Name the Monkeys on Your Back (aka Ryan Gosling-ing)
My background is in marketing, and I still believe in this principle -- if you see it, name it. This is especially convenient when it comes to naming my own habits. You know, those things I do over and over again. Like when I obsessively think about a conversation that isn't going to happen til tomorrow, and run it over and over in my mind, working out the I said and then they said scenarios like some script-writer offering different options to the producer (aka Hamster Wheel). Or when I am pissed but haven't figured out that I am pissed yet but still think I am just tired and hungry, except I am digging into my plate like there's no tomorrow and on it is some version of something I don't really want to be eating (aka Eating French Fries). Or, if I am feeding my shame or embarrassment by using words like "but I should be more loving or more evolved or more gracious" when really I am feeling hateful, judgmental and mean (aka Beating Myself Up with a Spiritual Bat).
This way I can spend less time agonizing about why I am doing what I am doing (cuz I am) and who caused me to spiral (it doesn't matter) and shortcut straight to the moment where something happened so I can feel what I stepped over and get back in my flow.
The key to naming monkeys is to accept that they are going to be there for awhile. When we think about our less desirable patterns of behavior (aka Monkeys) as some fixable problem that will go away with a good book, a weekend retreat or years of therapy, we get hooked into them every time they pop up again -- what the hell are you doing here?? I got rid of you years ago!! Naming your monkeys tells them (and you) that they are here to stay because they're yours.
Instead of getting rid of them you figure out how to use them to get to the source of what is really irking you (aka Eating French Fries? "Shit, I said yes, when I wanted to say no! And now that long day of volunteering has left me feeling drained and resigned. Thanks for your help, monkeys!" Instead of following a long, shameful and false path of: "Eating french fries, eh? I have no will power, I don't value myself, I never take care of myself, I can't keep my word - what's wrong with me? What's wrong with me?!? What's wrong with me?!?!?" - which generally results in, you guessed it, eating more Fries. So there's another benefit of Naming Your Monkeys, less carb-loading.)
Next time you find yourself in a familiar pattern, try naming it instead of being frustrated by it. A few popular ones are Phone Call with Mom, Weekly Meeting with Boss, Tantruming Teen or Toddler (same thing). Of course, you could always just avoid the whole thing by watching a movie marathon, starting with The Notebook, followed by Crazy. Stupid.Love., and finally LaLaLand, and escape your monkeys by pretending you are the leading lady in a movie with your (second) favorite leading man (aka Figure It Out).