the act daily journal that Debbie and I wrote, we get really structured and it's helpful to have that kind of structure.

And then it's also helpful just to basically tune in, like check in with yourself. Throughout the day and the way that I would encourage you if you with going back to eating before you eat, check in. Am I hungry? What does my body want right now? What does my body need right now? Those are two different questions.

The same thing we can do with our values. We can check in and say, okay, what right now in this moment, what's most important to me? How do I want to show up as a parent and what would be the next sort of move? In terms of my behavior, what is the quality that I want to bring to my behavior?

[00:32:31] Hunter: Stay tuned for more mindful mama podcast right after this break.

I love that. Yeah, for me that makes me all reflect completely upon the mindfulness practices, the awareness practices, like the way the practices that have for me have built my awareness of my body and then my awareness of my thoughts and my mind and my heart. Over the last 15 years or whatever, right?

Like that allows me to do this, right? Cause I practice that all the time. So it allows me to do this, but I want to hear from you, what about the act? What are the six core processes? Can you walk us through those?

[00:33:10] Dr. Diana Hill: Yeah. So the six core processes together develop psychological flexibility.

The first one is exactly what you're talking about, Hunter, which is being present. Being mindful. The second one has to do with acceptance and acceptance is not necessarily accepting something outside of you, but really. Allowing for an opening up to whatever's happening in this moment, the reality of what is.

The third process has to do with how we relate to our thoughts in an act that use a word called cognitive diffusion. And that's that decoupling thing that I was talking about, which is you're going to have thoughts all the time. We have, you're having thoughts, Hunter, as we're doing this interview, I'm having thoughts.

Some of the thoughts may be related to the interview. Some may not. The listeners are having thoughts. Some of those thoughts may be judgmental, critical, helpful, random. With cognitive diffusion, you start to just notice your thoughts as thoughts without trying to control or change them. And then, some thoughts may be helpful.

The fourth process has to do with your relationship with yourself perspective taking. So the ability to get behind the eyes of another person, the ability to take perspective on your own self, the ability to. Transcend sort of the small self and feel that interconnected nature of our interbeing is what Tichna Han would call it.

So that is another process that can be really helpful. It's the common humanity aspect of Kristin Neff's self compassion. When we are parenting, we're not alone. There, there is our lineage of ancestors of parents before us. And then there's all the other parents that are parenting right now in this moment as well.

And so you don't feel so alone in yourself. And then the fifth process has to do with values, which we've talked a lot about the qualities that you want to bring to your life. And then the very last one is committed action. So act is a behavioral psychology. It means. And not just thinking about these things, but actually doing them.

What are you committing to in this moment that demonstrates psychological flexibility and your values? And so we work with people a lot in terms of minute action and those six core processes are how we structured the act daily journal. It's how I structure my courses. I have an online course on act.

And I also talk about them a lot on my podcast of just. Sometimes it's helpful to focus on one at a time because there's so much going on there. Yeah.

[00:35:31] Hunter: Yeah. There's a lot going on there. Yeah, certainly any one of these, we could spend a podcast on any one of these. And in fact, like a lot of these, it's interesting not, not being versed in act.

Like all of these things are very much like out, like in raising good humans every day. Like I talk about diffusion from thoughts, having been, had my mind blown years ago by Russ Harris's work, the illustrated happiness trap. I love the illustrated version and all these things. Anyway, I love to talk about some, we, we talk a lot about being present.

We talk about a fair amount about perspective taking and diffusion from thoughts and Acceptance. I love to talk about values. Can we dive a little deeper into that? How do you help people really discern what their core values are that they want to

[00:36:23] Dr. Diana Hill: explore? I often say there's two entry points to values.

One entry point is what brings you vitality. And what makes you feel energized and feel, you feel like, yeah this is how I want to be. But another entry point, which is often the entry point that I see people who come into my practice is pain. Because that is what, that which is most painful to us.

is often also what also connects most with our values. So parenting is one of those arenas and parenting is not a value. Parenting is a domain in which you would live out your values. So we have different domains. We have parenting, we may have work, we may have our community, we may have recreation and values are.

The qualities that you want to bring to those domains. So when you look at something like pain, one of the things that I will often do, which is a really unfun thing to do is talk about regret. We don't like regrets. We don't want to talk about regrets. We often say things like I have no regrets, but as a parent, we have a lot of regrets.

