Dr Austin Tay


3 As of Psychological Flexibility


It is very human of us to feel worried and be fearful because often we are caught up with ruminating the past and catastrophizing the future. When we are in such a state, we tend to lose ourselves in the present. Being caught up with our thoughts and emotions can result in us losing all sense of self-awareness. 


Creating Awareness


When we do not recognise how our behaviours are impacting us, we will be stuck in a rut, mulling over things over and over again. Such impact can result in us becoming depressed and frustrated. What should we do then? Take a step back, breathe and create a psychological distance from the thoughts or emotions, that is to do perspective-taking. In doing so, we allow ourselves to see the reasons why we think and feel a certain way, thus providing CLARITY. Next, we will need to notice how these thoughts or emotions can affect us. In doing so, we can decide as to whether we want to carry on allowing these thoughts and feelings control how we behave.


Learning To Accept 


It is awful to feel defeated or not being able to take control of our lives. The society imposes a standard, and we adhere religiously to it, believing that FAILURE is not an option. So we will create automatic defence mechanisms such as being positive, trying hard to find out what went wrong or simply not facing the failure. These defence mechanisms have their shortcomings. For example, when we are always positive when dealing with failures, we can become too cavalier and ignore the real causes of our failures. On the other hand, when we spend too much time fretting over details about how and why we fail, we only stop ourselves from moving forward. Similarly, when we run away and not face what is before us, it will catch up with us. What can we do then? Accept that failure is normal; all of us fail at one point in our lives. What matters is how we move forward from our failures.




Now that we are aware how our thoughts and emotions can get in the way we function and accept that sometimes we do not have any control about the situation we are in, we need to put into action what to do next. We need to think about what are the important things in our lives. We need to have an action plan to help us move towards those important things and be mindful of potential hurdles that can waylay the plan. Remember, this is a process and not a straight point A to point B journey. We need to be agile and adaptable should change to the action plan is required.



Just as it takes determination and tenacity to keep ourselves physically fit, it is not that dissimilar when it comes to our psychological health. The more we practice, the better we will become; similarly, when we become lax, we become unfit psychologically.

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