Our ability to be flexible, curious, and open in a world that is rapidly changing is probably the most empowering thing we can do for ourselves right now.
All of us have experienced the anxiety, pain, and wretchedly impotent feeling of being stuck in a rigid mindset and churning emotions with no way of extricating ourselves.
Inflexibility manifests in all aspects of our being:
Flexibility is the ability to recognize and regulate one’s emotions and thoughts (and body) in different environments. Essentially this means being adaptable and knowing the best way to manage different aspects of our being in different settings.
We don’t live in cocoons, so being aware of how we portray ourselves to others in body, mind, and emotions is vital to our overall success. A strong predictor of a sense of well-being and mental health is knowing how and when to adapt our thoughts, feelings, and behavior to changing conditions.
We begin by priming the mind for this change. Being convinced of the value in being flexible will help you commit and persevere; this in itself will begin to decrease anxiety and depression. Prepare the mind by increasing awareness of your thoughts and emotions.
Mindfulness for Growing Flexibility
A powerful way to increase awareness of our inner and outer worlds is with mindfulness practices.
They grow our presence to notice what’s happening. We train ourselves to be accepting as situations unfold and to avoid reacting. For example we notice when we are becoming judgmental of ourselves and others, and rather than reactively suppressing the judgmental thoughts and emotions, we observe ourselves and the environment. If the situation is very anxiety provoking, then we can shift our awareness away from the thoughts and emotions and to our breathing. These practices can easily fit into our daily routines and can be done on the spot.
Clarifying the concept of acceptance: when we become aware of uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and emotions, we welcome them and do not ignore them. We explore them with interest, so we can better understand them. Acceptance is not judging our feelings, thoughts, and emotions as pleasant or horrible.
To live with greater ease, we develop a strong awareness of life’s constant change. Knowing that things are impermanent creates space for us to open up to difficult feelings and situations because we know they won’t last forever. This understanding also helps us see that we don’t always have to act for things to change.
The more we practice awareness, acceptance, and allowing, the more flexible our mind and body become. The more fluid and relaxed our mind and body are, the more pleasant our personal, work, and social life.
Test your overall suppleness:
Growing your Pliancy. Try out these suggestions:
Choose the techniques that work best for you, or research other ways to empower yourself by increasing psychological flexibility.
May your newfound mind-body pliancy bring you peace.