Being Psychologically Flexible
One of the most important principles we use in therapy can be summed up in this one idea – Flexibility.
If you can be flexible in your
- thinking (but you’ll need to know exactly what thinking is),
- feeling (ditto) and
then you are adaptive and bendy.
When the storm comes and life throws awful stuff at you, you’ll bend but you won’t break.
We could devote hours to discussing flexibility and the interventions we use to make it work, but let’s just take a quick look at Flexibility in three areas.
You are flexible in your thinking if:
- You can notice and separate or detach from repetitive thinking that is negative and unhelpful
- You can experience thinking without getting tied up in the meanings
- You can, when you need to, move away from that thinking and shift back into the real world (with focus and attention)
You are flexible in your feelings if:
- You can allow painful and uncomfortable feelings to be with you rather than fighting or reacting to them
- You can engage with others around you – even when it doesn’t feel comfortable
- You can label your feelings and let them be
You are flexible in your behaviour if:
- You can redirect it when you feel dragged into behaviours that are old or unhelpful
- You are clear in your values (you know what you stand for in life)
- You consistently commit to behaviours that take you closer to your values, even when it’s difficult to do this
Next time you feel stuck – see if you can stop and find a flexible move.