Remember those optical illusion images? You would have to look at the abstract image just so in order for some shape to pop out in 3-D. I always felt stuck when looking at those books because I could never see anything. I blame it on my own inflexibility because I relied on the same strategy over and over without adjusting the way I looked at the picture. This same inflexibility or rigidity can lead us to feel stuck in other areas of our lives. When emotions are aroused, it’s easy to cling to rigid rules, strategies, and behaviors without considering different approaches.
Being open can allow you to adopt alternative perspectives. It means looking at the future without preconceptions, considering multiple strategies, entertaining the possibility that things may not go according to plan, and practicing being nonjudgmental. Being open means taking a close look at yourself in order to create new options for how you behave, react, or think about things.
The good news is that being open can begin with some simple strategies. Are you someone who always writes with a black pen? What if you tried writing with a blue pen for a few days instead? You could also try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. As you engage in these somewhat small behaviors, you will teach brain new tricks as you move away from your typical patterns and toward openness and flexibility.