Friday, June 4, 2021

Helping our patients to hold information more lightly for better psychological flexibility

I often see communication problems when two or more people are in discussion but have a different “level of tightness or lightness” with which they hold the information discussed.

It’s also very difficult to gauge how lightly or tightly each individual is holding that information. It can be dependent on personality but also on the person’s level of stress. When stressed, people tend to hold information more tightly as “black and white”, or “right and wrong”.

When more relaxed and mindful, they tend to hold information more lightly and with more flexibility.

So when a person who hold information more lightly states something, they may be brainstorming, exploring possibilities with openness, thinking outside the box, and wondering if something can work.

The person who holds information more tightly may see this as fact, a firm opinion or criticism.

So now we have a problem. The information might be the same on paper, but the level of “lightness or tightness” with which one holds the information, can change the meaning and context completely.

It’s no wonder we see so much conflict in families and the people we try to help.

Holding things more lightly is a very difficult skill to cultivate especially when one is stressed, but definitely worthwhile.  It can give us more psychological flexibility. 

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