Cognitive flexibility refers to the mental ability to switch between various different responses (whether thoughts or behaviors), depending on the demands and the situation in which we are. For the human being, the key to a good functioning in any of our day-to-day tasks, is this. On the contrary, being obsessed and rigid, will bring serious problems adapting to the constant changes that life offers us. For example, when we are solving a problem, flexibility helps us find various alternative solutions to do it. It also allows us to modify a plan of an unexpected event , or it helps us understand other people’s point of view. Other times, flexibility helps us to stop thinking about our concerns, in order to perform other, more adaptive behaviors or thoughts. Therefore, flexibility is not only important to adapt to various day-to-day events, it also helps us promote greater psychological and emotional well-being.
Cognitive flexibility and brain demage
One of the most common disorders in brain damage is a lack of cognitive flexibility. It can be affected on many levels, even have severe consequences. When a great flexibility difficulty is detected, the person may even have trouble dropping one task and switching to another. Other times, it happens when the person is solving a problem, he applies the same strategy repeatedly, causing them to fail over and over again and not be able to learn from their mistakes or generate an alternative response.
The difficulty in being flexible causes significant strain for the person who has suffered a brain injury, and for their family, since it generates great frustration by not being able to adapt to an environment that is in constant transformation such as life.
Aware of this, at the Neurorehabilitation Clinic, we focus on the rehabilitation of cognitive flexibility beyond the improvement of an isolated cognitive deficit, but we incorporate it in an integral way in the rehabilitation process. We know that it is a key process for adapting to the change that the person is experiencing after brain damage, and we know that greater flexibility will strongly help to achieve greater functionality and well-being in the person.
AUTOR: DIANA FLAQUÉ