What do you do with those pesky unwanted, irrational, and sometimes downright inappropriate or scary thoughts? Hint - trying to stop them, push them away, or change them can often make them even stronger. Tony shares the "numbers" metaphor from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which teaches that the brain works by addition, not subtraction, and shares the most helpful way to look at thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
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[00:00:01] So the year was 2016, and my wife Wendy and my daughter McKinley and I were driving to the start of the Davis turkey trot. It was a half marathon held about an hour or so away from where we live. And I was excited. I was feeling in the moment I was about to do something that I loved with people that I loved even more. And when I get excited and I'm in the car and I want to help people take their minds off of something stressful, then I like to play music. And I love having the ability to look up any song from my youth and play it instantly. I don't know if my family, especially my kids, love that so much. It's still kind of blows my mind that I used to have to record a song on the radio, or if you were lucky, one of your friends would buy the tape or the record or a CD of an artist that you wanted to hear just so that you could hear one or two songs that they would play on the radio. So on this particular day, my live DJ mode had somehow kicked in and I had found my way to sharing with my daughter MacKinley old Jackson, five songs in particular, Michael Jackson belting out Who's Loving You at the age of 11, which reminded me of the artist Terence Trent Darby, who covered that cover, because that song, Just for the Gee Whiz file, was originally written by Smokey Robinson and performed by his group The Miracles in 1960
[00:01:12] But I digress. So on his album, Introducing The Hard Line, according to Terence Trent D'Arby, that's the name of the album back in nineteen eighty seven. When I was a junior in high school, I first heard that song and so I ask her to play this version, this Terence Trent D'Arby version and the second to start it up. I immediately felt tears well up in my eyes so fast as I thought of the person who introduced me to that rendition. That was my best friend, Trent Curl, who tragically died a year later in a car accident the summer after our graduation, along with his younger brother, Toby and Toby, his best friend Chris, and Trent's girlfriend Lisa Warren, who also, for the record, I once held hands with after asking her to, quote, go with me back in sixth or seventh grade. But what was fascinating about that entire experience was despite the fact that, yeah, I thought about Trent so often over the last 30 years, along with Toby and Chris and Lisa, and I've heard the Michael Jackson version of Who's Loving You probably far too many times to count and to admit if I'm being honest, I tend to belt that thing out at the top of my lungs when I was driving to help keep myself awake if I was on a long solo car trip, but combined that particular version by Terrence Trent Darby, who I have not given much to any thought of over the last 30 years plus.
[00:02:27] And my brain remembered all man that I remember in that moment. It brought back such vivid memories that I had tears welling up at my eyes before I even knew what hit me. And that led me to a particular concept within the therapy model that I use on a daily basis. If you're a virtual couch listener, you've heard me talk about this so many times, ACT or acceptance and commitment therapy. And that principle is best described by the following metaphor. And before I get to the metaphor, at least I forget. Welcome to the Virtual Couch, my guest. This is episode two hundred and seventy five. If you're a frequent listener, welcome back. If you're a new listener, you can head over to TonyOverbay.com. You can learn more about about me, about my magnetic marriage course that is about to start pick up or go to Tony Overbay.com magnetic and just get in the queue or I have a free parenting course. They are an online recovery course. But let's get back to the topic at hand. So memories, thoughts when they pop up, what do you do with them and why can't you just get rid of them? So back to what I was what I was just saying. I think it is best described in the following metaphor.
