Worried. Confused. Overwhelmed. Frustrated. Angry.
Ever feel any of these feelings? Yup, me too.
Ever feel any of these feelings all at the same time?? Yup, same here.
What about your child– have they ever felt these feelings all at the same time?!?
You might call this kind of situation “stressed out”, or maybe “flipping out” or “having a melt down”. At Brain Fit Academy, we refer to it as being “out of the loop”.
Now, being “out of the loop” doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel all those feelings I mentioned. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel that many at once. But those times of:
- Not being able to think because you’re so upset
- Yelling or slamming doors
- Avoiding the situation that you don’t want to deal with
- Crying and throwing a “tantrum”
- Feeling withdrawn and just wanting to be away from anything and everything
All of those? Well- they are when you are “out of the loop”.
I know, I know, you’re probably to the point in reading this where you are like- Amy, please- just tell what this “loop” that you keep talking about- is already!
So here it goes. This is the “Learning Loop”:
Yup, that’s the loop I keep talking about. See all those words on the outside of the “loop”? Outside of the circles? That’s the outside of the loop- the “out of the loop” part of this equation.
And the inside? Well, here is where the magic is supposed to happen. You see, inside the loop is where (ideally) we want to spend our time.
There’s the “Stop and Think” side. This is where- when we learn something new, we have to take time and brain power to think about it. Stop and think. We might have to take it step-by-step, like when we’re doing something for the first time. I’ll give you an example: When my son first went gluten free (due to a gluten sensitivity) I was in “stop and think” pretty much anytime I had to cook anything. I had to think about using separate pans and spoons as to not cross-contaminate his food. I had to make sure that I was giving him the gluten free items on the table so that he wouldn’t end up eating the wrong thing and feeling sick.
Up until that point- cooking for me had been a “move and think” type of activity. I learned to cook when I was a teenager so by the time I was an adult, I didn’t have to do a whole lot of thinking when making a meal. It was familiar and I could “do it with ease”. But there I was, in a new situation where cooking had to be SLOWED down, and I had to spend time in the “stop and think” side of the loop.
Now, whenever we learn something new, we want to spend time in the “stop and think” side. We want to take our time and learn the new information, the new routine, the new skill, the new “normal” (think COVID-19!).
But here’s the thing. We don’t want to get stuck. We don’t want to get stuck on the “stop and think” side and not be able to get over to “move and think”. And conversely, we don’t want to get stuck on the “move and think” side either. We want to be able to move back and forth easily between the two sides- like a little dance.
Cue the pretty music:
Stop and Think <—> Move and Think <—> Stop and Think <—> Move and Think
Gracefully moving from one side to the other. Gracefully-just like a dance.
But what happens when we can’t do that? When we can’t dance gracefully from one side of the loop to the other?
Well- that’s when we get bopped out.
We get bopped “out of the loop”. Remember all those feelings on the outside of the loop? The frustration, and the worry. The avoidance and the feeling of being stuck. Those are all “out of the loop” behaviors. When you (or your child, or your student or your spouse, or whomever!) are having difficulty doing that little “stop and think”/”move and think” dance- you get bopped out of the loop. And I’m sure you would agree that is generally a place where we don’t want to stay!!
It’s ok though, you know. It’s ok that you may have gotten bopped out of the loop sometimes. It’s ok because it happens to all of us from time to time. We all can go from our nice pretty “stop and think”/”move and think” dances to being out of the loop. And sometimes it can happen pretty darn fast- can’t it?
Like I said however- it’s ok. And you know what? There are ways. There are ways that you can get back into the loop. You may have used deep breaths before to get back into the loop. Maybe you used the “count to ten” strategy to help you get back into the loop. Maybe you just walked away and let yourself calm down.
But for Brain Fit folks? Well, we teach a whole host of movements that can help us get back in the loop. We teach our clients movements that can help the brain access thoughts. We teach movements that help calm the body and nervous system. We teach movements that help you to cross the midline of the body so that the left and right sides of the brain can work together effectively.
We help our families learn strategies and movements that can help during those “flipping out”, “stressed out”, “Out of the Loop” moments.
As for me with my “stop and think” situation with my son’s food? I did my little dance between “stop and think” and “move and think” for quite awhile. And yes, I definitely spent some time “out of the loop”.
Looking back, I sure wish I had the strategies I have now. Because the one thing I know for sure? Using Brain Fit movements, those “out of the loop” times would have been a lot less difficult, and a lot less frequent.
We’re all going to find ourselves “out of the loop” sometimes- that’s life. But wouldn’t it be nice to have ways to get yourself back in?