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A break! From negative spiral thinking #2

Written by Hillary R. Hoff

Part II: Why do we continue with these patterns of attracting negative thoughts and outcomes?

Dr. Alice Boyes explains how we continue giving energy to unwanted behavioural patterns because we find the “payoffs” within each pattern. Payoffs that are physical, situational, and established through our thought process. Thought payoffs such as distracting ourselves from what we want to think about, essentially numbing ourselves from the thought. Boyes also refers to it as mastering our own destiny. Unfortunately allowing our minds to take over when we should constantly be listening to our heart and what our body feels. Wanting to “master our own destiny” by telling ourselves “I’m an adult and I’ll take what I need to fix this headache” when maybe our body is expressing healthy signs of pain or discomfort for a reason. It may be true to allow ourselves reasoning but it also may cause us to create harmful and redundant “destiny” patterns which can end up being far beyond destructive than a headache pill.

Another payoff Boyes mentions is due to our self confidence and how we believe others view us. Continuing patterns because we think people expect us to continue the same pattern or view us in a particular way to produce a repeated behaviour. An easy example of how confidence surfaces negative outcomes is through making excuses, “Everyone knows I run away from fears, so I may as well do it again.” Lastly Boyes refers to the thought payoff when we consider it deserving to ourselves, “I deserve to go out tonight after such a hard day, despite my emotional state and need for sleep.” “I deserve to have this ice cream sundae, I deserve to accept this lost money on the ground.” It’s only normal to fall under the pressures of society and culture but we are so much stronger than we allow ourselves to be.

Is this how we would have reacted when we were children; allowing our minds to master over our basic needs and ignore what our bodies are telling us. When watching children, notice how they really aren’t afraid of anything, putting everything in their mouths to test it out, hugging, smiling and talking to anyone they please. It’s one of the most astonishing things for me, to watch the healthy apathetic lifestyle of a child. As a continuing growing child we have the option to tap into our minds and bodies to balance what we have control of, the simplest twist of our perspective can change it all. As we grow, we only continue to learn more about ourselves and what is best for “me”, as oppose to our naive state of childhood. However, it’s up to us to truly listen and take action. Easier said than done, how can we manifest such an alteration in our thought process to stop these negative thoughts and behavioural patterns from taking over?

What can we do to change these thoughts and patterns? Part 3 of this article is about this topic!


Sophie Nusselder

My name is Sophie Nusselder. I started practicing and teaching yoga in 2008 and knew I started travelling a path that would change my life. Ever since my childhood I remember having a natural desire for physical movement. Born and raised on the Dutch countryside I loved to bike and hike in nature. The awareness of the breath in yoga made me connect with deeper layers. A fortification of magic in life! To me yoga means aligning. Yoga and meditation are tools to remove that what blocks me and allow space – the space of pure presence. By constantly returning to this space I discover what truth is and what is not. It’s direct communication, which results in pure clarity, free feelings, liberation and creativity. I experience yoga as a feeding of my deepest yearning, it creates challenges to develop myself and it works as a support in my inner pursuits.

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