[00:03:27] And this metaphor is from the acceptance and commitment therapy for OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder and abbreviated treatment manual, which was put together by an amazing ACT clinician and researcher named Michael Twigg. So this metaphor, and I'm going to read it off of this ACT, abbreviated treatment manual for OCD, but this metaphor is just phenomenal. Here goes. I will play the role of the therapist. You will be the role listener of the client. So suppose I came up to you and I said, I am going to give you three numbers to remember. And it's really important that you remember them, because here's the thing. Several years from now, I'm going to tap you on the shoulder. I'm going to ask, hey, what are those numbers? And if you can answer me correctly, I will give you one million dollars. So remember, this is incredibly important. So if you can answer, I won't give you a million dollars. So remember, do not forget these things because these three numbers I'm about to give you are worth a million dollars. So here they are. Are you ready? One, two, three. That isn't the lead up. Those are the numbers. One, two and three. So what are the numbers and view and the role of client would hopefully respond back one, two, three. So then the to say good, so don't forget them. And if you do, it's going to cost you a lot. So what are they again? And at this point you are apparently if I'm following the script, you give it a little chuckle, a laugh, and you say still the numbers are one, two and three.
[00:04:42] I say super. Do you think you'll be able to remember them? And you would then say, I suppose so. If I really believed that you would give me a million dollars and I say, then, believe me, a million dollars. So what are the numbers? And you say one, two and three. So then I say right now, if you really did believe me, and this is the part in the metaphor where I'm supposed to let you know, unfortunately, I really am not going to give you a million dollars. So when I see you down the road and give you these numbers, but so, yes, I lied, but it's quite likely that you might remember these silly numbers for a very long time to which you would say, sure, and then I'm going to chime in and say, but isn't that kind of ridiculous? I mean, just because some therapist wants to make a point now, you may go around honestly for the rest of your life, remembering the numbers one, two and three in correlation with this concept that I might tap you on the shoulder and give you a million dollars that can be stuck in your head. Now, honestly, for the rest of your life, just like this Terence Trent D'Arby version of Who's Loving You popped up in my mind.
[00:05:30] So for no reason has anything to do with you. Just an accident, really. The luck of the draw, the fact that you if you're in my office, you have me as a therapist. If you happen to be listening to this podcast that the next thing you know, you're going to have these numbers rolling around in your head for who knows how long. So what are the numbers again? And I'm sure that you can think of them one, two and three. And so now I say, OK, once they're in your head, they aren't leaving. Here comes the fascinating part. Our nervous system works by addition, not by subtraction. So once stuff goes in, it is in. So then then I say, check this out. What if I say to you that it is very important that you have the experience that the numbers are not one, two and three? OK, so I am going to ask you about I want you to give me three more numbers, but I want you to answer in a way that absolutely has nothing to do with one, two and three. OK, so now what are what are the numbers? And it's fascinating because I've done this metaphor with so many people in my office and I would say a solid 90 percent or higher immediately, say four or five and six. Now, some people try to overthink it and they give me decimal points or that sort of thing, and that's fine.
[00:06:35] But the point is, if you thought four or five and six or whatever numbers you did, now you're doing great. So then I say, did you do what I asked you? And the client says, I thought four or five and six. And so I said. And then I say, and did that meet the goal that I set? And let me ask it in this way. How do you know that four or five and six is a good answer? And that's where the client says will, because they aren't one, two and three. And I say exactly. So four or five and six still has to do with one, two and three. And I asked you not to make these numbers have anything to do with one, two and three. So let's do it again. Think of anything except one, two and three and make sure that your answer is absolutely unconnected to one, two and three, to which maybe you're thinking this right now. I can't do it. It's impossible. And that's what I say. Me too. It is absolutely impossible. I couldn't do it either. And so the nervous system again works only by addition unless you get a lobotomy or something. So four or five and six is just adding to one, two and three because one, two and three is now in your head and those numbers aren't leaving when you are 80 years old.
[00:07:36] I could probably walk up to you and say, hey, what are those numbers again? And you might actually say one, two and three, simply because I had asked you to remember them however many years earlier. But it isn't just the numbers. One, two and three. That's not it's not some trick or some mind game. You've got all kinds of people telling you all kinds of things. Your mind has been programed by all sorts of experiences. And all of these experiences are just like those numbers one, two and three. So let me give you some examples of things, experiences like where you may feel like you are not enough or you're unlovable or you're broken or you'll never get ahead or you never stick to anything. You've been told so many things by others as well as by yourself that those things are now there. And you can't just remove them as much as we would like to. The brain does not have a delete button. And just for fun, I can't lie. I did a little Google search on that. I want to find some clever quotes or that sort of thing. Actually found someone that it's real. They're trying to develop this ginormous machine that would be able to literally go in and at the Peko meter level and remove thought. And so I had copied a bunch of the data of there. They're talking about a gamma wavelength passes through a pipe with an aperture that small enough to make the beam to be around twenty to fifteen microns and width.
