“Our brains equip us with a mechanism to monitor our mind and our behavior,” Dr. Davidson said, so that when we make errors, we are able to notice the mistake. “In order to recover, we first must notice that a mistake has occurred,” he said.
Just noticing that we’ve deviated from our expectations or goals — whether that’s eating too much or not completing a daily to-do list — isn’t necessarily the same thing as degrading ourselves into a shame spiral. In some cases, like when our safety or moral integrity are on the line, it’s crucial that our brains tell us good from bad so that we learn the right lessons from our experiences.
But sometimes, assigning negative value to our experiences and behaviors can “ensnare” us, Dr. Davidson said, into cycles of unhelpful rumination — like when you lie in bed at night needlessly replaying an awkward interaction or repeatedly revisiting that minor