Getting Stuck in a Bad Cycle is a Pain

Let your unhappiness and frustrations be your fuel to break your vicious cycles

Trina Hall

You ever gotten into a situation where you got stuck in a bad, stale, or painful routine where the same things repeated themselves over and over? At some point in our lives this has happened to us. Either we did it to ourselves intentionally or someone put us in that predicament. There are times where a series of unfortunate events happen to us that is out of our control where we get caught up in a vicious cycle. I’ve been caught up in vicious cycles by my own doing or having things out of my control work against me. So your not alone if you think vicious cycles only applies to you.

What is a Vicious Cycle

A cycle where you find yourself repeating unhealthy, unwanted, behavior, that has become a bad habit, or part of a routine is a vicious cycle or circle. We can put ourselves in this predicament intentionally and unintentionally. For example, an unhealthy routine can be so ingrained and our way of living that we don’t notice it. We don’t notice the bad habits or the unpleasant things we’re doing because in a way they have become second nature to us. A vicious cycle can also consist of unhealthy repeated behavior between you and another person. For example, you may not get along with your sibling and every time you try to talk about anything, you both wind up arguing about something and you both wind up in a bad mood. It’s a vicious cycle if it’s happened numerous times even when you try to avoid it. You just feel stuck in it and you think you can’t break free.

What Can This Cycle Do You

This cycle can take a toll on you physically and mentally. Mentally, it can lower your confidence, affect your self-esteem, and your self-worth. You may believe that you will never get out of it no matter how hard you try or how much help you get. It could get so bad that you believe that you deserve this unhealthy way of life because it’s happening you so many times. An unhealthy way of thinking can lead to tough problems even down the road.

Physically, a vicious cycle can be draining to where you don’t have the energy to do anything. You may have heard the fight-or-flight response. When under stress, your body goes into this mode. The fight-or-flight response is the help us with survival situations. These situations are avoiding a dangerous animal or person, making sure we’re safe during a dangerous storm, making sure we stay focused when were traversing through rough terrain. As time has going on, the fight-or-flight response has gone into overdrive. Our body recognizes that we’re in a unhealthy, unsafe, or unpleasant situation so it’s putting out energy (cortisol and adrenaline) to help us get through it. These days situations like being stuck in traffic or waiting in a long line, arguing with someone are triggering the fight-or-flight response. These situations are draining our energy making it tough to do anything. With our energy being low or depleted, it makes it harder for us to deal and cope with anxiety, tough situations, or do the things we enjoy doing.

Break the Cycle

If your stuck in a vicious, or stale cycle, here are some ways to get out of it:

1. Try doing something brand new

2. Relinquish control

3. Challenge your thoughts and the situation

4. Look for repeated behaviors you do that are good

5. Open up to others


Doing something entirely new is a great way to disrupt the cycle. Skydiving, traveling to a new country, learning how to scuba dive, learning a new language, are just a few ways to change things up in your life. Engaging in something new means you have no prior knowledge or experience. So the unhealthy, unwanted, and repeated behaviors have nothing to attach to. You can use this as an opportunity to start a healthy, fun, and proactive cycle.

If you’re in a vicious cycle where you’re trying to control something that you can’t, but you keep trying and keep failing, it’s best to just give up on that. Repeated attempts that have ended with the same result over and over and it’s affecting your health in a negative way, indicates that you should just stop it. There are things in this world that we can’t control like peoples behavior. Giving up on that control means that you are stopping the cycle.

The vicious cycle may be going on in your mind. Your mindset may be stuck in an unhealthy way of thinking. You may be dealing with unwanted stress, believing in lies about yourself, or thinking you’re a failure and will never succeed at anything. In reality, a situation is just a situation. It becomes a stressful situation when we attribute stress or anxiety to it. To break free, breakdown your thought process and the situation by challenging it and seeing what is real and what is not. From my own experience, I have found that I set unrealistic expectations for myself, so I changed the way I thought about some things. I picked apart my thought process and eliminated unrealistic and unhealthy thoughts about life, people, and myself.

One way to break a vicious cycle is integrate good behaviors into a new cycle. For example, if you watch something on TV that excites you, you can use that high morale to exercise. After exercising, you may have more confidence to do things that you may have been hesitant to do before. You acquire a new life experience or you learn something new which you can share with a family member or friends. You share this experience or information and your back talking about that TV show that excited you. As you can see one good thing led to another and another. You can turn the vicious cycle into a proactive, happy, and fun one.

Sometimes opening it up and talking things out can break the cycle. A cycle that consists of arguing back and forth with no resolve could be stopped by talking calmly instead of yelling and listening to the other person instead of interrupting them. Both of you coming up with solutions and trying to figure out what can work instead of it being one-sided.

Final Thoughts and Sum Up

A vicious cycle can be harmful to you. Remember if you’re stuck in one, you can get out of it. Don’t think that you’re the only one who is dealing with it. All it takes is one action to break the cycle. Don’t let yourself be a prisoner of your own mind. Ask for help to get out of it. If you’re stuck in a vicious cycle that includes another person or group of people, it may be best to forget about the other person or people all together. You decide how you want to live. If you don’t like being stuck in a stale or vicious cycle, you have the power to free yourself from it. It’s ok if you have to ask for help.

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