[00:08:49] And then a single neuron in the brain ranges in size from four to one hundred microns. So a group of twenty neurons should be housed inside a cubic area of around 80 microns anyway. So until all of that is figured out, which I don't know when that would happen, you can't just simply get rid of a thought. You can't simply just delete something from your brain. So the fascinating part about this is that. How do you know that your thought that's in your mind isn't just another example of one, two and three, especially those negative thoughts that are in there that you sometimes even notice that these thoughts maybe are in your parents' voices or your spouse's voice or your boss's voice or something that is connected to what people have told you. And if you are nothing more than your reactions and you get some trouble because you didn't choose what they would be, you didn't choose what the thoughts would be, the thoughts just pop up in your head. How many times have you had these completely irrational or irreverent thoughts or they can be inappropriate or violent or any of these kind of thoughts? And how many times to those just pop up in your mind and you immediately react and think, oh, my gosh, what's wrong with me? Why am I thinking when when I go speak sometimes if I'm just chatting with the crowd or getting ready to to start, I will often talk about this thing called inappropriate thought syndrome, which kind of plays on this.
[00:09:59] And what that means is I get people on a regular basis to say to me, hey, I thought this thing and it's crazy, right? I can't believe I just thought that I can't believe. I just thought about turning my steering wheel of my car over a little bit and running into a tree or into oncoming traffic. Or I often talk about how when I stay at a hotel or if I'm up really high, my I get these jelly legs and my heart just rushes and my brain thinks you can totally jump. But for the record, I have never done that. So when you think about this concept of what's called inappropriate thought syndrome, there's three tenets to it. No. One, everybody has these thoughts, be them irrational, irreverent, immoral, violent, ridiculous, silly, wrong thoughts. At the particular time, you often hear the the jokes about people that are at a funeral and they just think something funny and they think, oh, my gosh, what's wrong with me? Your brains just going to do whatever the heck it wants. So no one of inappropriate thought syndrome is we all have these thoughts. They just happen. They just pop up. And number two, tent number two of inappropriate thought syndrome is just because you have the thoughts doesn't mean you are any sort bad, unlovable, broken.
[00:10:58] Anything's wrong with you because most likely you're not going to follow through on them again. I've never jumped. And and boy, I haven't told the story in a long time. But when I first started looking into inappropriate thought syndrome, it was years ago and we would all the kids were at home. We're eating dinner at the table often. And I'm talking about this. And it was funny because my kids chime right in about these little Yorkie dogs and they're like, have you ever thought about just how little their legs are? What could you just break one? And it's funny because as much as I just said, yeah, we all have these thoughts, they're crazy, right? Who knows? But that doesn't mean you're your bad. And my first reaction was, whoa, whoa, that went OK. And I'm like, wow. Yeah, it totally is. And my wife wasn't in on that conversation to begin with. And so there was another time where we were using a melon baller to get watermelon out, I think of a watermelon. And and I think there was something like one of my kids said, when you scoop, this doesn't seem like you're scooping out an eyeball. And I can tell my wife is like, whoa, is everything OK? And I was like, oh, no, no inappropriate thoughts. We all have these thoughts. So again, we all have them.
