The Role of Self-Acceptance for Good Mental Health

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

There are many positive mental health outcomes associated with acceptance. Being able to accept life’s curveballs helps us lead emotionally healthier and psychologically better lives. So why is it so difficult for us to be more accepting? And is acceptance like a muscle, where we can train ourselves to be better and stronger?

Audience Questions

Dr. Lisa Coyne discusses the importance of self-acceptance for better mental health and answers audience questions on how we can be more accepting of ourselves, each other, and our daily lives.

  • What does acceptance look like in people? What is the positive impact of acceptance on mental health?
  • What does compacting thoughts and compartmentalizing do to our mental function and mental health over time?
  • When it comes to freeing up headspace and clearing our mind—is this possible? Is it a myth? And how can we clear our heads?
  • How do we get better about sitting in discomfort?
  • Please talk to us about “radical acceptance.” What is it? How can we start to do more of it?
  • How important is it to name emotions as they come up vs. just letting yourself feeling them?
  • How can we get better with dealing with our emotions over things we can control vs. those things that we cannot?
  • Does the attempt to change thoughts to something more positive (cognitive reconstruction), as recommended by CBT, not work? Or is this something we should be practicing in tandem with acceptance?
  • I think that when we don’t accept parts of ourselves, we may tend to set unrealistic expectations. What is the relationship of acceptance and setting expectations?
  • As clinicians, how do we help encourage teenage patients to try healthy ways to cope with negative feelings rather than turning to substances?
  • Is there any way for us to be conscientious of when we’re becoming more avoidant than accepting, and how can we pull ourselves out of those patterns of avoidance?
  • How can we tell if we’re dealing with avoidance symptoms or burnout symptoms, especially if they’re so similar?
  • Do you have any advice for folks who are caretakers, whether it’s someone older or younger than them, or both? So many are so overwhelmed with having to take care of others that caring for yourself seems impossible.

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


Dr. Coyne mentioned this helpful information during the session:

About Dr. Coyne

Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, part-time, at Harvard Medical School, and is a senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI Jr.) at McLean Hospital.

Dr. Coyne has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting. She is the author of “The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years,” a book for parents of young children.

Recent books by Dr. Coyne:

Learn more about Dr. Coyne.

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