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Toxic Striving

Why Hustle & Wellness Culture are Leaving us Anxious, Stressed & Burned Out - & How to Break Free

Coming November 1, 2024 
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Reconnect with what matters, reclaim your mental health, and live by your own rules.

Do you strive to have the perfect body, the perfect relationship, the perfect diet and wardrobe, the perfect job, and the perfect life? Have you worked tirelessly at your job—even during illness—so that you can further your career? Do you feel like no matter what, you’ll never be as smart, as attractive, or as rich as you’d like? If so, you are far from alone. External influences like social media, wellness culture, and hustle culture pressure us to strive toward unrealistic goals that leave us feeling anxious, burned out, and like we’re never enough. Isn’t it time we say, enough? 

In this groundbreaking book, clinical psychologist Paula Freedman offers a clear path to help you move beyond toxic striving—the relentless pursuit of perfection, societal ideals, and external validation at the expense of your physical, mental, and emotional health—and instead turn inward for guidance. Using a combination of evidence-based tools and strategies grounded in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and intuitive eating, you’ll gain the insight needed to reconnect with your true values, reclaim your physical and mental health, develop unwavering self-compassion and confidence, and live by your own rules. 

You’ll also find profound and practical guidance to: 

  • Identify how and when you stopped trusting your own mind, body, and emotions—and started living according to society’s standards 

  • Set goals that align with your personal values—instead of society’s expectations 

  • Develop skills to defuse from restrictive and self-punishing thoughts, so you can be kinder to yourself 

  • Learn how to be an observer of your emotions—rather than letting them control you 

  • Stop beating yourself up for gaining weight, and view yourself and your body as more than just the perfect selfie 

  • Set effective boundaries with anyone who makes you feel ashamed of yourself for how you look, how much you get done in your day, or anything else!


Pre-Order Toxic Striving 

About the Author

Paula Freedman-Diamond, Psyd

I am a clinical psychologist and writer specializing in anxiety disorders, addiction, and eating disorders. My life experience as a Recovering Perfectionist informs much of my work, helping people who struggle with all sorts of compulsive and impulsive behaviors. I am a member of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, the professional organization for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I currently work in private practice in Chicago, Illinois, where I provide therapy for adults, supervise doctoral students, test and diagnose for ADHD and learning disabilities, and give workshops on a variety of topics.

My passion is helping clients and readers to connect with their inner wisdom and live rewarding lives. My blog ( and my Instagram account (@mindful.drpaula) are designed to educate, share research, and provide food for thought on the topics of anxiety, trauma, addiction, eating disorders, perfectionism, and feminism.

I love to write about mental health, social justice, and various human commonalities. I've always expressed myself best in writing; I began keeping journals and writing short stories and poetry as soon as I learned to form letters. Ironically, despite my love affair with words, the psychological theory that I most align with (ACT) is rooted in awareness that language is limited and that labeling our experiences can actually amplify human suffering. I've decided to embrace this irony. I love language for all that it provides us humans, but I also accept that our capacity for language can harm us if we aren't paying attention.


I live in Chicago and love exploring the city and going camping with my husband.

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