[00:11:54] Just because you have them doesn't mean you're going to act out on them or that anything's wrong with you. And then the third piece of inappropriate thought syndrome, third tenant is thought suppression doesn't work, which means, of course, it's the old don't think about a white polar bear right now. And you think about a white polar bear and especially don't think about them wearing a green hat. So now I've got my white polar bear and he's wearing a green hat. And so if you try to say, don't think about the thing, then your brain says, what this? And so if you go back to this metaphor, then why it is so brilliant is that we've got two things going on, is that seeing that reactions are just sort of a program than theory that undermines the credibility of engaging in a successful struggle against this undesirable psychological content, because the reactions are these automatic conditioned responses. And so say to yourself, man, I'm bad. It's not inherently any more meaningful than saying the number numbers one, two and three. And so what happens is that you start to look at the fact that a thought is just a thought. And so when we go back to this metaphor again, why I love it so much is that if your thought is I am bad, if that is your numbers one, two and three, then if you tell yourself, OK, I need to stop thinking one, two and three.
[00:13:03] First of all, your brain's going to say, do you mean one, two and three? So you mean you're bad. And so it's almost reinforcing this. I shouldn't be thinking this. And then here's the other fascinating part. So let's say now that you think, OK, when I think I'm bad, I need to think, no, you're actually good. But so and that's a little bit of some of the types of therapy that I used to to work in that world. And I'm not saying that it doesn't have a place, but think about that concept in this metaphor. So if I think when I think one, two, three. Oh, no, I need to think for five and six, then I'm still thinking one, two and three. So if I'm like, man, I'm so bad, I'm bad. I'm a big piece of garbage, I'm horrible and bad only instead of I'm bad. I need to think I'm good. And so it sounds great. But then often and most most often the brain says, okay, you're not fooling anybody. I still think you're bad. And so that's that equivalent to don't think about one, two and three, but come up with three more numbers. So when you come up with four or five and six, it's based on the fact that it's not one, two and three. So what's the solution? So oftentimes when we learn that I'm not bad isn't any more meaningful than the numbers one, two and three, then when you really start to to bring.
[00:14:11] Send your daily life that can start to bring more of a sense of peace and this isn't. So this is the key to this metaphor. It's not that this is intended to make bad thoughts or bad feelings go away, but if done properly, the more that you work off of this metaphor within acceptance and commitment therapy, then it allows people to really exercise the of the ability to recognize a thought or a feeling is simply just that a thought or a feeling, and that any experience of peace is a byproduct of this success, of being able to just recognize. That's a thought. That's a feeling. That's interesting. So the point is to make this kind of experiential contact with the place from where thoughts and feelings and urges come from and that they don't have to be believed or acted upon or run from or any of those things. So when you think of this metaphor, I would love to empower you to be able to notice the different aspects of the experience that, you know, really what what what becomes empowering is the lack of struggle. When you notice the thought, it's just the thoughts. Just one, two and three. Or if you notice that when I think one, two and three, man here I go to four or five and six again, just their thoughts. Notice them and don't when you try to push them away, when you try to say, don't think that it's right there at you, when you try to think when I think that I'm going to think something different, you're still giving some power to that that that thought to begin with.
[00:15:30] So let's go back to the man. I am bad. So again, if you say, OK, I shouldn't be thinking I'm bad. We've got our own psychological reactants in our brain. Our own version of you can't tell me what to do. Our own brain does. That's what thoughts suppression is. When you say don't think I'm bad, our brain says I'll do whatever I want. Matter of fact, you're bad. So it's like it holds this mirror up and says, oh, this thing that you're thinking. So that's like, don't think one, two and three. And then or if I think OK, when I think I'm bad, I need to think, no, I'm good, then I'm still giving power to that I'm bad. I stuff to sit with that reaction of bad I got to think I'm good. So instead what we really want to do is just be able to notice these are just thoughts. Oh I'm noticing the thought of I'm bad. It's just a thought. I'm noticing the feeling of feeling bad. Isn't that fascinating? And then what do you do? And here's one of the most powerful things of act. I can get people to do that that acceptance piece of like, OK, I need to accept that I'm feeling bad.