All the time.

[00:37:31] Hunter: And they can be incredibly motivating. Oh my gosh.

[00:37:33] Dr. Diana Hill: Yeah. Yeah. I regret not going to that field trip or I regret going to that field trip. Was that the best use of my time or yeah so regrets I interviewed Daniel Pink on my podcast a while back and he is the author of the power of regret.

And then he also did this whole thing called the American regret. Project where he interviewed are actually assessed over 4000 people to look at. What are some commonalities amongst our regrets? And he found those these four commonalities. So we tend to have regrets that are foundational regrets, which are the things that accumulate over time.

I have foundational regrets around Tanning beds in college really shows up now, in my forties, or not saving money or, things like that. We could have foundational regrets around like choosing not to brush our kid's teeth. Cause we're so tired.

[00:38:29] Hunter: I regret I regret holding my daughter down and brushing her teeth when she was little.

That was rough. I totally regret that.

[00:38:37] Dr. Diana Hill: Yeah. And that one actually may fall in the category of actually a connection regret or actually maybe a moral regret. I would say it's probably in a category of a moral regret of the things that we do is that's actually not like a long lines, yelling at my kids in the back of the car, stop fighting.

That's a moral regret. I'm like, I'm going against what sort of what my beliefs are about how I want to be. The third type of regrets have to do with connection regrets, which are those. Opportunities that we didn't take to connect, maybe we're on our phone and our kid comes in and says, I want to show you something.

I want to show you something. And so we show you something and then we're just like in it and we're just like, hold on a second. And then by the time we go back there. It's done. Sorry, mom. You missed it. I'm not into showing you that thing anymore. And then the, so we have foundation, we have moral, we have connection.

And then the last one is boldness regrets, which has to do with those times that we weren't bold. We didn't go for it. We didn't get on the dance floor at that wedding, or we didn't go for that, book proposal that we want. We had an idea about, we didn't put ourselves out there or with our kids.

Maybe we weren't bold. We didn't there was this thing going around on Instagram for a while. I don't know how stuff gets in your feed, but it was this kid this dad that was dressed up as The princess from let it go and and the daughter that was dressed up at the princess, let it go. And he was going into the amusement park, both dressed up together.

It's he's being bold because he's supporting his daughter and getting dressed up together. That so we have these regrets now, how this points to values. You don't have to get stuck in guilt or regrets. That's not the idea. The idea is, huh? A little ping of regret tells me about something that's important to me.

I want to be mindful and connected with my kids, or I want to be a little bit more playful and bold and dress up with them and who cares what other people think, or, when my kid is not doing something that, that I want them to do, like brush their teeth. I want to be able to be a calm, directive presence and not forcing, right?

So that when you get clear on that, it can, you can write some of that down and those are qualities. They're not goals. They're not like, Oh, I am, setting this goal that I'm going to achieve. It's a quality that I'm going to practice, like I would practice playing the guitar over and over again in this domain of parenting.

And so regrets pain can point a lot to our values. That's one that I like to go, I go for sometimes. What's most painful is also tell us a lot about what we care about.

[00:41:03] Hunter: Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I think that's such a useful way to look at those things. Honestly, like everything that I created with raising good humans and all the different things are become from our regret come from me regretting yelling and losing it at my kid and just not living up to that, not being a value that I wanted to live up from.

And that in a way, now, at this point, I don't regret that because it was such a powerful motivator to do all this, all this work, but it's I think that's such a useful way of seeing that to see this as a teacher, right? What is this? What is this pain that you're feeling?

What is it trying to say to you? What is it trying to teach you? To say, not that this is something that necessarily we need to shove away or we need to now go online shopping or watch Grey's Anatomy because we have this feeling, but to say, okay what is this feeling? Can I feel a first, can I feel this feeling and process it?

But then what can I learn from this feeling? And that can be something that we process like. With a therapist, with our journal, with a friend, right? Like these are things that we can discover. These are, I love that you're pointing to this as an avenue of

[00:42:15] Dr. Diana Hill: discovery for us. Yeah. You mentioned Russ Harris and I've actually had him coming up again on my podcast, Russ Harris.

He's a great act teacher. He's really good at making it. Applicable. But one of his models is something called the choice point. And he created it with Ann Bailey and Joseph Sorocci. And this model is basically the idea that every moment of our day is another choice point. And we have another choice.

