Psychological and emotional flexibility are consistently mentioned in resilience, emotion regulation and stress management research findings. The ability to implement plans B-Z beautifully illustrates the benefits of psychological and emotional flexibility. It is crucial to your physical and mental health. Seriously, this is an important yoga move! Start bending!
Wondering Where Your Motivation Went?!?
Motivation can be completely derailed when you feel/think that you have run out of options. You have tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING works. Well, from my experience there is ALWAYS another way of seeing something, doing something or experiencing something. Curious how to start learning how to be more psychologically and emotionally flexible?!?
Sure your are!
…or you can choose to stay stuck in a painful yoga position that makes your butt numb 😉
Psychological Flexibility is defined as “the ability to contact the present moment more fully as a conscious human being and to change, or persist in, behavior when doing so serves valued ends” (Biglan, Hayes, & Pistorello, 2008). What these researchers mean by ‘contacting the present more fully’ is being aware of, and in, the curent moment; what you feel, what is happening, not the past or future, but now. Once you are there, using this awareness, to creatively brainstorm alternate solutions, methods, strategies and shift the plan. You can even persist in the face of adversity along the original planned path if that is working for you.
Emotional flexibility is super important because so many people get stuck in the Emotional Reasoning loop, thinking that “I feel like such a failure, so I must be”. Applying a bit of flexibility here enables people to experience and notice the full range of emotion, like happiness, sadness, shame or anger, but have the ability act on the emotion in a helpful way (challenge the feeling and ask if it is really true) and then leave that emotional experience balanced when it is time to move on.
When you become more flexible, you can start to choose your responses rather than automatically responding to a situation.
Psychological Flexibility + Emotional Flexibility = Flexible Methods
Be the scientist observing your mind. Be curious.
- Develop a Curious Mindset: A curious mindset allows you to observe your negative reactions without judgment and see what you can learn from them. Curiosity engages your sense of logic and inhibits emotional “gut” reactions, allowing you to learn from these situations and identify intelligent next steps that lead you towards your goals.
- Flexible Plans: If your plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal (unless the goal is not yours to begin with). It is all in how you choose to respond. Have your pity party and then make a new plan and move on 😉
- Create Opportunity: Milton Berle said it best, “If opportunity does not knock, build a door”. This blog would not exist if I did not create my own opportunity and built this super fun door for myself. I love this door 🙂
- Accept the Work: It is a fact that ‘dreams don’t work unless you do’ and really, come on! STOP wishing for it and start working for what you want. #MakeGoodThingsHappen
- Lean in: Go out of your way to learn something new, break out of routines and try doing something differently. Develop a few new neural pathways along the way 🙂 #LeanIn.
- Find Inspiration: There is a big ol’ digital world out there. You should check it out! Find videos, personal motivation stories, suggested tips n’strategies (#LifeHack) and quotes that inspire you. Here is a video that I think you should watch today. It really shows the power of developing a mantra that motivates: #PushThrough
- Treat Your Brain Like a Video Game: practice makes permanent, take on life challenges/quests as learning opportunities, try new tools/weapons to make you stronger (check out my previous blog posts) and see this all as a journey. It is all about learning what you are capable of and building your character strength. The following are some links to tools that can help you to “level up” in your life game:
- Stress Management
- Procrastination. Sigh. Nuff Said.
- Still Procrastinating? Oh Yeah! Well Let’s Grow a “Kick Butt” Mindset!
- Procrastinating? Since You are Already Down That Rabbit Hole
- Is Anxiety Stopping You from Getting Stuff Done?
- Procrastination: Dealing with Setbacks
- Procrastination: Run After that Little Time Thief and Tackle it!
Motivation Activity for the Day
Grab some sticky notes and start gathering moments in your life where you had to push through, dust yourself off and then try again or made it through something really hard. Write Mindset Moments in the middle and start collecting these personal strength events on sticky notes. This create a great visual reminder your power and strength in the face of adversity.
The following are some writing prompts to get you started:
When I learned…
When I did…
When I overcame…
When I developed the skill to…
When I pushed through and….
Happy Flexible Friday!
Dr. Heather Drummond, C.Psych.
Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * A Human Muddling Through