Need More Emotional Resilience? Try These 7 Proven Ways to More Psychological Flexibility!
“Be flexible but stick to your principles.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you ever made a decision that’s out of harmony with your values? It makes you feel terrible, doesn’t it? Yet even when we hold to our values, our emotions may leave us with mixed feelings that can be quite unpleasant. You’d think that if your decisions honor your values they’d always leave you with happy, good feelings, right? Why don’t they? And how can developing more emotional resilience help you cope?
Embarrassment, humiliation, uncertainty, inadequacy, vulnerability, and betrayal are some of the unpleasant emotions and unwelcome feelings that can occur when we hold to our values because we’re reacting to how other people respond or how the situation turns out.
When we experience painful emotions, we want to quickly dismiss them so we can move on and forget them. Yet haven’t you noticed that the more we try to force them away by sheer willpower, the more they keep recirculating in our minds leading to rumination and recrimination?
Painful emotions can be lessened when we learn to see each problem for what it is. Then we can be more intentional about the decisions we make. This mindset is the foundation for psychological flexibility, which brings our rational and emotional Parts back into harmony.
Develop greater emotional resilience through these seven paths to psychological flexibility
Keep in mind that our thoughts and feelings are formed from where we’re coming from rather than where we are. It’s like we’re always using an outdated operating system to understand our present reality. That’s why flexibility is so important. Remember what Albert Camus said, “Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.” That being said, here are the seven paths to psychological flexibility and emotional resilience…
- Bring yourself to the present. Without judgment, simply identify and name the thoughts, feelings and emotions you’re experiencing. Nothing more. Just identify and be present in the moment.
- Employ mindful self-awareness. It takes time and effort, but learn to identify what triggered those responses within yourself.
- Accept your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Your brain brings up these responses because it’s trying to keep you safe. Thank your brain, thoughts, emotions and feelings for doing their job. They’ve made you aware of an imbalance within your Parts that needs to be adjusted. These are powerful lessons we do well to listen to, rather than trying to suppress or dismiss them, which can ultimately damage our psychological well-being.
- Measure your thoughts, feelings and emotions against your values. Keeping true to your truths will help you adjust to setbacks, roadblocks and adversities. For example, you may not be able to make a relationship work, but you still believe in love.
- Mindfully reframe the situation by putting it in context. It’s so easy to make judgments on ourselves, labeling ourselves according to a specific experience. Mindfulness will help you move past those judgments to simply noticing what happens externally and internally. Tuning into your body sensations is an especially helpful part of mindfulness. Observing from this neutral state allows you to learn lessons from these experiences.
- Separate yourself from your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Your thought or emotion is simply something that you observe and let pass, rather than holding onto them as reflections of yourself. This involves how you’re interpreting them. We tend to default to the negative and worse case scenarios. Be mindful of your self-talk, the way you’re internalizing the situation. Use positive language that creates space between your thoughts, feelings and emotions and the way you react to them. Become very intentional in your reactions.
- Make a commitment to act in harmony with your values. Committing to a course of action is brave and very powerful. It gives you flexibility because you’re not trying to control the journey to your desired outcome. As Tony Robbins says, “Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.”
Emotional discomfort is a part of the human experience, which we can learn to embrace. If you’d like to discuss emotional resilience with me further, feel free to contact me and schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation by phone or via Zoom, to see if we’re a good fit for working together.