How to create psychological flexibility

Photo by Alice Yamamura

Psychological flexibility is the ability to stay in contact with the present moment regardless of feeling uncomfortable. When you are psychologically flexible you are able to be collected and chose behaviors that support your well being even when they are unpleasant.

Trying to ignore or avoid unpleasant feelings can sometimes make matters worse. If you do this excessively, you create mental stress and anxiety. It is not possible to block feelings, no matter how hard you try.


Trying to control your feelings from arising can make you very self-critical. It can affect your confidence and keep you stuck in emotional suffering. Consider creating psychological flexibility.

Start with mindfulness

You can do this by becoming mindful of your feelings. When you pay attention to your feelings instead of judging them, you observe what is happening.

Create a new relationship

Begin with relating differently to your thoughts and feelings. Become a friend to them. When uncomfortable feelings and emotions arise, pay attention to your body.


Don’t let your mind take over with judgments. There is nothing wrong with what you are feeling. You are directly connecting with your feelings and accepting them.

Make room for the discomfort

Instead of pushing the discomfort away, create room for it. Connect with what is happening. Don’t dwell on your past or worry about the future.

Just pay attention to what is going on right here, right now.

Become an observer

Observe how the feelings and sensations move in your body. Notice the changes. Just become in touch with how the feelings and emotions are not static. Observe and don’t try to change how you are feeling.

Act based on your values

Your feelings and emotions are here to help you take a pause. You don’t need to act not based on how you feel. Act based on your values.


If you are angry or upset, don’t act based on these emotions. Use a question to get centered. Consider asking the following question: What sort of person I want to be?

One Quote

“Psychological flexibility is about being open to whatever life throughs at you. Being free to adapt to change, challenges and situations that feel unpleasant.

Tamy Khan

One question

What do you do when you have unpleasant feelings and emotions?

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