Resiliency: Are You Flexible Enough to Bounce Back?

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Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it. – Brian Tracy

The more I study the research about resilience, the more I see the topic of flexibility arise.

In a literal sense, you can see how flexibility is important to bouncing back: a stiff board will not resume its shape once it is warped or stretched in some way, but a piece of rubber will.

In the same way, flexibility is essential to your ability to bounce back in life.

Why?

Here are a few reasons:

1. Flexibility enhances problem-solving skills.

The more flexible you are, the more ideas you will come up with regarding solving a particular predicament.

A rigid approach results in one solution and it’s usually the same one you always use whether it works or not.

2. Flexibility allows you to change your behavior to meet the challenge of each unique stressor.

Each adversity in your life brings a unique set of circumstances with it. Utilizing a “one size fits all” approach by employing only one coping method may not work for each stressor.

It’s best to be open to new and/or different ways to approach a situation.

Researcher George Bonanno calls this “adaptive flexibility” and notes that people who are resilient in the healthiest ways utilize this skill well.

3. Flexibility allows you to roll with the waves instead of getting crunched by them.

Have you ever stood in the ocean among large, crashing waves? What you quickly learn is that if you just stand there stiffly, a big wave can completely wipe you out – knocking you off your feet and tumbling you over and over.

Pretty soon you learn to pick up your feet when the wave comes in, allowing it to carry you safely to shore.

This is how it is with challenges in our lives, too. If we cling to one way of dealing with them, we inevitably will get knocked flat.

But if we do something different – perhaps even counter-intuitive – we still get pushed by the challenge, but we’ll end up on our feet.

Full Article by Bobbi Emel, MFT at PsychCentral

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