Psychological Flexibility? You’ve likely heard of flexibility, and chances are when you think of the term you think of the body – as in, when you bend forward, can you touch your toes, your knees, or your thighs? (I’m working toward the goal of consistently reaching my knees.) We Both our bodies and minds can be flexible. Psychological flexibility directly impacts the life we live and our sense of wellbeing.
What is Psychological Flexibility?
Psychological flexibility comes to us largely from the field of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT — said like the word). ACT is researched-based approach to mental health that puts people in charge of their lives. It gives people tools to create their own version of a quality life. Like physical flexibility, mental flexibility improves how we feel, how we move, and how we live our lives.
We can use the benefits of physical flexibility to increase our understanding of psychological flexibility. Here’s an infographic look at how flexibility boosts our wellbeing.
Why Being Mentally Bendable is Good for Us
When we have psychological flexibility, our mental health and wellbeing improve dramatically. This ability to bend and flow with what life brings doesn’t erase our problems and challenges. Problems are part of our lives. When we struggle with them, fighting against them, we make them stronger. They hold us tighter and tighter, and our ability to move and live fully becomes increasingly restricted. Mental flexibility allows us to stop struggling and start moving freely.
When we can be flexible about how we feel, think, and behave, we can adapt to all situations, even the most challenging. Instead of fusing and then fighting with the painful realities of our lives, we can take action to make our lives meaningful and purposeful, no matter what else is going on.” —Break Free, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 Steps
When we’re flexible, we’re not rigid. We’re not stuck in patterns of struggle. To be flexible is to be pliable. According Merriam-Webster, when we’re pliable, we’re “supple enough to bend freely or repeatedly without breaking.” That is the essence of mental health and wellbeing.
Discover a way to become more psychological flexible and create wellbeing: Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 Steps
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Peterson, T.J. (2016). Break free: Acceptance and commitment therapy in 3 steps. Berkeley, CA: Althea Press.
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Therien, S. (2015, June 02). What are the benefits of good flexibility? http://www.livestrong.com/article/332519-what-are-the-benefits-of-good-flexibility/
What is psychological flexibility? (2013, May 10). https://workingwithact.com/what-is-act/what-is-psychological-flexibility/