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Dr. Diana Hill

Same problem, different day? Here are 3 ways to approach your problem differently.

Published 8 months ago • 2 min read


Dear Reader,

Do you sometimes feel like watching a re-run? The same problems pop up over and over again:

…I’m stuck in this relationship pattern

…I keep doing things that are harmful to my body

…I’m trying to stop feeling anxious but it’s getting worse

…I’ve abandoned my needs and my dreams, again

Such is the story of our lives.

Same problem, different day.

If you want it to change, you've got to approach it differently.

  1. See The Larger System. Whatever you’re struggling with, it’s likely a complex network of psychological, biological, and sociocultural factors that interact to maintain your problem. Stop oversimplifying your struggle and explore its bipsychosocial components:
    • Cognition: Are you stuck in self-critical or rigid thoughts?
    • Motivation: Have you lost track of what's important to you?
    • Emotion: Are you avoiding difficult feelings?
    • Attention: Is your mind somewhere else?
    • Self: Are you stuck in a story about yourself?
    • Behavior: Are you failing to take action or acting impulsively?
    • Biology: How is your sleep, movement, diet, medication?
    • Sociocultural: How are culture, social network, or family impacting your problem?
  2. Give Yourself Grace. Offer yourself some compassion. “No wonder this is so hard to change!” It’s not your fault that you are stuck in the same problem, but it is your responsibility to get unstuck. Self-compassion is the sweet spot between realistic expectations and warmth. Give yourself both.
  3. Try a Process-based Intervention. Which element is contributing most to your problem? Get flexible and try some of these interventions in your stickiest spots:

You don’t have to stay stuck. Get curious and choose to act with your heart, not your fear.

Many blessings and more good to come.


Something to watch :

Watch me use this bio-psycho-social network approach with Emily Fan to understand her struggle with being vulnerable in relationships.


Something to listen to:

Listen to my conversation with Dr. Russ Harris to apply a process-based approach to a relationship.

For Clinicians:

I’ll be at ACBS World Conference online this year, offering two workshops:

  1. Doing More But Never Doing Enough: Help your clients unhook from productivity anxiety and engage in skillful means with Wise Effort
  2. The Paradox of Fertility and Pregnancy Loss: How to Help Clients Accept the Immensity of Grief While Holding Hope for the Future

Register for my Online Workshop "ACT for Eating and Body Image Concerns: Help Clients Drop the Rope in their Tug of War with Food and Weight" (CEU available through PESI)

Something to write about:

What bio-psycho-social factors are contributing to your current problem?

What’s painful about staying stuck?

What’s painful about making a change in one of these areas?

Which pain are you willing to choose?


Dr. Diana Hill

Psychological Flexibility Guide

Learn evidenced-backed, contemplative ideas and practices to help you develop your psychological flexibility. If you want to put your efforts into what you care most about, this twice-monthly Wise Effort newsletter is for you. Join the Wise Effort newsletter community!

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