Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Flexibility & Relationships

Close high-quality relationships are linked to strong mental and physical well-being.  Flexibility skills can enhance these relationships.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis on 174 papers with a total of 43,952 participants that examined flexibility in family and romantic relationships.  The research found the following flexibility skills improve relationships:

  • Acceptance of Experiences, no matter how challenging;
  • Mindful Focus on the present moment;
  • Cognitive Diffusion, gently experiencing thoughts and feelings without clinging to them;
  • A Broad Perspective, even during tough times;
  • Connection to Values, no matter how chaotic or stressful the daily experience; and
  • Committed Action, resilient pursuit of goals, despite setbacks and difficulties.

Research revealed that flexibility skills reduce stress and conflict and improve satisfaction and solidity.

Takeaway: Take stock of your capacity for flexibility and strive to improve these important relationship-building skills.

Source Jennifer S. Daks and Ronald D. Rogge, Examining the Correlates of Psychological Flexibility in Romantic Relationship and Family Dynamics: A Meta-analysis, 18 Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science 214, Oct. 2020, Examining the correlates of psychological flexibility in romantic relationship and family dynamics: A meta-analysis – ScienceDirect.

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