[00:16:24] I'm not a broken person. I'm feeling this way because of all the experiences that I've been through in my life that have led me to this very moment. Let's say that I have to make a tough decision and I have to pick one person over another for something, a job, a team or any of those sort of things. So I feel bad. So in that scenario, yeah, you're human. So you feel the way you feel because you're human. If you are a person who has program with a fair amount of empathy, then you're going to feel bad. If you're somebody who just feels like this is all about winning a game, you may not feel bad. And neither one of those is inherently the wrong thing to do. It's just the thing that you're doing based on who you are. So we go back to the scenario of where, OK, I feel bad for choose one person over the other, hey, you're human. And so but if you say, man, I shouldn't. I need to not feel bad. You're like, oh, you feel bad. Or if you're like no instead of feeling bad and you feel good and that might give you a little burst. You know, I can do this. And you look at the two people that you have to choose between, you're like, Oh man, I feel bad. So what do you do? So in that scenario, you recognize the thought.
[00:17:22] You acknowledge the thought. That's a thought. I have lots of thoughts, have lots of feelings. I have lots of emotions. I'm human. But now what am I going to do? What am I going to take action on? So at that point, instead of trying to push away a thought, change of thought, you acknowledge the thought. You recognize the thought, you make room for the thought. You don't try to push it away. You invite that thought to come along with you while you choose somebody for the team. And so you can invite those feelings to come along with you. It's the process of trying to push them away or the process of trying to just change them, to just magically change them. That's the part that I get into my office on a daily basis of what's wrong with me. Why can't I stop thinking this thing? Well, because you're human or why don't I believe the story that when I feel a certain way, then I just tell myself no. Or it could be this other situation. Why am I not buying it? Well, because you're human. So the key is to be able to recognize the thought, recognize the feeling, recognize the emotion, because you have lots of them every given minute of the day. You have lots of thoughts, feelings and emotions because you're a human being and now point yourself and take action on something of value.
[00:18:23] So the example I had was recently I had someone that when they had a lot of time, free time, and they were in a work situation where they had a lot of free time and I gave them anxiety. And so because they weren't necessarily as engaged in the work that they were doing. So let's go to this example. They've got three hours left in the day. They're working on something that's pretty tedious and they don't even really know exactly what they're supposed to be doing. So that's going to cause anxiety, because they're human. Of course, it's going to cause anxiety, especially for this person. So when they notice that they are feeling anxious. Now, here's the that's the numbers one, two and three. So it's like, oh, wow, one, two and three anxiety. I'm noticing anxiety. So I can't just tell myself, don't think about it. Don't feel anxious because the brain is going to say, oh, you mean this anxiety that you're feeling or that they've tried before. Or to say, OK, when I feel anxious, I need to realize there's a lot of good but a lot of good things in my life now, inherently, that is a wonderful thing to do. But does it what does it do with that anxiety? It gives that person a brief moment where they're like, but you know what? I get my health. I get my strength. I'm in a nice building, so this is good.
[00:19:27] But then they turn right back to the three hours they have and the project that they don't feel engaged with. So instead of trying to push the thoughts away, instead of trying to just change the thought they notice, I am feeling anxious. I'm noticing that. And so the key at this point then, is to now make a pivot turn toward a Value-Based Goal or activity. So in this scenario, we identified that this person has a value of knowledge. So even if they are not doing something that has to do with that project that they're supposed to be working on in that very moment for work, but if they are going to find themselves caught up in anxiety and emotions and feelings and not being productive and not only not being productive, but feeling worse about themselves than when they recognize those thoughts, feelings and emotions acknowledge them, don't try to push them away. Don't try to change them, make room for them, and now turn to a Value-Based Goal of knowledge. So in this scenario, this person actually then turns toward the Internet and they started Google more about, in a broad sense, the document that they were supposed to be working on. They wanted to get as much data as they could about what is it that I'm even working with? What is it this company even really does? What is it about the big picture of what I'm trying to do? And so their brain said, yeah, but you're supposed to be working on this document.
