Today’s reading encourages us to recognize when we are in a cycle. While it may seem obvious to other people when we exhibit a pattern of reacting to people, places, and things in a certain way, we may not recognize it in ourselves. While breaking the cycle is hard, realizing that we are in one, can be even harder.
When our emotions are heightened and we are triggered by the same situations and experiences, we won’t always be able to distinguish what is triggering us. The trigger can be anything from an emotion, to an experience with another person, to a physical location. In Viana’s How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions, he mentions that these triggers have the power to start negative thoughts. The negative thoughts then turn into negative emotions, which can then lead to negative actions.
Basically, when we are triggered, we immediately jump to negative thoughts because we have already experienced the situation before. Everything becomes more amplified, things seem as if they are a bigger deal then they actually are, we slowly start viewing our world through a distorted lens. These thoughts bring up negative emotions. We react in ways that we maybe wouldn’t normally. Eventually the negative emotions lead us to take negative actions. This then leads us back to more triggers, cycling us through a circle of negativity.
The first step in breaking this cycle is recognizing the trigger and diffusing it. This starts by taking a moment, once the negative thoughts start, and asking ourselves if our thoughts are rational. Are our thoughts appropriate for the situation? Does this situation remind us of another situation we have found ourselves in? For every negative thought that pops into our head, we have to reframe it in a positive light. Instead of imagining the worst case scenario, we need to think of one positive thing that happens as a result of the situation. Slowly, by reframing our thoughts which then leads us to take different actions, we will break free from the cycle.