Stuff that Sucks – mental health book review 4

‘Stuff that Sucks. Accepting what you can’t change and committing to what you can’ by Ben Sedley is a book is aimed at young people to try and help them understand feelings and emotions. I wish it had been published 15 years ago when I was a teenager as it really helps you get to grips with your mental health. With words like ‘stuff’, being told to imagine your life was a reality show and some quirky cartoons it’s definitely aimed at adolescents but I think that this book has some wise words and good practices for us all.

Book review of the mental health book 'Stuff that Sucks' by Ben Sedley. Learn how to accept your emotional pain, this too shall pass.

The author of Stuff That Sucks: Accepting what you can’t change and committing to what you can, Ben Sedley is a clinical psychologist who uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy when treating mental health problems. This was a new type of therapy to me. It seems to be similar to mindfulness and encourages you to practice acceptance and empowers you to commit to your chosen action. The book includes exercises to help you to find your values and to ground yourself. It encourages you to practice mindfulness and to focus on your senses – what you can see, smell, feel, taste and hear. Smedley writes that ‘Connecting to your senses can help you feel more grounded and possibly even stronger or more ready to deal with stuff around you.’

Stuff That Sucks: Accepting what you can’t change and committing to what you can presents some really accurate descriptions of pain – sadness, worry, anger and shame. It was really interesting to hear about anger being a mask for sadness or worry (something I can definitely relate to) and ultimately leads to shame. Like the film Inside Out this book teaches that sadness has an important role in our lives.

The main thing that I have learnt from this book is that all of these emotions are valid and should be accepted. It is by fighting them that they become worse and powerful. The books tells us that ‘the system’ and by that it means everyone – television, family and friends – tell us to feel the opposite of what we’re actually feeling. By saying ‘Don’t worry’, ‘Smile’ and ‘Cheer Up’ although they mean well people are encouraging us to bury our feelings rather than accepting them and letting them pass.


Trying to fight your emotional pain makes it more powerful. Let the emotion be there. This too shall pass. Stuff that Sucks book review at Milly's Guide


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Let me know what you think

4 thoughts on “Stuff that Sucks – mental health book review

  • beetleypete

    Looks like it has some good advice. As you say, it might be for younger readers, but that might be just at the right time for them, when their conflicting emotions are harder to rationalise.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  • Lulu

    When I read the first few sentences of your review, I thought, “Ooooo! That sounds like ACT!” It’s one of the therapies that’s used a lot in ED treatment, along with CBT and DBT, and it’s been life changing for me. Of course, it’s still a work in progress! To paraphrase one of my worksheets, “Making the decision to accept something doesn’t mean you’re actually accepting it.” (To which my response is, “Gee, how on earth am I supposed to *practice* acceptance, then?”) But, I think I’m gradually getting a bit better at turning my mind again, and again, and again, as many times as it takes. Sort of. Sometimes. Lol. Another book that I really like that goes along with accepting pain and validating all emotions is Christopher Germer’s book about mindful self compassion. He has a website here: If you do check it out, let me know if you like it.

    P.S. Love the site! Looking forward to seeing more! 😀

    • LaurenEph Post author

      Thankyou Lulu! ACT has been completely new to me – but makes sense in that embracing and understanding an emotion means that it won’t last as long. Thankyou for the link – I’ve just had a quick look and there seems to be lots of useful resources so I will look again when I have more time 🙂 Glad you like the site x

      • Lulu

        It is basic in principle but so hard to practice! Fortunately, just a little bit makes a huge difference. I’m always telling myself that I should do a better job of accepting, but then I guess I just have to accept that I feel like I should do a better job of accepting. Lol.