[00:20:40] And so it was trying to hook them back to, hey, you need to deal with this right now. And they were able to acknowledge, OK, I see what you're doing, Brain. I appreciate it. It's a good it's a good thought, but that hasn't worked for me. Go back to the metaphor of a few episodes ago where it's like they're in the bottom of this hole and the only tool they have is a shovel. So in that scenario, they're like, I just got a I just got to sit here and pound this out. I just got to focus. That's like picking up their shovel and trying to dig more, finding themselves deeper in the hole. Maybe they don't have the right tool. Shovel shovels, a great tool for digging holes, but they're in a hole. They need to get out of the hole. They need a ladder. And so in that scenario, the ladder is turning towards some Value-Based Goal or activity. So the ladder is using this. I'm going to turn toward my value of knowledge or curiosity, and I'm going to learn more about something because that's going to raise my baseline. I'm going to feel better about myself. I didn't tell the thoughts to go away. I didn't try to change the thoughts. I invited them to come along with me and they're right there. They're a little bit annoying buzzing in the background.
[00:21:34] But then as I feel like I understand more and I gain my value of knowledge now, I can oftentimes turn back toward whatever the task is in front of me. And I can look at it from a different angle, because if I just continue to try to sit there and power through it, then that's the part where I'm just digging myself deeper into a hole. So this is why it is so important to recognize things that matter to you, things that are important to you, find value based goals, find value based activities, find your values. What does matter to you? And I think I might have talked about this on a previous episode. I'm putting together one of all the things I learned going to Disneyland a few weeks ago, all the therapist, Linn's things from going to Disneyland. But one of them that I recognized with this metaphor in mind was I do have a very strong value of curiosity, knowledge, information. And so when we would be in a line and I'm going to be very open and honest here, but if if we weren't all talking, it was my daughter, my niece, my wife and I. And if we weren't just talking, I would start to feel like pressure and feeling noticing. I feel like I need to carry the conversation. Or if everybody isn't engaged and laughing, then they aren't having fun. So I would notice that I didn't try to stop thinking that I didn't try to push it away.
[00:22:41] But instead then I just, I reckon, kind of got myself present centered and I turned toward a Value-Based Goal of connection or knowledge. And I found myself Googling whatever I could about whatever the ride was, the history of the ride, the park attendance, any of those things to then bring up conversation. And then we were locked in. Then it was, hey, tell me about your experience. Tell me more. What do you think about. And then I feel like that really scratch this itch or this value of connection or value of knowledge. So I would love for you to be able to really find what those values are, find whatever your values are. If you have a value of curiosity, evaluate adventure, a value of connection, a value of compassion, a value of fun, a value of humor, then make sure that you are working those values into whatever your environment is. And if it's not, can you turn toward value based goals or value based active? One of the fun things when I help people identify values is that value of adventure. I find that a lot of people had a value of adventure and curiosity as a kid, and then they feel like now that I'm an adult, I shouldn't have that. No one nobody likes to be shown on, especially our own brains. If you tell your own brain you shouldn't care about adventure, you need to just buckle down.
[00:23:44] And an adult. Well, says who? So if you have this value of adventure, then work adventure into your day, work adventure into your. I've had people, one of them some corporate training people that then if they if you have a strong leader who has a value of adventure or value of fun, then they work in things like one had a one of those mystery murder boxes that they would solve it as a group. So they always had this shared experience that they were talking about or they would have once a month. They would all. Go out together at the office I'm in here, they will often shoot me a text on Friday at noon and say, hey, we're all going out to to lunch. So can you make sure you lock up at the end of the day? Bunch of attorneys that do that. So it's just fascinating that if you if you can work your values into your current situation or if you're in a position to make a big change in your life, make sure that you're moving toward value based activities or value based goals. And this is where I feel like my biggest value of all values is being authentic. And that has been something that's been a long journey to be authentic, to be differentiated, to be interdependent, to show up and really state my feelings, my opinions, my what really matters to me, even if I risk invalidation.
