How to improve your flexibility and resilience


Have you ever wondered how to improve your flexibility? What does flexibility mean? I'm not just talking about physical flexibility but your emotional and cognitive flexibility too.

I believe you should work on building your flexibility and resilience before you really need them and here's a good illustration of why.

Amy Purdy wanted to escape, see the world and create a life story of adventure.

When I heard the story of this remarkable young woman I felt the emotion well up inside me. I think you will too. But this is not only an inspirational story. It is also a lesson for life because it illustrates the power of flexibility and resilience.

Stick with the video to the end and I defy you not to feel the emotions welling up with pride felt in overcoming obstacles and achieving something great. Let me know what you think.

How to improve your flexibility: It's what you do with it

I often tell clients that it is not what happens to you that matters it is what you do with it. What I mean by this is that you can rely on life to turn up issues, problems, blocks, barriers, limits and occasionally disasters. That is life! But what are you going to do with these life events when they happen to you?

When something bad happens it is a shock and sometimes it takes a while to recover from the initial shock. You will see that with Amy. After that what you do defines whether your life will be changed in a negative way or in a positive way.  You have an (often untapped) element of choice and control in how you respond any event.

The most beneficial response you can make to almost any event has within it flexibility and resilience. You may have heard me tell the story of the palm tree on the beach after a tidal wave has gone through. The palm is flexible and bends with the force of the water but springs back afterwards.


This image captures the two most important aspects of reacting as well as you can to life’s problems. Be flexible and bend with the force and then remember that you are the same no matter what happens. Nothing that happens to you can take away your personal value, self worth and power. These give you resilience.

Learn how to improve your flexibility and resilience: Flexibility exercises for men and women

Physical flexibility

Take exercise. Simple.


Emotional flexibility

Practice recognising that feelings are fleeting reactions to events and don’t always mean very much. Furthermore feelings are usually created by your interpretation of the meaning of something that has happened. Some of the time this interpretation is wrong, hence the emotion does not accurately reflect what has happened to you.  When we consider depression and anxiety we can see that interpretations are often wrong and unhelpful.

Cognitive flexibility

Make an effort to see the other person's point of view, consider alternatives and learn to recognise that your response to any situation is only one of a number of possible responses you could make. This is always true but mostly goes unnoticed.

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