Objectives
~ Define psychological flexibility
~ Explore how to apply psychological flexibility
~ Identify the shortcut question
What is Psychological Flexibility
~ The willingness to accept things as they are in the moment and make a conscious choice to act with effective purpose choosing behaviors, thoughts and feelings that move you toward a rich and meaningful life.
Clarifying the Destination
Values & Goals
~ Clarifying
~ Relationships: Who is most important to you?
~ Which people?
~ What do you want those relationships to be like?
~ What events, things, experiences are meaningful to you?
~ Work
~ Health
~ Personal Growth
Clarifying cont…
~ Values
~ What values do I want to embody (Choose 5)?
Psychological Flexibility
Destination Happiness
Psychological Flexibility
Defining the Destination
Psychological Flexibility: Awareness
Psychological Flexibility Autopilot/Negative Bias Example
Psychological Flexibility Summary
STEP 1: It is what it is.
Becoming Mindful
~ Fly on the Wall / Data /Scientist
~ Curious
~ Objective
~ Nonjudgmental

Mindfulness in the Present Moment
Awareness of What Is
~ Bringing full awareness to your here-and-now experience
~ How do I feel?
~ What are my thoughts, wants and urges?
~ What physical sensations am I experiencing?
Note: These are probably mostly the Autopilot/Negative Bias sensations
Mindfulness in the Present Moment
Awareness of What Is
~ Bringing full awareness to your here-and-now experience continued…
~ Getting into the “rational (reasonable) mind” (Distress tolerance)
~ Describe the environment—smell, temperature, colors, objects, people, sounds, etc…
~ I (see, hear, smell) ______ It reminds me of _____
~ Identify alternate thoughts, feeling and actions that you could use to address the issue that would get you closer to your goals.
Step 2: Acceptance
~ Make room for unpleasant feelings, sensations, urges
~ Allow them to come and go without running from them or giving them undue attention.
Step 3:
Unhooking Thoughts and Behaviors
~ Cognitive diffusion means:
~ “Stepping back” and recognizing that thoughts are just temporary, automatic events
~ Perceiving thoughts, images, and memories as bits of language, and pictures—as opposed to what they can appear to be—threatening events, objective truths (Example: Nightmares)
~ Unhooking: Thoughts/feelings don’t always have to lead to action

Unhooking Activity
~ Think of a behavior that you “automatically” do when you get stressed or angry.
~ Drink/use drugs
~ Self injure
~ Withdraw
~ Lash out
~ How can you take a pause to become mindful and make an informed, committed decision
(Hint: These will become TOWARD behaviors later)

Unhooking Thoughts and Behaviors
~ Here’s a simple exercise in unhooking:
~ Think of a negative behavior. “I need to X” “I need to have a pizza.”
~ Think about it. Believe it as much as you can.
~ Notice how it affects you.
~ Now insert the phrase “I’m having the thought that….” in front of “I need to X.”
~ Think about it.
~ Notice what happens.
Unhooking Thoughts and Behaviors
~ Here’s a simple exercise in unhooking:
~ Think of a negative self-judgment that takes the form “I am X” such as “I’m stupid.”
~ Think about it. Believe it as much as you can.
~ Notice how it affects you.
~ Now insert the phrase “I’m having the thought that….” in front of “I am X.”
~ Think about it.
~ Notice what happens.
Applying
~ Once you have
~ Observed
~ Accepted
~ Unhooked
~ Then you are more able to sort through your thoughts and feelings and start to see options
Psychological Flexibility: Awareness
Psychological Flexibility: Prevention
Psychological Flexibility: Awareness
Psychological Flexibility: Prevention
Psychological Flexibility: Awareness
Away Behaviors and Reactions
~ You only have so much energy. It is either used to help you move forward, or wasted spinning in circles or going backwards.
~ Make a list of things you do when you get stressed, angry, lonely that keep you from moving forward.
~ Sleeping —
~ Drinking —
~ Identify other behaviors in your life that you regularly do which prevent you from moving toward your Emerald City (poor time management, lack of sleep or nutrition, disorganization…)
Psychological Flexibility: Awareness
Example: Chronic Illness Intervention
Psychological Flexibility: Awareness
Away Thoughts and Feelings
~ All feelings are normal. It is what you do with those feelings that can be harmful.
~ Think of an emotion like the smell of dog poop.
~ When you smell it, you get up to check if the dog crapped in the house. If not, you chalk it up to gas and go about your day. If you find dog poop, you don’t just get angry and leave it there. You do something about it or it will make the whole house stink.
~ Negative emotions are like the dog poop of the soul. If you don’t address them, they will permeate your whole being and repel others.
Away Thoughts and Feelings
~ What thoughts do you regularly have that keep you from being happy? (make a list/keep a journal, so you can start addressing them. Include your inner critic’s commentary)
~ When you get angry, what thoughts do you have that keep you stuck in the quicksand of anger?
~ Remember resentment, jealousy, envy and guilt are all forms of anger.
~ When you are sad or grieving what thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
~ When you are anxious/afraid what thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
~ When you are lonely what thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
~ When you are sad what thoughts do you have that keep you stuck?
~ BTW: What impact does being angry have on your trip?

Psychological Flexibility: Intervention
Psychological Flexibility Summary
Example: Chronic Illness Intervention
Putting It Together
Example: Do Something Embarrassing
Shortcut Question
~ Are my current thoughts, feelings and actions moving me closer to, or further away from my goals and values.
Putting It Together
Summary
~ Every event is an opportunity to choose thoughts and behaviors that will help you use your energy to move toward your goals and values
~ Acceptance means accepting, without judgement, how you feel and the situation as it is instead of fighting against it.
~ Commitment and purposeful action mean that you choose to use your energy on thoughts and behaviors that move you closer to your goals
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