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Episode: 053

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Something that is incredibly important, yet rarely considered, is the power of our thoughts. Every day, our minds are filled with thoughts that shape how we think, how we feel, and how we behave. Often, people seeking change will focus entirely on the outward behaviors without stopping to consider the thoughts behind the behavior.

“Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to behavior.” Debra Fileta

If there’s any hope of significantly changing a behavior, response, or reaction in your life, you’ve got to start with understanding the thoughts fueling those behaviors.1

The ABCs of Therapy

In counseling, the ABCs of Therapy is a tool that proves helpful when thinking about change.

ABCs of Therapy

A = The activating event
B = Your beliefs about the event
C = The consequence

The Activating Event

An experience that triggers negative, harmful, or irrational thoughts.

Examples

A. Your boss brings up the project you are working on and asks about the status.

B. Your spouse tells you they really do not want to be late for church.

C. A friend brings up a recent social event that you were not invited to attend.

Your Beliefs About the Event

Scenario A:
Does he/she not know how hard I am working on this? I bet he/she feels like I am slacking off. I’m just not keeping up with his/her standards. He/she is probably thinking of firing me.

Scenario B:
My spouse just doesn’t see all of the things I had to do this morning, so our house would run smoothly. I feel so taken for granted around here. My spouse must not even care about me.

Scenario C:
What event was this? How did I manage to not be invited? They must not like hanging out with me. I bet they think I am not good enough for them. They are so fake, pretending to be my friends while not including me in their get-togethers.

While the thoughts and beliefs just mentioned are a bit dramatic, these beliefs do not have to be that way. The thoughts can be less dramatic but still lead your mind in a way you don’t want to go. Many times, we do not realize just how unhealthy our thoughts are because we are so used to thinking them. These negative thoughts become so automatic that we often won’t recognize them.

Throughout our day, our brains often gravitate towards what is easy. Frequently, the easy thoughts are negative beliefs. If we aren’t intentional, we’ll continue thinking about these until we take time to address them.

The Consequence

Let’s trace our thought patterns here for a minute.

The activating event led us to spiral into negative thinking. If we fail to take these thoughts captive, they will lead to negative feelings. This could mean a variety of feelings but often can surface in feelings of sadness, frustration, insecurity, shame, or embarrassment. Remember that thoughts lead to feelings, which leads to behaviors.

If we are not careful to catch this process midstream, our thoughts will take us down a path we don’t want to go on.

Closed off and Shutdown – you might withdraw or isolate yourself from others.

Defensive – you begin to blame others and everything else for anything that is wrong.

Aggressive – you find yourself yelling or using physical aggression towards others.

Hurtful – you are saying mean, negative things about others or find yourself being overly critical.

Coping – If you are like others, you might try to escape through drinking, overeating, shopping, or binge-watching TV.

While the ABC model typically stops here, Debra says she likes to add D. The D stands for do it differently.

Doing Things Differently

It is easy to feel like you may be stuck permanently following the same unhealthy thought patterns. The Bible is clear that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the power to change these patterns. The Bible instructs us not to follow the patterns of this world. We can renew our minds by reading God’s Word and through prayer.

In future episodes, we will dive deeper into the how of changing our thought life. For now, I want to encourage you to change how you are going about things. Debra calls this “Doing things differently.”

As you begin to pay more attention to your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you will start to recognize patterns. Oftentimes, you may notice you take certain paths each time you face triggering events.

Please know that you can change the paths you take. At first, you may think this is ridiculous. As you spend more intentional time and effort working on this, you can begin to take small steps toward change. All of this starts with A-B-C-D.

Regardless of your default mode, you can change! A great place to start is to reach out to God in prayer. Another great tool is to be part of a loving community that understands the challenges you are facing. If you have yet to check out Overflow, I would encourage you to head over to https://overflow.community/connect.

Verse for Reflection

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Source

[1] Fileta, D. (2023). Reset. Harvest House Publishers.

Transcript

0:00:00.240,0:00:07.880
welcome to the Overflow podcast my name is Craig
Booker the title of this episode is default mode

0:00:07.880,0:00:13.600
the material in this episode is inspired by
reset by Deborah feda I will talk a lot about

0:00:13.600,0:00:19.320
mental health but please note that this is not
a substitute for therapy or mental health care

0:00:19.320,0:00:26.200
something that is incredibly important yet rarely
considered is the power of our thoughts every day

0:00:26.200,0:00:33.280
our minds are filled with thoughts that shape
how we think how we feel and how we behave often

0:00:33.280,0:00:39.720
people seeking change will focus entirely on the
outward behaviors without stopping to consider

0:00:39.720,0:00:47.080
the thoughts behind the behavior Deborah feda
says that thoughts lead to feelings which lead

0:00:47.080,0:00:55.400
to behavior if there’s any hope of significantly
changing a behavior response or reaction in your

0:00:55.400,0:01:03.040
life you’ve got to start with understanding the
thoughts fueling those behaviors in counseling the

0:01:03.040,0:01:09.680
ABCs of therapy is a tool that proves helpful
when thinking about change let’s give a quick

0:01:09.680,0:01:18.440
rundown of the ABCs of therapy a stands for the
activating event b stands for your belief about

0:01:18.440,0:01:27.560
the event and C is the consequence of the event
all right so first up the activating event what

0:01:27.560,0:01:34.760
is this it’s an experience that that triggers
negative harmful or irrational thoughts let’s

0:01:34.760,0:01:42.680
talk about some examples so first off a your boss
brings up the project that you’re working on and

0:01:42.680,0:01:51.040
asks about the status B your spouse tells you they
really do not want to be late for church and C A

0:01:51.040,0:01:57.280
Friend brings up a recent social event that you
were not invited to attend let’s dig into your

