January 10, 2023

11 Golden Insights from Jonah Hill’s Therapist.

I love when someone who has extraordinary means and access shares “the good stuff” with the rest of us: the everyday people.

And Jonah Hill does this—so graciously—in the form of gifting us the documentary “Stutz” on Netflix.

Co-produced with Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, Hill shares with us how he bettered his mental health and radically changed his life for the better. He passes along the understanding that we all need to improve our emotional well-being.

Hill vulnerably shares that he believed if he achieved some level of professional success, all his insecurities and problems would magically disappear. Yet he discovered that no amount of money, fame, or clout freed him from excruciating anxiety, depression, pain, or feelings of low self-worth. His outer success had little impact on his inner world.

His mental health declined even as his fame skyrocketed.

No one, even the rich or famous, is immune to emotional adversity.

“Stutz” is a tribute to Hill’s relationship with Dr. Phil Stutz, an acclaimed psychiatrist and the co-author of The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity.

Stutz applies a non-traditional therapeutic approach in his practice. Rather than slowly and methodically delving into his patients’ childhoods, like conventional psychological models, he offers solutions and immediate help.

Stutz’s focus on practical and accessible tools to help his patients control their symptoms, such as panic, negativity, and avoidance, led to five tools developed through his research, lived experiences, and extensive knowledge of inter-connectedness.

In his book, Stutz explains that his patients needed the power to fight back. He says, “Theories and explanations couldn’t give them that kind of power, they needed forces they could feel.”

Together in the documentaryStutz and Hill teach us how to access untouched, universal, and personal potential, which they credit for making significant and lasting behavior changes. By engaging with Stutz’s tools as an everyday practice, we can take advantage of the higher forces that align with each tool.

I am always looking for methods to merge my mind and spirit as one. Over the last few weeks, I have applied Stutz’s framework to my own life. I’m happy to share that I can sense the forces, described by Stutz and co-author Barry Michels, whenever I apply the tools. There’s an overwhelming sensation of calm that arises in both my mind and body when the visualizations are performed.

Although I’ve only just begun this practice, I’m already experiencing beneficial shifts in perspective, increased energy, and peace of mind.

There is so much wisdom to be taken from Hill’s documentary, as well as from Stutz and Michels’s book, but these are the 11 golden insights that have resonated the most with me:

1. “The higher force that drives all of life expresses itself in relentless forward motion. The only way to connect to this force is to be in forward motion yourself. But, to do that you must face pain and be able to move past it.”

2. “Whatever your comfort zone consists of, you pay a huge price for it. Life provides endless possibilities, but along with them comes pain. If you can’t tolerate pain, you can’t be fully alive.”

3. “The comfort zone is supposed to keep your life safe, but what it really does is keep your life small.”

4. Stutz and Michels refer to “the maze” as the place in our minds where we are taken over by feelings of revenge, resentment, or feeling “wronged.” It is termed the maze because the deeper we go into it the harder it is for us to get out. The maze is damaging to all our relationships, most of all, to our relationship with ourselves.

5. We become stuck in the maze because of our “universal human expectation that the world will treat us fairly.” It is difficult for us to give up our childhood expectations of fairness. “It is only when we experience something bigger, better, and more powerful than fairness that we stop waiting for it.”

The antidote to getting out of “the maze” is tapping into love in its purest form, which they call outflow. “Outflow is the infinite, spiritual force that gives of itself without restraint.” This is a beautiful two-minute meditation where we bond with and send love to those who hurt us. After the visualization we become showered in pure love and light.

6. Everyone has a shadow side of themselves. This is the shameful, awkward version of ourselves that we tuck away and hide. “It is everything we don’t want to be, but fear we are, represented in a single image.” When we learn to accept and work with our shadows we harness an energy, a sensation of wholeness. This acceptance gives us the power of self-expression and inner authority.

7. Gratitude is a higher force in and of itself. It is not just a perception or emotion. Gratefulness as a daily practice (the tool: The Grateful Flow) will connect us to this higher force, which is all-powerful and breaks through much of our “black cloud” thinking. The Grateful Flow is used to interrupt a habitual, negative thought pattern.

8. We must learn to “feel it” for ourselves before we can make a behavior change. No amount of thinking can do this for us. Thinking, typically, will exacerbate our problems. Feeling it creates momentum.

9. Inner strength comes only to those who move forward in the face of adversity.”

10. “Courage is the ability to act in the face of fear.”

11. Spiritual maturity is the understanding that there’s a fundamental difference between the goals we have for ourselves and the ones the universe has for us.

Thank you, Jonah Hill, for bearing your soul and sharing your mental health struggles with the world. I am one of many who have benefited.

And today, “Stutz,” the documentary, and the works of Stutz and Michels are included in my Grateful Flow practice.

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