Psychological Flexibility. What It Means and Why It’s Important

Psychological Flexibility. What It Means and Why It’s Important

There are many important constructs in psychology; and many that are important for happiness and living a good life.

But one of THE most important and THE least known is psychological flexibility.

Psychological flexibility is crucial for happiness and good mental health, for resilience and coping in general.

So, if you’d like to learn a bit more then read on …

via Very Well Mind by Kendra Cherry

One definition of psychological flexibility is the capacity for being in contact with the present and acting on long-term goals rather than short-term urges. Being psychologically flexible allows people to adapt to changes in the environment and react in new, creative and healthy ways that align with an individual’s goals and values. This ability also plays a vital role in health and well-being.1

“What psychological flexibility boils down to is staying in the present moment and being open to experiencing whatever thoughts or feelings may arise, and then take action that is aligned with our values,” explains Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine.

In day-to-day life, psychological flexibility allows people to adjust their behaviors and routines to respond effectively to the demands of the situation in ways that serve an individual’s goals and adhere to their core beliefs.

Characteristics of Flexibility

Some key elements of flexibility include:

  • Being present: In order to be flexible, people need to be aware of what is happening in the world around them in the present moment. Instead of thinking about the past or worrying about the future, flexible people are able to center themselves in the here and now. “If we dwell on the past, or focus on the future, we are focusing on things that are out of our control, but also if we react, then we may not be acting, or making decisions based off of our values, beliefs, and goals,” Goldman says.
  • Openness: Flexibility also requires people to be open to new experiences and perspectives. Rather than staying stuck in patterns that are not helpful, being flexible allows people to look at the situation in novel ways and make adjustments as needed.
  • Acceptance: In order to stay psychologically flexible, people need to be willing to tolerate a range of emotions, even those that are not easy. Instead of trying to suppress or avoid these feelings, flexible people are able to accept what they are feeling, acknowledge their emotions, and look for ways to make meaning and grow from what they have learned.

Goldman also suggests that pausing before responding is important for psychological flexibility. “If we take that moment to pause, we can then properly assess a situation, remind ourselves to be present, what is in our control, and then make a decision based off of what we truly believe in, and not the current emotion we may be feeling (which may lead to reactive, impulsive, or rigid behaviors).” 

… keep reading the full & original article HERE