If only the inertia was not there to slow me down
The inertia of the mind urges it to slide down the easy slope of imagination, rather than to climb the steep slope of introspection. Marcel Proust
Inertia: a property of matter following which a body remains at rest or in uniform motion unless acted upon by some external force.
In the physical realm of material objects, it is hard to start moving from the position of rest. Similarly, when moving, objects prefer to keep, well, just keep moving.
This tendency of material objects is encapsulated as Newton’s first law of motion. Bringing any change requires a force that is exerted by something external to the object.
In life a similar law of inertia also plays out. Although the premise is not material objects but our psychological dimensions, the concept is the same. It is hard to deviate from the status quo.
It is not easy to get started on new activities (and turn them into habits), or once habits are in place, a conscious effort is required to make a change.
I witnessed this tendency again recently in a habit I picked up, and now I am having a challenging time breaking out of it.
The habit has to do with taking vitamin B-complex supplements.
The reason I got started down this road is the strange affliction of dermatographia I have been struggling with for about one year. I have no clue what triggered it. It is nothing life threatening but is affecting quality of life as a minor incidence of scratching can devolve into intense episodes of itching that leave me exhausted and panting.
Another fall out is that the symptoms exacerbate in the night and wake me up a couple of times, and thereby, have been interrupting sleep.
Not knowing the cause behind it, the mind naturally goes exploring in different directions and brings up different hypotheses for possible attribution. Perhaps, mind wonders, it is a manifestation of something else more serious out of whack in the body that I do not yet know about. Perhaps it is a sign of some nutrient deficiency like lack of some amino acid or vitamin in my diet.
If it is the deficiency of some vitamin, the mind argues, why not throw the kitchen sink at it and take vitamin B-complex. In doing so, perhaps something will click, and the ailment will be cured.
That is how I got started down the path of starting to take the vitamin B-complex, and now I am finding it hard to get out of the a habit it has become.
There are a myriad of reasons for not being able to change the status quo and stop taking B-complex. The reasons are embedded in strange twists and turns of human psychology.
After a couple of months of being on the regimen, I am not quite sure it has helped or not, but when I think about stopping, a thought creeps in and says what if the “positive” influence of pill is subtle and if you stop you will slide back.
The argument hints to the psychological fear of missing out (FOMO). I am not sure what positive effect the B-complex is having but if it has, stopping is only going to have an adverse impact.
Mixed with FOMO, and a closely related psychological factor is the fear of regression.
There is a thought that says that discontinuing the supplement will result in a return to my previous health problem. Mind you, I am not quite sure if the problem has gone away, but by stopping I do not want to disturb the balance of the universe and take two steps back.
The other obvious culprit is psychological inertia. After two months, taking a supplement has become a daily habit and now is part of my morning routine going through which feels comforting.
Breaking habits, even those with uncertain benefits, is a challenge due to some deep-seated psychological aspects — FOMO, fear of regression, and a tendency to maintain status quo.
Why try to fix something that is not broken?
So, for now, following the law of (psychological) inertia I continue to take a pill of B-complex each morning.
Perhaps what I should do is to start taking it on alternate days, and if nothing feels different then after a while, take it every three days. After a while perhaps I will forget to take the pill once in a while and one day, I will just stop.
From that day on, if nothing else, then I will save some hard-earned money.