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Your brain can get out of balance for all kinds of reasons maybe you are under a lot of stress, or something physical , such as a virus is affecting your immune system and changing your mood. But as we saw , a common reason that our brains get out of the balance is that we get locked into spirals between types of thinking and feeling.

This happen partly because humans have evolved to be able to think , reason, plan, imagine, anticipate, and ruminate , more than any other animal. This is good in that it allows us to solve complex problems , anticipate future difficulties and create wonderful things too – it gives rise to science, medicine and mobile phones.

But these human abilities can also cause us all of kinds of difficulties .

Here’s an example to show how . Consider a zebra running away from a lion. After ten minutes or so the lion gets exhausted and wanders off. The zebra will very quickly calm down , return to the herd and start eating again.

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However, in contrast , if this was to happen to a human, relief would be associated with beginning to anticipate , imagine and ruminate :’ Oh gosh [or some other four letters word], can you imagine what would have happened if I had been caught by the lion ? I can just picture myself now being chocked to death and eaten alive agony… ‘ Intrusive images might come into their mind over and over . They might wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking , ‘ What will happen tomorrow if the lions are still about? And what about my children ? And what about …’ Unlike the zebra , they would be going into a state of shock partly because of the constant holding it in mind.

Now. in one way this is our threat system trying to forewarn us, but in another way it is going to trap us into constantly worrying about the lions, holding our body in a state of high tension and anxiety . Our zebra does not have any of these problems! So human are constantly thinking , quite naturally , ‘What if … ?’ and suppose ….?’ And because we are creative we often come up with the worst scenarios. We can also look back on things and think , ‘If only I had … ‘ or ‘ If only I hadn’t ….’ These are perfectly natural and normal ways of thinking , but they can also be very troublesome indeed if we don’t take steps to notice them and get out of the loops.

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