A Liberated Mind
How to Pivot Toward What Matters
The proven plan to overcome negative thoughts and feelings, turn pain into purpose, and build a meaningful life.
“In all my years studying personal growth, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is one of the most useful tools I’ve ever come across, and in this book, Dr. Hayes describes it with more depth and clarity
than ever before.”
– Mark Manson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
…and Claim Your Free Bonuses
Buy the book from your favorite bookseller, then go to stevenchayes.com/bonus-material to access the following bonuses…
Bonus Video: A Journey with ACT. An exclusive behind-the-scenes recording with Steven C. Hayes, and his experience of doing ACT everyday for nearly 40 years.
Flexibility Assessment: A simple tool to test yourself on the top signs that it’s time to work on your psychological flexibility.
Guided Audio Meditation: A twenty minute guided audio meditation narrated by Steven C. Hayes, helping you understand who you want to be in this world, and how you can overcome your inner barriers and obstacles.
ACT in a Nutshell: The Cartoon Book version of A Liberated Mind (with Esther M. Hayes). The most important metaphors and exercises summarized as beautiful and easy-to-understand cartoons.
Praise for A Liberated Mind
“Dr. Steven C. Hayes is one of the greatest thinkers, psychological theorists, and clinicians alive. He has contributed an enormous amount to the field of psychology and is well-known for being the creator of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), a treatment that has now become the first-line approach for many psychological problems. The book, A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters, tells a very personal story about the origin and development of this treatment. Written for a very broad audience, Dr. Hayes is able to clearly translate the science and clinical complexity of this treatment into concrete guiding principles for people’s lives. These principles not only apply to psychological suffering, but also to physical illnesses, relationships, corporations, societies, and cultures. The book is honest, compassionate, and profoundly insightful. It will transform your life by liberating your mind.”
– Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD. Professor of Psychology at Boston University
“A Liberated Mind provides an outstanding introduction to a psychological approach that has changed many lives by turning us toward focusing on our values. The ideas and advice presented here help us truly understand what matters so that we can live with greater freedom, courage, and joy.”
– Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress
“The key to evolving consciousness is cultivating a flexible mind—open, present, empowered and aligned with deep values—and Steven Hayes does a brilliant job showing us how. This book is organized around developing six psychological skills that clinical research shows, beyond all other factors, promote flexibility and translate into a happier and healthier life. As you read this illuminating book, you’ll see how these skills are learnable, that you can start right now, and how when woven together, they offer a path to inner freedom.”
– Tara Brach, PhD. author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“In our crisis-ridden society psychological flexibility is more needed than ever. Transcending shallow and ineffective behavioral approaches, Dr. Steven Hayes here presents a methodology, a skill-set, for emotional liberation that enables us to pivot from self-limitation to self-awareness and selfaffirmative action.”
– Gabor Maté, MD, author of When The Body Says No: Exploring The Stress-Disease Connection
“Steve Hayes has become a leader in his field by understanding that things that cause us pain are things about which we care. By learning to use psychological flexibility we can turn toward the difficult places to live with richness and meaning. Compassionate, helpful, and authoritative, A Liberated Mind shows us a powerful way to a fulfilling life.”
– Susan David, PhD. author of Emotional Agility
“In all my years studying personal growth, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is one of the most useful tools I’ve ever come across, and in this book, Dr. Hayes describes it with more depth and clarity than ever before.”
– Mark Manson, New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“In this highly accessible book, Steven Hayes identifies pathways to connecting with our deepest values and pursing what really matters. Filled with compassion, wisdom, and down-to-earth methods for change, A Liberated Mind is a refreshing “how to” manual for overcoming the obstacles, judgments, habits, and prejudices that so often stand in the way of a life worth living.”
Richard M. Ryan, PhD, Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University, and co-developer of Self-Determination Theory
“Steven Hayes possesses an extraordinary trifecta of skills: A brilliant theoretical and research psychologist, he’s also a compassionate clinician and a wonderfully engaging writer. A Liberated Mind is packed with jewels of insight and information that could change the way we deal with suffering as individuals and as a society. A compelling, revelatory read.”
Martha Beck, PhD, author of Finding Your Own North Star
“Many of our inborn behavioral tendencies were wonderfully well adapted to the world they evolved in fifty thousand years ago. But disaster ensues when our primitive and automatic impulses inflexibly control us, rather than us flexibly controlling them. Hayes combines a scientist’s precision with a poet’s sensitivity in freeing us to be more loving and fully human. This is a great self help book for people who would never dream of reading a self help book.”
– Allen Frances, MD, Professor Emeritus & former Chair, Duke Department of Psychiatry, Chair, DSM-IV Task Force, and author of Saving Normal
“Steve Hayes is a brilliant thinker and doer, and nowhere is this more evident in this book. It weaves together research and a lifetime of practical experience into an accessible, personal, and positive guide to thinking about our lives in fundamentally more helpful way.”
– Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, Director, World Food Policy Center and Robert L. Flowers Professor of Public Policy, Duke University
“Steven C. Hayes is today’s B.F. Skinner – a great intellect, equally passionate about basic knowledge and practical applications. In A Liberated Mind, you can get to know him as a person and apply his wisdom to your own.”
– David Sloan Wilson, PhD, President, Evolution Institute and author of This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution
“Based on a broad and deep knowledge of cutting-edge psychological science and a wide-ranging appreciation of philosophical and religious wisdoms, one of the leading psychologists in the world, Steven C. Hayes, provides an antidote to the conundrum of human struggle and despair. Everyone experiencing anxiety, depression or pain in their life, and striving for emotional well-being should be aware of the surprising revelations in this well-written and easy-toread book.”
– David H. Barlow, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry Emeritus, Founder and Director Emeritus, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University
About A Liberated Mind
In this landmark book, the originator and pioneering researcher into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) lays out the psychological flexibility skills that make it one of the most powerful approaches research has yet to offer. These skills have been shown to help even where other approaches have failed. Science shows that they are useful in virtually every area–mental health (anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD); physical health (chronic pain, dealing with diabetes, facing cancer); social processes (relationship issues, prejudice, stigma, domestic violence); and performance (sports, business, diet, exercise).
How does psychological flexibility help? We struggle because the problem-solving mind tells us to run from what causes us fear and hurt. But we hurt where we care. If we run from a sense of vulnerability, we must also run from what we care about. By learning how to liberate ourselves, we can live with meaning and purpose, along with our pain when there is pain.
Although that is a simple idea, it resists our instincts and programming. The flexibility skills counter those ingrained tendencies. They include noticing our thoughts with curiosity, opening to our emotions, attending to what is in the present, learning the art of perspective taking, discovering our deepest values, and building habits based around what we deeply want.
Beginning with the epiphany Steven C. Hayes had during a panic attack, this book is a powerful narrative of scientific discovery filled with moving stories as well as advice for how we can put flexibility skills to work immediately. Hayes shows how allowing ourselves to feel fully and think freely moves us toward commitment to what truly matters to us. Finally, we can live lives that reflect the qualities we choose.
About Steven Hayes
Steven C. Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 45 books and over 625 scientific articles. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is now practiced by tens of thousands of clinicians all around the world.
Dr. Hayes has been President of several scientific and professional societies including the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. He was listed by the Institute of Scientific Information as the 30th “highest impact” psychologist in the world, and Google Scholar citations place him among the most cited scientists in the world. He has received the lifetime achievement award from ABCT and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among numerous other awards.