The OODA Loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act
Training methodology for US fighter pilots
OK, the vast majority of us will never be a fighter pilot. There is something that we can use from their training in our struggle against depression.
Observe – Become aware of your emotions. Are you: sad, mad, glad, lonely, embarrassed, guilty? If it’s not one of those you are probably tightly coupling an emotion with a judgment. Where do those emotions show up in your body?
Become aware of your feelings – what are you physically sensing in this moment? Not judging something as good or bad, just sensing. I’m wet because it’s raining – not it’s raining and my life sucks.
Become aware of your thoughts. Are you in stinking thinking? Are you in some sort of cognitive dissonance? Are you planning, reminiscing, ruminating?
Orient – Now that you are aware of your current state (emotions, feelings, thoughts) what impact is your current state having on your depression? What are your options? Are there things that could think or do or change in your surroundings that would help your depression and lessen it?
Decide – Come up with a plan of what to do. Be willing to try new things. Decide on a course of action.
Act – Deciding was the hard part – just take action. Execute your plan.
The OODA loop is not a one and done proposition. You need to go back into the OODA loop. What was the outcome of the prior loop? Did your actions lessen or increase your suffering? Let go of the terms good & bad – there is too much emotional baggage with those terms. Think of using helpful or unhelpful – these are neutral words that don’t have the same baggage associated with them.
Do not try to be perfect in executing your OODA loop. Observe, orient, decide, act. Then do that again. You will get better at it over time. Your depression will lift. Be willing to be aware, come up with options, decide on a course of action then act!
You are worth it. You are worthy of healing.
Yours in recovery, Bill R