Around 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem each year. And the number of people struggling to cope with these issues is rising, demonstrated by the a rise in cases of self-harm and suicide.

As I mentioned in my first blog post, stress is a particularly virulent problem. A 2018 study by the Mental Health Foundation found that 74% of UK adults had been so stressed at some point within the previous 12 months that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

These statistics make for unhappy reading, however, I’m here with a positive message. It is entirely possible to become more resilient to stress by learning how to reposition your thoughts and behaviours, changing how you view yourself and the world and regaining control.

Today I’m going to tell you a bit about three areas used in coaching psychology that are instrumental to making this happen: psychological flexibility, emotional agility and understanding your emotions.

Psychological flexibility

Being psychologically flexible means developing the ability to ‘unhook’ yourself from negative sensations and accept them for what they are, so you can direct your energy towards dealing with the here and now.

By choosing your behaviours in line with the demands of the current situation and your personal values, you can stay focused on these values and your longer-term goals, regardless of any unpleasant thoughts or feelings.

As the term ‘flexibility’ suggests, it’s all about learning to alter your perspective on the world and your own behaviour, so you can manage stress, people and situations effectively, whilst balancing conflicting needs, demands and desires.

It’s not just about being happy and having an easy life, though! Psychological flexibility means equipping yourself with the tools to navigate successfully through the constant and unpredictable changes that life throws at you, so you can flourish and thrive through the good times and the bad times.

The table below illustrates the differences between psychological inflexibility and flexibility:

If you feel your current psychological state is more in line with the column on the left, I can help you gain the flexibility you need to enjoy a more dynamic and fulfilling life.

Emotional agility

We all have an inner voice in our heads: the voice of our emotions. Sometimes, our inner voice speaks to us positively: when you know you’ve done a great job at work, or a loved one pays you a special compliment. However, all too often, it can be the voice of guilt, shame, self-doubt, self-recrimination and much more. If you’re in the grip of stress or other mental health issues, you may feel there’s no way out when this negativity builds up in your internal discourse.

Well, I have some good news for you: there is a way out! Becoming emotionally agile is the key to regulating these negative thoughts and feelings that, left to their own devices, will chip away at your happiness and self-esteem. It’s a skill that I can help you learn so you can identify what you’re feeling, and understand and regulate your emotions – putting you in control of your thoughts, not the other way around.

Emotional agility is about much more than just trying to be positive all the time. It runs far deeper than that, as we explore how to change and manage the way you view, interpret and accept your emotions. In turn, this will help boost your motivation and performance and improve how you manage change and face ‘the unknown’.

Understanding your emotions

Sadly, how to understand emotions – and the importance of doing so – isn’t something that’s widely taught. The resulting lack of understanding has led to a tendency for emotions to be viewed, at best, with suspicion and, at worst, with derision. However, gaining emotional awareness is an important life skill that will reshape how you react to the stress caused by unexpected change and other factors in your personal and professional life.

Of course, learning how to understand your emotions won’t make them go away. My aim is to help you connect with your feelings so you can articulate them more easily, accept and regulate difficult thoughts, and build better relationships with friends, relatives and colleagues.

Like to know more about coaching psychology?

I’d love to tell you more about coaching psychology and the techniques you can learn to help you lead a happier, more fulfilling life. If you’d like to chat, just drop me a line at lauretta@laurettacundy.co.uk or call me on 07837993241.

(For more information on the statistics and studies mentioned above please visit the Mind and Mental Health Foundation websites.)