Friday with Friends

7 | Adaptability: Move Through Life With More Freedom

Nov 12, 2018

In this episode, I discuss how we can all become more adaptable in our body, in our minds, and in our spirits so that we can move through life with more freedom.

So what is adaptability and why is it so important?

Adaptability is defined as…

  • the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.
  • the capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.

What a great concept to incorporate into our lives!

Really, adaptability is fundamental for our own personal growth – in our yoga practice, our movement practice, as human beings, and as members of society – because it allows us to change, morph, and evolve as the things we can’t control change around us.

And because there is so much going on in the world and things seem to change faster with every passing day, adaptability is more necessary now than ever before.

Neural Wiring

When we start doing something new, we need to repeat it to make the wiring in our brain stronger.

If you haven’t climbed on the monkey bars since you were a kid, or ever in your life, then your body and brain aren’t adapted to do that. The wiring in your brain isn’t very strong, and we have to think about this in relation to movement.

But in addition to repeating movement, we also need to challenge ourselves to grow. Otherwise, we may stop being adaptable and become rigid.

What helps us be more adaptable?

First, open-mindedness.

Now, this isn’t easy by any means, especially when it comes to the starkly divided political environment in the United States. It can be difficult to be tolerant and open-minded towards views when they don’t match their own, but that practice of tolerance will actually help everyone, in the long run, become more adaptable.

Second, positivity. You can decide your outlook, to a certain degree. I know that thinking positively isn’t going to fix everything, and I’m not suggesting that positive thinking will overcome chemical imbalances or trauma, but too many of us get caught up in our own negative thoughts.

Even going back to the mid-20th century and Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, it has been studied and demonstrated that a positive attitude can lead to positive events in your life.

Third, resilience, or your ability to bounce back. When you’re stuck in a rigid mindset, things just happen to you and they often stop you in your tracks – but when you are resilient, you can stumble and still move forward.

Here are my favorite strategies for cultivating adaptability:

  • Observation. After we start observing ourselves and noticing when we feel tense, nervous, discontent, or grumpy, we can then figure out tools to help us.
  • Look for the gray and eliminate absolutes. Embrace the gray, find the colors that aren’t black and white, and look at things from a new perspective!
  • Connect to your core. Your core is who you are at your essence, and your core strength aligns you with your purpose and your core values and helps you cope better when things don’t go your way.
  • Embrace the new. This is always good for growth, even in small amounts.
  • Self-care. This can be really difficult for some people to think about and incorporate, but you can’t serve others or live life to its fullest without serving yourself first. You’re also more likely to feel good about yourself, which will help you engage in more positive emotions and improve your outlook on life! You can decide what this looks like for you, but it needs to incorporate movement because movement is always the pathway for adaptability.
  • Rewire your brain. We discussed how the neural wiring in our brain works already, but I want to emphasize how critical this is for cultivating adaptability in every area of your life.

 

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