Flexibility Staves Off Anxiety

September 26, 2012 Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

Flexibility is a main ingredient in countering anxiety

Anxiety usually wants us to think that we need something a certain way "or else." (Not that it tells us what the unsavory consequences are: Anxiety is always vague, never clear. This is how it holds it's power.)

So when things don't happen that certain way, darn it, that good-for-nothing Anxiety has us all up in arms. Tied in a knot. Fumbling and immobilized. Discombobulated.

Things variating from the plan is Anxiety most used excuse to come in and come in heavy. "Oh no, " we think. "I can't handle this." Anxiety ensues. (You knew you could handle the plan, but this is a curve ball. Can you strike it?)

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And, the wisdom to know the difference.

We help Anxiety hold this power over us by believing the nonsense it feeds us. We have to believe we can't handle it, for it to work.

When things change, flow with it

Things are always changing. Nothing ever stays the same. We already have the skills to be flexible, or we wouldn't be alive today. Whether we are aware of it or not, we manage, (handle) change constantly. When we don't notice it, our skills are rendered invisible. But that doesn't mean they are not there.

Too often we claim. "I don't do well with change." And I think, Yes, you do, you do it every second, this is just an excuse you use to protest something you didn't bargain for. It is a belief that makes us feel more out of control than ever.

Being flexible is being in control

What if we started noticing our skills in being flexible? Let's embrace the control we do have instead of lamenting the control we don't have. Which is the more important anyway? What we can do or what we cannot do? Immobile or mobile?

Here are some ways to be flexible:

1. Have a plan for other possibilities. Expect them, don't fear them.

2. Try to see other meanings to what is happening. There are usually other ways to see this situation, other perspectives that help relieve some tension, anxiety, and self-blame.

3. Get the opinion of someone you trust. Other people have the distance to see things differently than we see them.

4. Allow yourself to feel upset. Don't judge yourself for feeling the loss of the original plan. This create judgment and it breeds more anxiety. When you allow yourself you go through it faster.

5. Adjust your attitude. Make some lemonade with those lemons. Think of something else that would work. Use your creativity. Think of it as a challenge or an adventure. (There is a fine line between anxiety and adventure.)

6. Trust Yourself. You can handle this. Trust is the most important element.

How flexible are you?

By Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
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APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, September 26). Flexibility Staves Off Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

September, 26 2012 at 10:39 am

I'm not very flexible. But last year when my husband was diagnosed with cancer I was mad for many reasons but one was because this was not in the plans. But I stepped up, took care of our son and my husband. I know I can do it, its just actually doing it.
By the way, my husband is doing great. They were able to remove the tumor and he is finished with chemo. Yay!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 26 2012 at 5:22 pm

Yay! I am thankful for a happy ending. And for all the caregiving and love and concern and work in between!

Tina Barbour
September, 26 2012 at 1:36 pm

Jodi, I am one of those who has said many times, "I get anxious with change." But you're right--things are changing all the time, and I handle it (most of the time). I guess it's all in how you look at it.
Thanks for the great post!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 26 2012 at 5:21 pm

You are welcome, Tina! Everything is so much of how you look at it!

November, 3 2012 at 7:54 pm

I don't like change. I love stability and routine, but i think i can be flexible when I have to.

Edward Brown
February, 17 2013 at 10:35 am

This is great advice and insight. One of the most important skills, and perhaps hardest lessons, I've learned in the last few years is letting go of things, including expectations and demands on myself and others that things be a certain way. It continues to be a work in progress, but I do the best I can.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 17 2013 at 8:08 pm

You have inspired my post for Wednesday. I will go into more depth about letting go of expectations! We are all a work in progress, and that can be good or bad depending on your outlook! Thanks for the comment!
<3 Jodi

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