If you can’t be flexible in life, you become irritable with life. – Anonymous
I grew up right on the border between North Dakota and Minnesota and definitely know what a flood is like. The border is guided by the Red River of the North which is the only river in North America that flows to the north.
I remember year after year the North Dakota side wanted to increase the height of it’s river bank but then Minnesota didn’t want to increase theirs. This leads to a big problem as you don’t want one side overflowing into the other!
Anyways, what the heck does this have to do with healthy happy humans? Well, it will help illustrate a point you must understand if you wish to be a healthy happy human being.
Dan Siegel is one of the world’s leading neuroscience experts. He tells us that a healthy happy person is psychological flexible. To help explain this, he says we need to be like a river flowing between two banks – on one side we have structure and on the other we have spontaneity.
So, the trick to maintaining flexibility is to make sure we don’t flood one side or the other. We need the right amount of structure in our lives; too much structure and we become too rigid.
On the other side of our river of flexibility is spontaneity. As with structure, we need a certain amount but not too much. If we overflow the banks with too much spontaneity we will wind up with chaos!
Again, the hallmark of a healthy happy person is psychological flexibility. In order for you to be psychologically flexible you need to have the right amount of spontaneity and the right amount of structure. If you are a math person, here is the equation: Psychological flexibility = Spontaneity + Structure.
This illustration provides not only the explanation but also the answer. In other words, if you find yourself being too rigid, then you simply need some spontaneity to balance yourself right out. Likewise, if find yourself being too chaotic, then you need some structure to balance yourself right out and then you will find your psychological flexibility.
Remember, the hallmark of a healthy happy person is psychological flexibility. In order for you to be psychologically flexible you need to have the right amount of spontaneity and the right amount of structure. Keeping the river of flexibility within the banks of spontaneity and structure.
Know anyone that is too rigid? Too chaotic? How is your river of flexibility? Are you flooding on side or the other?
ABOUT CHRIS SWENSON
Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently helping people achieve psychological flexibility at his private practice counseling office in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or schedule an appointment online at www.rhinowellnesscenter.com