[00:24:51] So if I say something now that I like a particular movie or I believe a particular thing, whether it's politics, religion, pop culture, you name it, to be able to be ready for, braced for, make room for invalidation, if somebody says, oh, wow, I didn't know you thought that and said, well, sort of fallen back on these old anxious attachment patterns and say, oh, no, I totally do think that. And guess what? If I change my mind, totally OK to because I am an adult and adults are welcome to change their mind as they experience more things throughout their lives. So going off on a little bit of a tangent at that point, but I hope that you can see where I was going today. The brain, bless its heart, does not have a delete button, at least for now. And until it does, then just recognize thoughts are just thoughts. And again, I understand because I used to be a very practicing therapist of the model that thoughts lead to emotion and emotion leads to behavior. And again, that's this mechanistic view of the brain where. So then if you just change a thought, then all the other cogs and pieces fall into place. So if you have this negative thought, which leads to a negative emotion, which leads to a negative behavior, the thought is that if I just change the thought and now say, wait, no, or I might feel happy that it's supposed to lead to a happy emotion and a happy behavior.
[00:26:04] But the brain isn't the machine. The brain is a very complicated thing that consists of all of your thoughts, experiences, nature, nurture, birth, order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, hopes, fears, dreams, all the things that make you so. It isn't just as simple as replacing one thing and then watching the rest of the pieces fall in order. I wish it was I don't wish it was that simple because it's amazing to be able to have different thoughts, emotions and have different relationships with words and experiences and all the things that make me uniquely me that make you uniquely you. I remember one of the first ACT trainings I went to and I'll wrap this up. The person said, Hey, how many of you have been taught that your thoughts, your emotions, your emotions need your behaviors? And most all of us were like, yeah, I've heard that. It's OK, I want you to put your hands in your lap. And you said, so think about raising your hand. That's the thought. And that leads to an emotion of right now you're going like, well, should I raise my hand? Or and so that should lead to a behavior of raising your hand. You said you're not raising your hand, are you? So it's not that mechanistic. It's not that linear. It's not that that much of a fact that a thought is going to lead to an action.
[00:27:07] It's not a thought is just a thought. A feeling is just a feeling and emotion is just an emotion. And being able to recognize them is a very powerful tool. And then it's what you do next. What action do you take? You can recognize thoughts, feelings and emotions all day long, but then what action do you take? And if you are taking action on a value based goal or a value based activity, now you're moving the ball forward. If you're simply distracting yourself when you get done with your distraction, then you're still going to be back in that same environment. So back to Michael Twigg, who is the one that I quoted the metaphor on today. I heard him on a podcast. The OCD diary is talking about ACT and OCD. And I need to get this quote from him. I just jotted it down to my notes. So this is not the exact quote. But he said something to the effect of eighty percent of life is about trying to manage emotions, not trying to live this good, purpose filled, value based life. And he said the goal and act is to switch things to eighty percent of your life is living your best because we have all these thoughts and emotions and feelings all the time. But again, that doesn't mean that we're going to take action on him. I think he had talked about that. People often worry about harming their kid and but they don't.
[00:28:15] But they'll be so in fear of harming their kid that then they don't do the things that would really help them feel alive. And so he said thoughts just happened, make room for them, live your life the way you choose to live your life, even if your internal dialog is screaming. And so he had talked about twenty years and he still speaks all the time. And I and this so resonated with me before I speak, before I record a podcast, before I do this today, I still feel a little bit of anxiety. I noticed it. I acknowledge it. I don't try to push it away. I don't even spend much time with it anymore. I just say, there it is. There you are. Anxiety, come on along. But to record a podcast. So I hope that you're able to take from this metaphor thoughts are just thoughts, emotions or just emotions, feelings or feelings. There they are. And now move towards some value based activity. And that's when you're really going to see that you're taking more control of what you get out of your life, what you do with your life, what you put into your life, and not just sitting there being reactionary because those thoughts are going to come out of nowhere. They really are. So I hope you have an amazing week. Taking us out, as per usual, is the wonderful the talented Aurora Florence with her song, It's Wonderful.