Feedback Loops

Ever been caught in a feedback loop? You know, when of those times when your thoughts, emotions, choices and experiences keep reinforcing each other? In the Science of Mind, we identify it as part of the Divine Creative Process.

Here’s an example of a positive loop:

  • You’re enjoying some time with friends
  • You start thinking about how great your friends are
  • You feel more love
  • You put more energy into having fun with these wonderful people
  • You’re enjoying your time with friends even more
  • …and the loop continues

But feedback loops aren’t always positive.  The loop can also take us into a downward spiral like this:

  • You’re feeling a bit “blue”
  • You begin to notice all the little things that are wrong with life
  • Then you make choices that reflect this mistrust of what’s going on
  • The people around you begin treating you with mistrust or distance
  • You feel more blue—more marginalized
  • …and the loop deepens
The “loop” can take you up or down.

When we notice that we’re in a negative loop, how can we end it?

First of all, let’s recognize that the choice points in any loop are internal. We can’t depend on others or outward situations to change first. The place to start is within our own minds. Despite whatever negativity is going on in our environment, we must change gear internally first.

I give myself the mission of thinking and feeling better. I bring up memories and feelings of a time when things were more positive. I change my mood as best I can, using memories, music, readings, photos, etc. I try to re-experience previous feelings of love and goodness in the present moment. I remind myself that these good experiences are available right now.

I begin to look for good things happening around me—even if they’re hard to find. I question whether the negativity around me is real, or just a perception that I can change. I affirm that I can change my thinking, my attitude and my choices. I start using the Divine Creative Process in a positive way.

When negative thinking persists, especially worry or self-doubt, I tell myself, “Stop!” Sometimes I say it out loud and with great feeling, “Stop!” Then I begin to think about more positive things, people, places and situations. I begin to color my world with feelings and ideas of good and life.

I can seldom change the world outright. This part of the feedback loop is generally out of my control.

But I can always begin to change my thinking and, given time, the world will come around.