0:01:57.280,0:02:04.680
beliefs about the event scenario a so your boss
has brought up a project that you’re working on

0:02:04.680,0:02:10.760
wanting to know the status so your beliefs about
the event might be does he or she not know how

0:02:10.760,0:02:17.720
hard I am working on this I bet he feels like
I’m slacking off I’m just not keeping up with

0:02:17.720,0:02:27.680
her standards he is probably thinking of firing
me scenario B so remember with scenario B is your

0:02:27.680,0:02:33.200
spouse tells you that they really do not want to
be late for church your thoughts about this might

0:02:33.200,0:02:38.920
be my spouse just doesn’t see all the things I
had to do this morning so our house would run

0:02:38.920,0:02:47.280
smoothly I feel so taken for granted around here
my spouse must not even care about me scenario c

0:02:47.280,0:02:53.640
a friend brings up a recent social event that you
are not invited to attend so your thoughts about

0:02:53.640,0:03:01.200
this might be what event was this how did I manage
not to be invited they must not like hanging out

0:03:01.200,0:03:08.000
with me I bet they think I’m not good enough for
them they are so fake pretending to be my friends

0:03:08.000,0:03:14.680
while not including me in their gett togethers
all right so these are some examples and while

0:03:14.680,0:03:22.840
the thoughts and beliefs just mentioned are a bit
dramatic these beliefs do not have to be that way

0:03:22.840,0:03:30.160
the thoughts can be less dramatic but still lead
your mind in a way that you don’t want to go many

0:03:30.160,0:03:36.280
times we do not realize just how unhealthy our
thoughts are because we get so used to thinking

0:03:36.280,0:03:43.920
them these negative thoughts become so automatic
that we often won’t recognize them throughout our

0:03:43.920,0:03:50.440
day our brains often gravitate towards what is
easy frequently the easy thoughts are negative

0:03:50.440,0:03:56.360
beliefs if we aren’t intentional we’ll continue
thinking these until we take the time to address

0:03:56.360,0:04:04.480
them all right so C the consequence let’s Trace
our thought patterns here for a minute so the

0:04:04.480,0:04:11.040
activating event the a has led us to spiral
into negative thinking if we fail to take these

0:04:11.040,0:04:17.320
thoughts captive they will lead to negative
feeling this could mean a variety of feelings

0:04:17.320,0:04:25.320
but often can Surface in feelings of sadness
frustration insecurity shame or embarrassment

0:04:25.320,0:04:32.280
remember thoughts lead to feelings which lead
to behaviors if we’re not careful to catch this

0:04:32.280,0:04:39.880
process Midstream our thoughts will take us down
a path we don’t want to go on some examples of

0:04:39.880,0:04:46.160
places it could take us that we don’t want to go
it could result in us being closed off and shut

0:04:46.160,0:04:53.440
down you might withdraw or isolate yourself from
others second you might be defensive you begin

0:04:53.440,0:04:59.520
to blame others and everything else for anything
that is wrong next uh you might be come aggressive

0:04:59.520,0:05:05.720
Rive you might find yourself yelling or using
physical aggression towards others and next up

0:05:05.720,0:05:10.560
is hurtful you’re saying mean and negative
things about others or find yourself being

0:05:10.560,0:05:18.000
overly critical and last coping if you are like
others you might try to escape through drinking

0:05:18.000,0:05:26.040
overeating shopping or bench watching TV while
the ABC model typically Stops Here Deborah says

0:05:26.040,0:05:35.040
she likes to add D the d stands for do differently
doing things differently it is easy to feel like

0:05:35.040,0:05:41.560
you may be stuck permanently following the same
unhealthy thought patterns the Bible is clear

0:05:41.560,0:05:48.280
that by the power of the Holy Spirit we have the
power to change these patterns the Bible instructs

0:05:48.280,0:05:54.680
us not to follow the patterns of this world we can
renew our minds by reading God’s word and through

0:05:54.680,0:06:00.880
prayer in future episodes we will dive deeper
into the how of changing ing our thought life

0:06:00.880,0:06:07.080
for now I want to encourage you to change how
you are going about things Deborah calls this

0:06:07.080,0:06:12.920
doing things differently as you begin to pay
more attention to your thoughts feelings and

0:06:12.920,0:06:20.080
actions you will start to recognize patterns often
times you may notice you take certain paths each

0:06:20.080,0:06:26.680
time you face triggering events please know that
you can change the path that you take at first

0:06:26.680,0:06:32.880
you may think this is ridiculous as you spend
more intentional time and effort working on this

0:06:32.880,0:06:41.960
you can begin to take small steps toward change
all of this starts with a b c and d regardless

0:06:41.960,0:06:49.400
of your default mode you can change a great place
to start is to reach out to God In Prayer another

0:06:49.400,0:06:55.600
great tool is to be part of a loving community
that understands the challenges you are facing

0:06:55.600,0:07:01.120
if you have yet to check out overflow I would
encourage you to head over to overflow.com

0:07:01.120,0:07:13.000
community/ connect verse for reflection Romans 12
Romans 12:2 says do not conform to the pattern of

0:07:13.000,0:07:19.720
this world but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind then you’ll be able to test and approve

0:07:19.720,0:07:27.800
what God’s will is his good pleasing and perfect
will that’s all for this episode if you like the

0:07:27.800,0:07:33.440
video please give us a thumbs up up and be sure to
subscribe so you don’t miss out on future episodes

Show Notes

Episode Description

In this episode, we discuss the chapter Default Mode. This is part of a study inspired by Reset – Powerful Habits to Own Your Thoughts, Understand Your Feelings, and Change Your Life by Debra Fileta. We take concepts from the book each week and apply them to brain health.

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Last updated on: 02/26/2024

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