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The Serenity, the Wisdom

Acceptance of change has been linked to a variety of quality of life improvements, including lower rates of mental health concerns, a reduction in physical health issues, and even lowered work absence rates. As humans, we face constant adversity and constant change, so openness to new experiences is a crucial tool to manage fears and uncertainty brought on by change.

An individual's capacity to accept events is often a direct result of their cognitive flexibility - the ability to adapt behavior and thinking to match the present environment/situation. Interestingly, measures of one can generally be used to measure the other as well. On the opposite end of the spectrum of acceptance and cognitive flexibility are experiential avoidance and cognitive inflexibility. Experiential avoidance is used to describe attempts to avoid thoughts, emotions, memories, or physical sensations, even if doing so creates long-term consequences or harm. Experiential avoidance and cognitive inflexibility have both been linked to a wide range of mental health concerns.

Recent studies have shown that acceptance of change can help people move from immobility to mobility, to help them get "unstuck," and that such states of mobility are beneficial to the well-being of our twenty-first-century population that experiences constant states of change.

One of the most common measures of psychological flexibility is the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ-2) developed through a team led by clinical psychologist Steven C. Hayes. This seven-question assessment can be used regularly to track changes in an individual's psychological flexibility skills. Based on a scoring system, higher scores might be suggestive of symptoms of depression or anxiety.

To try the AAQ-2 for yourself, visit this link.

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