Understanding Your Feelings
The Vicious Cycle
The vicious cycle is a way of understanding why we feel as we do. The good news is it can also spin the other way and become a virtuous cycle. This can be used by supporters as a initial assessment – to help people see what is going on and how it is affecting them.
Let’s say for example your working with someone who has been made redundant- how does this life event affect how they think about things? Some of the thoughts that might go through their head could be “I have let people down”, I’m worried about not having enough money for the mortgage,… and a whole host of other unhelpful negative thoughts.
When we are stressed we often don’t see life in a balanced way and we focus on negative things. Bad thoughts go round and around in our head- this is called ‘altered thinking.’ This leads to Altered Feelings, Altered Physical Feelings and Altered Behaviours – and the vicious cycle spins.
Download the worksheet at: www.llttf.com/resources and give it a try – helping you to help others.
Altered Feelings & Altered Behaviour
When we are upset and stressed we experience all sorts of emotions and feelings- depression, worry, guilt, shame, anger, irritation- these feelings are known as ‘altered feelings’- the cycle starts to spin and we are thinking and feeling unhelpful things. Then you may start to feel physically ill, you might experience symptoms like the shakes, butterflies, you may have trouble sleeping, be tired, have no appetite, lose your sex drive and be more prone to catching colds and coughs- this is called ‘altered physical symptoms’.
Altered physical symptoms leave you feeling bad mentally as well as physically- you might not bother getting up some days. You stop paying bills, meeting friends, you may be too tired to clean the house or go out. This is know as ‘altered behaviour.’
Altered behaviour completes the vicious circle- now you feel really low- physically tired and may have stopped doing things and can’t be bothered going out. Now our negative thinking gets worse, and we get further down and less able to cheer up.