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The Reverse Snowball Effect

It is common that people describe the experience of what I will call, The Snowball Effect. One thing leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another with the result being an exponential enlarging of a phenomenon, sometimes undesired, such as an enlarged state of anxiety or exhaustion, an ever enlarging array of mess and clutter, or a growing backlog of work/schoolwork. Many people who see me for psychotherapy tell me about an experience of this.

So this week a phrase and approach that’s been on my mind is what I will call, The Reverse Snowball Effect. This is the phenomenon where we do things intentionally to try to slow down the speed at which the undesired snowball grows and where we also do things to intentionally try to reduce the size of our snowball. To work on the reverse snowball effect, you could experiment with asking yourself, “What can I do in this moment that would make my snowball bigger? What can I do in this moment that would make my snowball smaller or that would keep it at the same size?” Based on your answers and the direction toward which you want your snowball to go, you could see what feels most helpful for you to do and/or to not do in that moment and go from there.

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