This is a guest post by Lisa Davidson. Lisa is a counselor at the MSU Employee Assistance Program, a consultant for Health4U and a facilitator for numerous Human Resource Development courses.
When something happens that is challenging, unpleasant or not what you expected, how able are you to adapt in the moment? Do you respond from your core values, or do you tend to become reactionary and respond in ways you later wish you hadn’t? Increasing your psychological flexibility allows you to respond to the inevitable pain of life with greater acceptance, clarity and effectiveness.
According to Russ Harris, M.D., author of The Happiness Trap, psychological flexibility is “the ability to be in the present moment, with awareness and openness, and take action, guided by your core values. In other words, it’s the ability to be present, open up and do what matters.”
The more psychologically flexible you are, the more you can successfully move through what Dr. Harris calls the inevitable pain of life. Psychological flexibility has several key components which include:
- Accepting that life is going to include difficult losses, challenging events and hard times
- Learning to have an honest, open experience of the emotions these events naturally create, including the painful ones
- Moving beyond emotions in a healthy way, so you can then reflect on what is most important to you in terms of your response, the way you most want to be in the situation
- Lining up your action with how your truest self would want to respond in these circumstances
Take advantage of the on-campus opportunities to increase your psychological flexibility and see how it can increase your personal sense of vitality, well-being and fulfillment.