THE MAN UP THERAPY TOOLKIT SERIES
Change can be bloody difficult.
Some people make it look easy, while others struggle when faced with the possibility of entering into the “unknown”. Whether it be a new job, relationship, or the little day-to-day speed bumps, adaptability is a key player in handling new situations without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Learning how to become more adaptable can help us become more resilient and confident when facing change or challenging situations. But first, we must have a thorough understanding of what adaptability is: Adaptability can best be explained as a person’s ability (which can be made up of their disposition, motivation, and their willingness) to adjust or change to accommodate a different social situation, a change in surroundings, or a new endeavor.
In today’s fast-moving and changing world, this is an important component of good mental health.
Think of adaptability as an inner strength that can help prevent you from experiencing negative emotions like fear, worry, or even hopelessness, when dealing with change. So how do we do that?
First of all, studies show that the highly adaptable person has close relationships, meaningful interactions, and fulfilling activities that they engage in. So, increasing your social circle (or establishing a tribe) is one way. People that have this support network are better equipped to handle change. In addition, the following is helpful when faced with change or ambiguity:
Simply identify and acknowledge your situation. Trying to accept the situation you are in will allow you to move forward. You don’t have to like it, but accepting it goes a long way toward a healthier outlook.
Try to see the possibility of change moving forward. Decide if and how you can take control of the situation, even in the smallest way.
If your struggle involves another person, try to look at things differently from their perspective, or change your approach.
Recognize that sometimes, being flexible is necessary and easier than fighting change – particularly if there is some good that can come out of it.
Try to remain optimistic. Many times, the changes we fear actually end up being a positive force in our lives.
Do your best to manage your stress. Make sure you are taking adequate time for self-care. Try to continue engaging in activities you enjoy, so you’re not fully immersed in this one facet of your life.
We all need more resilience in our lives. Being resilient allows us to adjust well when faced with trauma, big changes, stress, or life’s day-to-day speed bumps. Remaining flexible will allow us to maintain our focus to best handle a situation. This will allow us to remain steadfast and strong, reserving our energies to best solve our problems, instead of the difficult emotions that can arise when faced with change or uncomfortable situations.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
If you don’t have it, there’s hope. We can improve our psychological strength to become more adaptable, flexible and resilient, so we can be stronger in times of change or difficulty.
Do you need help in this area? Call me at 512-470-6976 for a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation.
American Psychology Association (2018) The Road to Resilience. Accessed: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx
Calarco, A., & Gurvis, J. (2018). Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change.Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
Soundy, A. (2016) Use the Theory of Psychological Adaptation Needs (TPAN) to Enhance Your Adaptability. Accessed: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/use-theory-psychological-adaptation-needs-tpan-enhance-andrew-soundy
Waugh, C. E., Thompson, R. J., & Gotlib, I. H. (2011). Flexible emotional responsiveness in trait resilience. Emotion, 11(5), 1059-1067.
Zhou, M., & Lin, W. (2016). Adaptability and Life Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Social Support. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1134. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01134