193. Heal Unhealthy Striving with Diana and Yael

Throughout the past year, many of us have redefined what it means to “work hard” or “strive” in our own lives. The pandemic and the accompanying social distancing mandates have challenged us to work and live much differently than ever before. For many, this has meant striving more than ever to simultaneously be the perfect employee, parent, partner, or etc. Though striving can often be healthy, many times we engage in unhealthy striving that can leave us feeling exhausted and chronically burnt out. In this episode of Psychologists Off the Clock, Yael and Diana, co-author with Debbie of ACT Daily Journal, discuss healthy and unhealthy striving. They explain the neuroscience behind this behavior and provide some practical advice for noticing and changing unhealthy striving in your life. Reconnect with your values and take the first step toward healthy striving by listening to this episode right now!

Listen and Learn:

  • Why exploring healthy vs unhealthy components of striving is important to Yael and Diana 
  • How Diana and Yael started exploring the topic of striving
  • The signs and symptoms of unhealthy vs. healthy striving 
  • The neuroscience behind striving
  • Some examples of what healthy striving might look like in your life
  • Diana’s expert definition of effortless action and what it means to embody a balance of effort and surrender
  • Practical advice for moving from competition to collaboration
  • What the striving cycle looks like as a process in many different domains of life
  • How values clarification can help break your striving cycle and orient you towards healthier striving
  • A few red flags that might indicate unhealthy striving patterns (and some resources for when you notice them)
  • Engage in an experiential exercise with Diana and Yael, and start breaking your pattern of unhealthy striving today! 


About Diana and Yael:

Headshot of Dr. Diana Hill
Dr. Diana Hill

Dr. Diana Hill specializes in evidence-based and compassion-focused approaches to living well. She helps her clients build a values-rich life and unpacks the science of ACT through the cutting-edge podcast Psychologists Off the Clock, online teachings, and her book ACT Daily Journal: Get Unstuck and Live Fully with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, co-authored with Dr. Debbie Sorensen and coming in May 1, 2021!

Dr. Yael Schonbrun

Dr. Yael Schonbrun is a practicing clinical psychologist and a professor at Brown University. In her clinical practice and in her research, she brings effective treatments to those who are struggling with the transition to parenthood, with relationship problems, depression, anxiety, general unhappiness, substance use, and life stress.

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Join the discussion

  • LOVED the “Heal Unhealthy Striving” Episode!! I find this podcast to be simultaneously informative, enriching, and entertaining in general, and this episode was especially moving. As a grad student I’m always interested in gaining insight from experts in the field, and I think Drs. Diana and Yael truly embodied the content they presented by sharing their unique experiences, challenges, and vulnerabilities so gracefully. This episode added a level of humanity that I genuinely connected with which prompted some much needed self-reflection, particularly about my own challenges with “perfection.” Keep the amazing content coming!

    • Ida, I’m so glad that this episode resonated with you. I hope graduate students can feel supported in striving differently – with compassion and values at the forefront. Even though it’s been over a decade since I was in graduate school, it was very vulnerable for me to share my history publicly in this way. It makes it worth it to step into that discomfort when it helps others like you.

  • I really appreciated the way Diana shared her own struggles on this podcast. A bold move. It makes it so much easier to acknowledge my own maladaptive striving knowing that someone so accomplished has also struggles. I also liked the way you bring out the spiritual dimension of your work as well as the psychology.

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Episode 193