Up to week seven already, and I hope you are noticing some changes, particularly if you have stuck with the physical challenge outlined in week one.
This week we look at flexibility.
You will benefit from concentrating in this area if you rated the statements like this in the survey with Strongly Disagree, Disagree or Neutral.
I usually manage one way or another
I feel that I can handle many things at one time
I can usually look at situations in a number of ways
Even if I don’t agree with them, I can often see things from another’s point of view.
In the sense of being resilient, flexibility is mostly seen as being applicable around adapting our thinking to new situations.
You will notice that we can be flexible both around situations and around people. Being flexible is important because change happens constantly, and an inflexible attitude towards change can mean that we get stuck in how it should be rather than how it is. Similarly, we can be constantly wanting people to be something different from what they are.
We don’t always want change to happen- indeed we will often tolerate a high level of discomfort in a ‘known’ situation rather than instigating or cooperating with a ‘change’ situation.
To be successful, however, we need to adopt a different mindset, one that accepts change (perhaps use your acceptance affirmation from a couple of newsletters ago here) or one that even sees change as a challenge. As resilience researcher Maddi says, we don’t need to ‘jump for joy’ that our lives have changed, but we do need to accept that and get on with it.
The good news is that generally, we are a very adaptive species. Whatever disruptions occur, whether they be positive like winning the lotto or negative, like losing our business, we tend to adapt to them. Sometimes this can take a bit of time, so we need to be patient with ourselves in the meanwhile.
The other good news is that we can become more adaptive in our thinking. We can do this through practicing, making small changes, getting used to that and making more changes.
Exercise: Do something different: Practice your cognitive flexibility by doing something differently. Although routine is fabulous, playing with parts of it now and then can keep our minds more flexible.
Exercise: Re-frame the situation: When facing a change that brings up negative feelings for you, re-assess. Is this really negative? What good can come out of it?
Exercise: Travel. Go on, why not? Traveling is probably one of the best ways I know if exposing yourself to many challenging situations and having to adapt to them- especially when facing a new language or not knowing the culture.
Exercise: Zero in on key words: Focus on the amount of times you use words like “Never” “Always” and “Can’t”. Soften them to “Rarely” or “Sometimes” or “Choose not to” and see if you can get out of the rigid framework that our language can sometimes impose.
Keep it up!
Take care and stay steadfast…
Ingrid and the team.