029: Can You Adapt When Necessary?

029: Can You Adapt When Necessary?
Photo by Miquel Parera / Unsplash

Resilience is a common theme in my content.

But perhaps you feel that word is a bit too gritty for your tastes.

Maybe adaptability is more your cup-of-tea.

Personally, I'm all about resilience (and I actually resonate more with the word itself).

But lately, adaptability is rolling off my tongue as a point of reference in my longevity language and narrative.

Here's what I'm discovering...

Adaptability is being equipped to evaluate your circumstances and stretch your capacity to embrace more than one option or point or view

Aging stretches you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

That's not a negative realization. In fact, you can discover refreshing ways to adapt (and its essential that you do) at whatever age you are.

  • Physical adaptability creates the flex that helps you push your physical limits when necessary.
  • Mental adaptability expands your mind to better relate to others and world around you.
  • Emotional adaptability enlarges your empathy so you can better understand another's circumstances or point of view.

Stretch your body for adaptability in confronting your physical limitations

I'm not a personal trainer or physical therapist telling you to "suck-it-up-buttercup!"

But I do want to compel you to consider that you can do more...move more...endure more...adapt to more than you think you can.

Physical adaptability is more about incremental movement that trains you to exceed your limits bit by bit.

Our youngest daughter completed a half-marathon recently.

How did she complete 13.1 miles?

She trained her body to handle more and more miles incrementally over time...confronting her physical limitations...week by week until race day!

You're likely not training for a half-marathon (if you are or want to - go for it!)

As you age - standing, walking, running, lifting, creating, building, drawing, writing...those (and more) might have become your 13.1 challenge.

  • Use time-increments to your advantage - what you can do for one-minute you can do for two, etc.
  • Confront your self-imposed or actual physical limitations by refusing to believe you can't and instead choosing to do what you can.
  • Evaluate your progress day by day, week by week, month by month until you realize you're in-the-race and stronger than you once were.

Stretch your mind for adaptability in your thinking and relationships

"My mind is made up!"

Resolve aside, saying that could reveal a lot about your lack of mental adaptability.

Stretching your mind isn't about being wishy-washy or so open minded you can't have an original thought.

To the contrary...

Mental adaptability identifies with the neuroscientific concept of neuroplasticity.

This is a broad and very engaging topic and one I'll cover in more detail in another issue.

According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and tenured professor in the department of neurobiology at Stanford School of Medicine,

"Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change and adapt in response to stimuli over time.
Contrary to what was previously believed, brain development does not only occur in childhood — in fact, the adult brain is still capable of self-directed synaptic growth.
Understanding the neuroscience involved in habit formation and behavioral change can increase our chances of success. There is a correlation between the formation of habits and the pursuit and achievement of goals: the likelihood of achieving a goal is strengthened by the reinforcement of daily habits, and making habits stick relies on connecting the new behavior (or abstinence of the behavior) to a bigger purpose or desired outcome."

I'm in agreement with Dr. Huberman that your mind is capable of adaptability.

  • Expose your brain to positive stimuli that enables you to adapt and change over time.
  • Raise your expectations about your capability for mental growth and awareness.
  • Train your brain through the development of new habits and the pursuit of new goals.

Stretch your emotions for adaptability within conflicting circumstances

Emotional-flex is among the most challenging traits to develop.

Yes, as you age you're less likely to make a big-deal about things and simply let them roll-off.

But another's words, emotional-baggage, or "drama" still sticks to you on occasion.

Emotional adaptability is about developing and having a "no-stick" mindset.

You know, like your cookware.

Life heats up...emotions get ignited...but you choose to not let things stick with you.

  • Roll with what happens or what's said to you - own what you need to own, express your feelings, and move on.
  • Adapt your response and reaction - consider the source, learn from it, and dismiss it if necessary.

Adaptability expands your capacity to welcome the changes and challenges of aging

  • Stretch your physical limitations to do what you can instead of focusing on what you can't.
  • Stretch your mental capabilities to expand your mind and motivation.
  • Stretch your emotional flexibility to let things roll-off you.

Press on...