(Photo credit: Penny Dinn Photography)
Flexibility is one of the keys to health and happiness. This is not limited only to the physical body, mental flexibility is just as important. Let’s take a look at both and why it’s so important to our well-being.
Physical flexibility makes it possible for us to perform everyday tasks, improves athletic performance and protects against injury. It also assists with posture which in turn minimizes stress on the body and strengthens the joints. However, flexibility deteriorates with age and a sedentary lifestyle, so it is important to incorporate this into your daily routine. As someone who has always been fairly flexible, people at my barre or yoga studio would often comment and say “I wish I was that flexible.” To which I would reply and ask them if they stretched everyday, the answer was almost always, “no.” Flexibility is like everything else in this world, it comes with practice. To begin, stretch at least 10-15 minutes everyday. This can be done in the form of a yoga practice or just some simple stretches. It is also important to stretch before and after a workout to prevent injury.
Mental flexibility is defined as the ability to shift a course of thought or action according to the changing demands of a situation. Life, as we know it, is one big changing situation. I think we have all had times in our lives when things did not go the way we had planned. These curve balls that life throws us happen for a reason and are for the best, even if we can’t see it at the time. Remaining open to these changes allows us to be more grateful and accepting of the gifts being given to us. Many of the influential people and visionaries throughout history have been people who thought outside the box and, in turn, contributed something remarkable to the world. I find that when I veer off my intended path is when I learn the most and grow creatively. To increase your mental flexibility, remain open to new possibilities and accept people as they are, without judgement. This is not always easy and, like physical flexibility, requires practice.