Updated: Jul 3, 2020
The power of adaptability
Bored and unable to go out, I reach into the cupboard for the ingredients to make some cookies only to find I have no flour left, no butter, no oil. Last time I was at the store most of these items were either out or in short supply. I can’t even delay gratification and order them online because most online stores are also out of stock or too expensive. Disappointment sets in, but only for a few minutes and then I begin scouring for recipes that will allow me to make cookies without flour, oil, or butter.
What is this tool that causes us to move forward, despite the challenges, instead of slumping onto the couch in defeat? Adaptability.
Who cares about adaptability and why should it matter?
The American Psychological Association (APA) says it does matter. Adaptability is “the capacity to make appropriate responses to changed or changing situations; the ability to modify or adjust one’s behavior in meeting different circumstances or different people (VandenBos, 2015. P. 18).
Living in your present moment and noticing everything within and around you is mindfulness. You are being mindful of what is happening when you taste your food, notice your feelings, smell the orange blossoms, and hear the birds chirping. But what about when things don't go according to plan? Being able to notice and adapt to sudden changes is a coping mechanism that will give you success and a better quality of life. Thus, adaptability is a necessary tool for your coping toolbox.
The world is in a constant state of changes, as well as the people around you. If you cannot adapt to these changes and learn and grow, you will feel stuck, angry, resentful, and defeated. If left unchecked, these persistent feelings can increase anxiety and depressive symptoms. Moments of sudden awareness that change is happening can be an opportunity to experience something different, something better; a true moment of discovery. How do you think the corn flake was invented?
John Kellogg and his brother William were working on a special diet for patients at the sanitarium and tried to boil some wheat. They’d mistakenly left it cooking too long. Not giving up, they tried to roll it out, but it broke apart into flakes. Instead of tossing it out, they baked it, and what a discovery that was. Then they tried it on corn and invented Corn Flakes. Adaptability can be the foundation for new discoveries and change that can catapult our lives into a new direction.
So, what about those cookies, you ask? Well, I found a recipe online and of course, I tweaked it a little and here’s what I got. These amazing cookies are so tasty and chewy and good that I can’t stop eating them. Now I’m going to have to utilize a few CBT techniques to attack these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors I have toward these yummy cookies. Oh, well. I guess I’ll just adapt.
P.S. If you want to try these out until the stores restock the flour and butter aisle. Here you go.
1 Cup of almond butter
2/3 cup of coconut sugar (or brown sugar if you don’t have the coconut). PS (If you’re out of brown sugar just add a couple of tsp of molasses to white sugar and blend (now you’ve got brown sugar)
2 tsp of molasses
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (depending on the flavor you desire)
1 tsp baking soda
(If you want more of a choco-chip cookie, use vanilla and add ½ cup of chocolate chips) or whatever else you have in the pantry, such as bits of ginger, caramel chips, M&M's, etc)
Blend all the ingredients together and form into small balls, place on parchment paper and bake in a 350-degree oven for 9-11 minutes.
Enjoy and be proud of your own adaptability.
I'd love to hear about your adaptability techniques toward sudden change.
God bless, and see you next time.
Lori C. Helms M.A. LMHC