Living with vitality: Mindfulness, meaning, & values


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By Dr. Melissa Ming Foynes. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Robyn Walser, a warm-hearted soul with so much wisdom to share, about ways we can change our relationship to painful life experiences in order to move more freely in our lives. We talk about how living life with vitality, rather than focusing primarily on getting rid of certain symptoms, can help us meet painful emotions like anxiety and grief without shame and self-blame. We also discuss how mindfulness and compassion can help us meet human experiences with acceptance, so that we can still go on to create meaning and value in our lives even with significant stress, trauma, and loss. Importantly, we talk about ways we can not only clarify our own values and distinguish which values are truly ours from those that we've been conditioned to uphold, but also navigate conflicts in values, especially in the context of relationships and the broader systems in which we operate. We end with a brief mindfulness exercise, illustrating one way our joy can help connect us to the core values that matter to us most.

To connect more with Dr. Foynes:

  1. Check out the free 4-part video series on building resilience:

  2. 1:1 Coaching Program:

  3. Follow @drfoynes on Instagram.

About Dr. Robyn Walser: Dr. Robin Walser is the director of TL consultation services ( and co-director of the Bay Area Trauma Recovery Center ( She is also staff at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the Dissemination and Training Division ( She is also a licensed psychologist, and maintains an international training, consulting and therapy practice. She is an expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT, and has co-authored five books on ACT and a sixth book, which has recently been published, called "The Heart of ACT," which she has authored on her own. Some of her other books include ACT for moral injury, ACT for anger (a self-help book soon to be released), as well as a book on Learning ACT. Dr. Walser also has expertise in traumatic stress and substance abuse and has authored a number of articles and chapters and books on these topics. Please see below for a selection of Dr. Walser's incredible books.

My FREE 4-part video series called "The Science & Soul of Building Resilience" can be found here( This series is meant to help you enhance key pillars of resilience that can help us all navigate inevitable life stress with more ease and skill. I chose to focus on these specific pillars of resilience because they can help us address some of the most common struggles I see in my clients – anxiety, self-doubt, lack of direction or sense of self, disconnection from larger meaning & purpose, and self-criticism. Similar to the spirit of this podcast, this series integrates science-backed strategies from psychology with tools from ancient wisdom like yoga and meditation, to present skills over the course of this series that can be used and integrated into daily life. I hope you check it out and please share it with others as you feel inspired.

For more information, tools, and strategies, please follow @drfoynes on Instagram.

References & Additional Resources

  1. Walser, R. D. & O'Connell, M. (2021). The ACT Workbook for Anger: Manage Emotions and Take Back Your Life with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications.

  2. Walser, R. D. (2019). The Heart of ACT: Developing a Flexible, Process-Based, and Client-Centered Practice Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications.

  3. Evans, W. R., Walser, R. D., Drescher, K. D., & Farnsworth, J. K. (2020). The Moral Injury Workbook: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Skills for Moving Beyond Shame, Anger, and Trauma to Reclaim Your Values. New Harbinger Publications.

  4. Nieuwsma, J. A, Walser, R. D., Hayes, S. C. (2016). ACT for Clergy and Pastoral Counselors Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Bridge Psychological and Spiritual Care. New Harbinger Publications.

  5. Walser, R. D., & Westrup, D. (2009). The mindful couple: How acceptance and mindfulness can lead you to the love you want. New Harbinger Publication

  6. Luoma, J. B., Hayes, S. C., & Walser, R. D. (2007). Learning ACT: An acceptance & commitment therapy skills-training manual for therapists. New Harbinger Publications.

  7. Walser, R. D., & Westrup, D. (2007). Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma-related problems: A practitioner's guide to using mindfulness and acceptance strategies. New Harbinger Publications.

Please note that the information provided in this episode does not constitute professional advice or therapy, mental health services, or health care services, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional advice or services. If you are struggling with a mental health crisis or need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

36 episodes