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Mental Flexibility: Allow Your Life to Change

Author: Rachel Hansen, MS

Changing our habits can be the most uncomfortable process we have ever been through. The habits we develop are rooted in comfort, giving us a sense of safety, wrapping us up in the sweet embrace of predictability. Yet, life is unpredictable! We all know that in life the only constant is change. We grow, we learn, we move, we discover… each new day brings to us a change, either big or small, singular or many. The beauty of life is not knowing what is around the next corner!

How can we adapt our minds to easily fluctuate with these changes? Can we learn to flow with the changing tides of our lives? Yes, we can do this! If you are feeling extra flexible, try the action steps!

Knowing and Doing

Many of us know what we need to do to improve our lives, yet doing it is harder than simply knowing how to do it. Try to accept in your mind that taking action may be difficult and do it anyway! Working to change patterns of behavior will be a challenge- staying the course can be reinforced by how our minds approach and deal with this challenge. Bend and flex to all parts of the change process so that we don’t break.

ACTION: Take a moment to assess what you know about your health, ask yourself: “what do I know I need to do?”

What is stopping us from doing these things now? If there is nothing physically stopping us, consider that we may be stopping ourselves. Feelings of ambivalence are normal in any change process- don’t let them deter you from your progress!

Get uncomfortable being uncomfortable

Being comfortable could be misleading us in thinking that an action or habit is good for us. When we are forced to ‘make do’ in certain situations and we develop patterns that can feel comforting, we forget their initial purpose. Just as people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime… so do habits!

ACTION: Take a moment to assess your lifestyle habits today, ask yourself: “do these habits still serve me?”

If we find that habits are not serving us in a positive way, it might be time to make a change. At first, the change process can be uncomfortable, know that this is not always a bad thing- it’s the beginning of a new you! Starting off slowly, incrementally, and by replacing the habit with a healthier one can help ease the discomfort of moving away from a learned habit.

Self-care

We may need to discover or reconnect with our self-care habits along this journey. Many of our coping mechanisms could be masquerading as self-care when they are actually contributing to our unhealthy habits. Showing ourselves compassion might be the most difficult part of the change process. We are human beings deserving of love and care from ourselves and others.

ACTION: Take a moment to assess your unique needs, ask yourself: “what do I need right now?”

Our bodies and minds might answer back in a way that we were not expecting. Honor the answer and take time to invest in self-care.

Remember that in this process, you are in the driver seat. Change is hard, but you have the ultimate say in how you approach it and how you continue on. You got this!