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10 Ways to Reduce Rigidness, Decrease Anxiety, Increase Flexibility, and Have More Fun

Adults and children must find a balance between structure and spontaneity. Structure allows for a framework, choices, and some flexibility, but rigidity means you follow the rules — or else. How do you find balance? The best thing is to maintain structure and organization, but allow time for fun and taking advantage of opportunities that come your way.

Structure, organization, and consistency are highly encouraged in the workplace, at school, or in parenting. But how much is too much? At what point do we become too rigid and inflexible?

Andrea Umbach, Psy.D., offers the following recommendations for increasing your flexibility:

1. Observe your rigid behaviors. Spend a few days actively taking note of your routines and rules. Ask your partner, children, or friends to tell you when your rigidness appears. This exercise isn’t meant to make you feel bad; it should help you learn to make your life more flexible.

2. Try new things. Try a new food, sport, type of movie, deodorant, anything! Get your brain used to doing things differently. You might feel uncomfortable. But taking a risk will help you tackle the unexpected and open up to new experiences.

3. Embrace opportunities. Don’t say “no” purely out of habit. Instead of thinking of 20 reasons not to do something new, think of five reasons you should do it.

4. Be in the moment. Don’t think about all the other things you need to do. Slow down and focus on what you are experiencing internally and externally at that moment. Remind yourself of what you value most.

5. Mix it up. Do you always do things exactly the same for a reason or just out of habit? Practice doing things differently. Show yourself that you can do things differently, and nothing disastrous will happen.

6. Go with the flow. This one might be a bigger challenge: Allow others to take charge. Have a day where your partner or friend plans everything without your opinion. This is a great way to see how it feels to be on the other side of rigid.

7. Compromise. Identify the situations where you are always in charge. Are there others in your life who deserve some input? They may have stopped giving their opinions because you don’t acknowledge them, so this will be an adjustment for both parties. Actively listen to others and see if you can meet them half way.

8. Let it go. Practice letting the small stuff go. If your partner doesn’t fold the towels the way you like or the kids don’t make their beds well, just let it be. Keeping quiet will be very difficult at first, but consider how much freedom you’ll gain not having to monitor or complete every single task on your own.

9. Catch yourself. Monitor your vocabulary for “can’t,” “shouldn’t,” or “not right.” These are red flags that you are moving into rigid territory. Try “let’s see,” “let’s find out,” “I’m not sure,” or “what do you think?”

10. Practice. Just as you have to practice stretching your muscles to become more physically flexible, you must do the same thing to become mentally flexible. Set small goals at first, such as making one small change each day.

Excerpted from “10 Ways to Reduce Rigidness, Decrease Anxiety, Increase Flexibility, and Have More Fun” in the Huffington Post. Read the full article online.

Source: Huffington Post | 10 Ways to Reduce Rigidness, Decrease Anxiety, Increase Flexibility, and Have More Fun, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-be-flexible_b_3534929 | ©2021 BuzzFeed, Inc.

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