Creating an Adaptable Sustainable Psychology

5 min read

At present, our world is in a vortex of rapid change. We are experiencing environmental vulnerability, technological overdrive, and political chaos, which has become the new normal. Anecdotal evidence suggests these transitions are having a severe impact on the human psyche. Whether it is in the workplace or our relationships, there is an emotional unease about modern living that we are yet to effectively navigate.

Psychology, like the planet, is also going through some major transitions. Psychologists are still diagnosing and treating mental health disorders but due to the changing times, they now work more and more with their clients’ everyday issues. These everyday issues are not necessarily about abnormality. Instead, these issues are more about improving the security and quality of the clients’ lives in everyday situations. People just want to feel better.

Clients want to know how to have a better relationship with their partners. They want to know how to be more productive in their chosen careers. They want to know how to be more effective and deal with ever-increasing emotions or multiple intrusive thoughts. They want to learn the psychological skills to manage and sustain an unknown future pathway. And, perhaps a baseline to all life’s issues, they want to know how to be OK with who they are. To arrive at this more stable place, they will have to be able to adjust to and maintain the new conditions in their lives. Because change is now relentless and guaranteed, and resources are still finite, not infinite.

Being Adaptable

Currently, the speed of life is shifting from a river with a steady flow to a river of raging rapids. Exponential change has catapulted the psychological demands of everyday living. In the future, we will need our best attempts to maximize our adaptability to manage unfamiliar disruption, without creating problems for ourselves further down the track. We have always had to adapt to change, but AI, climate change, excessive marketing of products and services, the pursuit of a so-called perfect life, and political instability seem to have turbocharged change in modern-day life.

Living with exponential change may challenge our ability to adapt. We will need to become more psychodiverse problem solvers. We will need the power of insight about ourselves and the world to inform our vision of what that solution-focused self looks like. Psychodiversity provides a flexible platform with different approaches to challenges that will enable our insight to flourish.

Not unlike biodiversity, which explains how species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life; psychodiversity provides an intricate psychological web of thoughts, feelings, and actions that maintain psychological balance and support. Having psychodiversity creates more adaptability and potentially more sustainability to help us meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

Interestingly, there appears to be a paradox concerning our overwhelmed internal world. That is, we need to become aware of a step beyond our internal thoughts to navigate outward and obtain some respite. It is likely that increases in psychodiversity will not only provide respite but may also inspire new avenues of resolution to previously muddled thinking. In the presence of an ever-accelerating pace of life, our psychodiversity could be a critical, positive component of human adaptation to change.


We have learned, but not managed, the vulnerabilities of a finite planet. Climate change has reinforced the mistakes of not managing our finite resources. The Earth is finite, and so are we. Humans will also eventually need to learn to be very astute and mindful to manage our individual finite resources, especially our psyche. Our mental health will depend on our ability to be better managers of our own personal finite existence.

Many of our current human ways of life will not be sustainable at the present pace. The wholesale and commercial rape of the planet is not sustainable. We know this as thinking beings but we have generally not altered our lifestyles to accommodate this reality. A continuation of this unsustainable abuse of the planet will put humankind under even more psychological pressure. We will need individualized sustainable psychological skills to thrive and survive.

A more adaptable sustainable psychology (ASP) will be required for humankind to survive. Skills in adaptation and sustainability will not be a luxury item, they will be mandatory if we are to manage our increasingly demanding world.

Our choices in life will have to be more measured. Change is inevitable and we are living in a finite world. Waste, either physical, emotional, cognitive, or spiritual, will not suffice. We will have to improve our psychological abilities of adaptability and sustainability to win this battle.

An Adaptable Sustainable Psyche

Progressing to a psyche that is more adaptable and sustainable will help us navigate an unknown future. Change can be managed with better decision-making and resilience, rather than panic. More mindful approaches to a life that needs to be negotiated moment-to-moment will improve our abilities gradually and methodically. Staying in the “now,” because that’s all we have anyway, will keep us more centered on the unfamiliar circumstances we are trying to resolve.

Our finite world has limits but so does the human psyche. Recognition of these limitations was needed yesterday, but yesterday is gone. “Now” is the focus and being in the “now” will work. Humankind has always reveled in a challenge. The challenges are definitely there at present and will only increase in the future. There is no need to look beyond where we are. But we will need to start to adapt and sustain to get where we are headed.

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