I talk frequently to people about what I have decided today I like to call perpetual loops. These are loops of behaviour that feed themselves which means they can appear, to the person doing them at least, as if they are uncontrollable or without reason.
Anxiety is a prime example. Someone has a horrible experience where they experience anxiety. The next time they think of doing that time they get anxious about the fact that they might get anxious. This makes them anxious. Woops! Now, they have anxiety, not about the thing they are actually anxious about but about the anxiety that they might get anxiety! This then fires off the perpetual loop; anxious about being anxious which is often mistakenly attributed to some mysterious outside cause.
This is exactly the same as the person who gets angry about being angry, sad about being sad, or feels crap about themselves cause they are overweight so they go and eat cake to make themselves feel better (in turn making them overweight which makes them feel crap which….you get the idea).
It’s a really insidious wee trick of the mind but it is actually fiendishly simple to, at least, begin to control.
Step 1, rationalise the memory that started the loop. Heres some questions for you to start this – What is it that happened? How did you feel? What is it that you think would happen if this was to happen again? Is that worse or better than what happens now?
Step 2 – realise that this is a perpetual loop. A set of behaviours causing themselves. It is really illogical when you step back and notice it. Many times just the awareness of the loop can make it easy to break. Your reaction is historical, it would be like being scared of falling every time you walked just because you fell when you were a baby.
Anyway, go spot your loops. You’ll have some, the only question is quite how mental they are!