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Learn to Become Flexible

I’m sure you have heard the phrase the only thing that is constant is change.

We can prepare for specific changes: retirement, establishing budgets and savings for emergencies, spending within our limits, setting specific long term goals.

But it is more difficult to prepare for those things that occur outside the realm of our control and planning: devastating weather or natural disasters, the birth of a severely handicapped child, a chronic and debilitating illness, financial collapse, terminal illness, and accidents that cripple and change life forever. These events literally turn our world upside down and inside out. They stretch our limits: financial, emotional and physical.

Is there a way to prepare for unexpected catastrophic events that might make a difference in the outcome?

Perhaps one of the most beneficial skills you can put in place is the ability to be flexible.

Can you roll with the punches? Let go of everything else and assess your situation in 3 specific ways:

• What can I do – what is under my control and what isn’t?

• What do I need to do this very instant – what can wait?

• What life strategies can I use to help me?

Fear knocks out our ability to think. In emergencies we need to be able to act quickly but wisely and prudently. At such moments we rely on our ability to put strong emotions aside so we can think rationally. We need to be able to assess what needs to be done, what we can do and what we can’t.

While anger can be a strong motivator, acting on emotion itself puts us on a dangerous course – one that can create more destruction rather than the finding of solutions.

When faced with tough situations or decisions, curb your strong emotions by focusing on a broader picture. What happens to you affects others in your life as well. Righting wrongs takes a sensitive but also balanced approach.

Rational thinking is based on evidence, sensible thinking and judgment rather than emotion or prejudice.

Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

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