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All relationships, platonic and romantic, are difficult to wade through on a good day. Mid pandemic, however, they’re even harder to get through. Not to mention balancing staying sane, making sure your mask is in your pocket at all times, and keeping your distance while still not isolating yourself too much (even if that means using technology to your benefit). Rituals are one aspect of successful relationships and now, the trick to smoother relationships (familial, romantic and platonic) is psychological flexibility.
The study: what is psychological flexibility?
Published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, this finding stems from 174 papers and 203 unique samples.
Psychological flexibility is the act of being present or mindful during a stressful situation or interpersonal conflict. Mindful flexibility or emotional flexibility also refers to psychological flexibility.
This flexibility allows you to literally flex so that you see things from a bigger, zoomed out perspective than your own, according to marriage and family counselor, Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT.
This means holding our own thoughts and emotions more at bay in a moment of interpersonal conflict. And instead, acting with long term values and goals in mind, rather than giving in to short-term impulses, thoughts and feelings.
Why is psychological flexibility important for relationships?
This can bring safety and trust into a relationship and allow [someone] to feel heard and seen. It also allows you to be able to have difficult conversations to work toward a deeper feeling of intimacy. Being psychologically flexible in relationships is necessary for keeping the relationship feeling balanced, fair, and intimate.”Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT
When you work on increasing your emotional flexibility, you learn to hold space for multiple things: your truth and hearing out the truth of other people in your life. It is also a huge lesson in grace when things don’t necessarily pan out the way you thought they would.
How do you gain more psychological flexibility?
Switch your mindset in five ways:
- Open yourself to new experiences, easy and hard
- Be mindful in your day-to-day life
- Process feelings by letting them wash over you and not hold on to them
- Check back in with your core values especially during stressful times
- Keep pushing toward long-term goals even when faced with setbacks
All of these things circle back to doing your own inner work. Healing from past trauma, being comfortable with uncomfortable situations, finding comfort in vulnerability and real emotional intimacy, putting pride down and setting ego aside. That’s where true strength comes from! And when relationships can truly start thriving.
H/T: Well Good