5 Tips to Create Psychological Flexibility (for you and your team)

 

Psychological flexibility is a must in today’s hectic world.

But what is it and why is it so important?

One definition is: To be fully conscious so as to change our behaviour in the service of our values.

I like to think of it as a practiced awareness to catch out our tricky brain.

The human brain is tricky. See Professor Paul Gilberts stuff on this. Often it acts as a random, unpredictable computer with no manual and lots of traps and tricks that

Can:

  • Alter our mood
  • Create limiting beliefs
  • Limit our potential and success
  • Damage our acceptance and understanding of others
  • Limit our communication
  • Ignite unhealthy emotions and
  • Keep us stuck

So if we would rather not be at the mercy of all these bad boys we need flexibility not rigidity.

It’s easy to become mentally rigid and inflexible. Especially when we find our self stuck in an area of life and work we would rather not, in which the more inflexible we become the tighter the trap we experience.

It’s Something to Cultivate

On my path to learning I began to realise I would have to create my own psychological flexibility – it’s learning rarely offered by academia or corporate employers.

5 Tips (plus a bonus tip)

  1. Test, examine and shake up your existing beliefs. Most of our adult beliefs were handed to us in our first 7 years. Often shaped by those around us. The good news is no beliefs are set in stone and are only made permanent when we hear ourselves say things like, “That’s the way I am ”.Go do some learning that will help you change, alter and modify your limiting beliefs into empowering ones. There are lots of resources available and many free ones too.
  2. Catch out your cognitive bias. This is when a part of our brain is already looking out for evidence to prove its right. If you don’t like someone well known say Donald Trump, specifically watch him and notice your bias coming in. Looking out for proof that he is the XXXX you’ve always thought he was!When we fail to catch out our bias we completely write-off people and fail to see other worthwhile aspects. Even if they only have one or a few redeeming features. We do this to customers, colleagues, leaders, and even our own family. And if we practice this too often we end up doing this to our self.
  3. Surround yourself with people and things that consciously resist falling into inflexibility. Many years ago I stopped buying newspapers. I woke up to the fact they only have 2 headlines. Finding heroes or zeros. And after celebrating a hero they would be keen to find a way to de-crown him or her.I asked myself would I keep a close friend in my life if I found out they were always looking for gossip, stories that were either untrue or conveniently part true. That unbeknown to me they would celebrate with me and then be looking to ‘stab me in the back’. The next question was:
Would I invite them into my life everyday? So I stopped buying a daily newspaper and almost immediately noticed the level of my openness and flexibility increase.
  4. Spend more time IN your body. This may sound strange, especially if you are cognitively successful. There’s lots of recent science that shows how the way we use, look after, move and hold our body – and its flexibility – directly affects our mental flexibility.This is because of the Vagus nerve that links body with brain. http://mentalfloss.com/article/65710/9-nervy-facts-about-vagus-nerve

Movement is highly successful at improving mood, worry and depression.Activities such as yoga, meditation, dance and a range of sports often set people free of their mental turmoil. While the food we put into our bodies affect our energy, mood and output. See the diagram at the end.

Therefore if in my daily life I turn up to a meeting believing my old limiting beliefs, not catching out my cognitive bias, turning myself toxic with the unhelpful and unhealthy opinions of others, not using exercise and movement to shake me free and eating and drinking stuff that crashes my system and moods – I AM IN TROUBLE and ITS ALL MY DOING.

  1. Stretch yourself and take on a new physical past time. Dance if you’re not a dancer. Sing in a fun choir of you are not a singer, take some kick boxing lessons if you hold back in life, learn meditation if you never hold back in life. In other words, do something radically different and Go FEAR-WARDS!
  2. Bonus tip NO 6. Every time you have a challenging event or day notice the most dominant emotion. What you might notice is a pattern forming. So if you realise that often when you drive your car, commute to work, shop in the supermarket etc., your dominant emotion is frustration then it’s not the situations that are the issue – it’s a pattern you have. This is a great starting point to find more psychologically flexible in these events.

If you would like learning and development on psychological flexibility for your teams contact me at: glenn@futurevisiontraining.co.uk

 

 

brain-exercise-diagram

 

  • Quote-background

    It’s easy to become mentally rigid and inflexible. Especially when we find our self stuck in an area of life and work we would rather not, in which the more inflexible we become the tighter the trap we experience.

    Glenn Bracey,
    Future Vision Training Ltd,
    17th October 2016

    Quote-background

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