We have a moment to choose. Am I going to move towards my values? Or am I going to move away from my values? And we can even pause in that moment and be like, Am I going to regret this? I was thinking about that on Mother's Day. And Mother's Day, I feel like it's always, not always, for a lot of people, it's a very complicated.

There's people that feel lost because their mother has passed. They feel disconnected or loneliness because they may not have a good relationship with their mother. Maybe they aren't a mother and they want to become a mother. They've had infertility. Maybe they themselves are a mother and it's just not going their way.

I have all these expectations of today's my day where I get to do anything I want because it's Mother's Day. And what am I actually going to regret? I'm going to regret being mean on Mother's Day. I also may regret not, asking for what I really want.

That boldness


Yeah. Yeah. Boldness regret. I want some alone time. So we can use our regrets also to look at those choice points of what I want to, how could I choose a different path right now that would be more in line with my values. I love

[00:43:47] Hunter: that. Am I going to regret this? That's so helpful because we can get so lost in the feeling, and the, in the feeling of whatever it is or the story or the thought, it's the rumination and all those things.

And that question really cuts through that to say like, where are your values? And really you can get to them in a very direct way. This is so great. There's so much here. Diana's podcast has so much more to your listener that you could check out. What's the name of your podcast?

[00:44:14] Dr. Diana Hill: It's called Your Life in Process.

So process has two sort of meanings to it. One is our lives are in process. They're always constantly changing. We are all in process, not about outcome. And this other aspect is that there's these six core processes of psychological flexibility that we explore in lots of different ways.

[00:44:32] Hunter: Awesome. I love that.

Diana, thank you so much for coming on the mindful mama podcast and sharing your time with me. It's been really a pleasure. I really enjoyed it. And I so appreciate you, you're sharing your story and being open and with everything with us today. Thank you.

[00:44:51] Dr. Diana Hill: Thank you for having me. It sounds like we have a lot in common, so I hope we will continue this relationship moving forward and learning from each other.

I look forward to a new book coming out.

[00:45:01] Hunter: Absolutely. And I didn't get to ask, tell people of course, where they can find you beyond the podcast.

[00:45:06] Dr. Diana Hill: Yeah. So drdiannahill. com and I have a newsletter there called the wise effort newsletter. And. If you sign up for the newsletter, you get a whole series of resources that come your way.

Twice a month you get ideas and strategies from act, but also from contemplative practice. So I really take this integrative approach of weaving in the bio psycho social spiritual aspects of living well.

[00:45:39] Hunter: If you loved this podcast, please consider going and giving us a rating and review at Apple podcasts. I want to give a shout out to She Who Rides Far, who gave us a five star rating. Rating, thank you so much. She said, simply amazing. Hunter gets it and me. She covers so many great topics to keep it fresh and digs into the modern questions I can't quite get guidance on from the previous generations.

Thank you so much for that rating. It really means a lot. If you haven't done so given a reading and review yet, I really appreciate it. If you can go over to Apple podcast, probably right where you're listening to this on your phone, there's a place if you just click on the ratings, you're going to find it right there and you can do it in 30 seconds.

It doesn't take that long, so please do. And I hope it helps. I hope this conversation helped. I really enjoyed talking to Dr. Hill. I think there's so much. There's so much to dig into here with this idea of acceptance, accepting what's happening for us. Like really, it just is a huge piece of living wholeheartedly that I entirely support and have been working on myself.

Anywho, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for being here, for being part of this community. And I look forward to your feedback if you have any, and I am wishing you a beautiful week. I hope you have some rest. I hope you have a nap. Wouldn't that be lovely? And maybe you turn on some music and have a little dance party with your kids.

Anyway, I hope all that good stuff happens for you and that you practice to really focus on that. And I will be practicing too. And thank you so much for listening. And I'll be back at you next week. Namaste.

[00:47:34] Dr. Diana Hill: I'd

[00:47:34] Hunter: say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the

[00:47:39] Dr. Diana Hill: better. It will help you communicate better. And just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you Connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so so worth it.

It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and Gain some perspective Shift everything in your parenting.

[00:48:38] Hunter: Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You'll be joining.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindfulparenting. org to add your name to the wait list so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside. MindfulParentingCourse.

[00:49:53] Dr. Diana Hill: com

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