How A Ripple Effect Can Turn Into A Vicious Cycle

Nutritious foods. Who knew they could hold so much power and potential! It is clear making healthy food choices can improve our bodies and our minds. But, if it is as simple as munching on the right stuff everyday, why do we sometimes find it so hard to obtain optimal physical health, maintain a clear mind and find true happiness?

Akrasia – no it’s not the next exotic superfood. Akrasia is a term coined from Ancient Greek philosophers which means an act that goes against one’s better judgement. It is the psychological phenomenon all humans experience in differing degrees that is displayed in the form of illogical reasoning.

Although many aim to maintain a healthy diet, people can find themselves choosing the doughnut over the salad. At times we go against our better judgement and take the option we know will cause more harm than good later on down the track. This is just human nature. It is how our bodies and brains are wired. Of course there’s no harm in the odd treat, we simply need to keep it in our awareness.

But here in lies the issue. When we don’t continue to maintain our awareness, when we let our mindfulness become clouded and our wellbeing practices slip, a simple ‘bad’ choice has the potential to cause a ripple effect that creates a vicious cycle. When we indulge too much in these decisions that result negatively, we find it harder and harder to right our wrong and come back to making those healthy choices again.

All things in this universe revolve around balance, including the human psyche. The processes the brain goes through in the attempt to regain balance are called cycles. A vicious cycle is a repeating pattern of negative choices that results in deleterious outcomes. Vicious cycles can be exacerbated, such as being depressed about being depressed or becoming anxious about lack of sleep due to anxiety.

These emotions can then manifest in our physical decisions such as being too exhausted to come to the mat for your health routine or meditation practice, or eating highly processed sugary treats to boost your ‘happiness’ because you’re depressed about poor health. The vicious cycle has the ability to manifest and grow.

In other words, humans can get stuck. But how do we get unstuck and remove ourselves from the cycle? First, accept the truth. Become totally aware of your inner self and what is going on emotionally and mentally. Medical researcher Mark Sisson believes “part of self-control is self understanding…Only then can you divert the narrative, anticipate your needs, and genuinely tend to your weaknesses before they get the better of you”. Meditate to become aware and investigate your true needs.

Once you understand yourself better you can set up for a new, more beneficial routine. Access any methods to boost your motivation to get going. Surround yourself with supportive people that can help you break free of the vicious cycle. Maintaining your physical practices such as yoga and pilates, as well as investing in your mental health through relaxation and meditation, will ensure your routine is strong. It will ensure you’re always aware of and listening to your body and mind, and it will ensure you can enjoy that odd doughnut without letting it impact you in a negative way.

When we are in a healthy state of mind and body we can easily make decisions that support longevity and happiness. Maintaining the motivation to engage in your health practices will give yourself the gift of greater positive experiences in the future.