Having flexibility is to have the ability to shift perspectives and actions when new or unexpected events arise. This skill – or set of skills – allows us to adapt more easily to otherwise stressful and difficult situations, without becoming overwhelmed for prolonged periods of time. We already use this skill in our daily lives when we handle last-minute schedule changes. However, the magnitude of this quickly evolving epidemic calls upon us to think and act flexibly now. There will be many whose lives will be significantly disrupted in the next days, weeks, and months. Maintaining and improving on a flexible mindset will be a crucial skill for us to think clearly and thoroughly as an alternative to becoming anxious and negative.
Flexible thinking can be practiced and improved. There is no better time to do it than right now, because we will need distraction and small and large goals. We can use this time to do a few things differently and to practise flexible adjustment in conscious and prepared ways. In young and old, flexibility has been shown to increase with activities such as mindfulness, yoga, aerobics, and relaxation.
People come together during difficult times. We can transform frustration, anger, and anxiety into creativity and innovation and care for our relationships. Reaching into ourselves and reaching out to others are ways to evolve flexibly.
– Brigitte Theunissen / Deputy Head Academics