Podcast Episode 71 – Psychology, Mind Shifts, and Mind Renewal

Jul 2, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 71 Renew Your Mind with the Mind Shift tool. 

DIANA: Hey. Hey, everybody. How’s everyone doing this week? How do you think I’m doing? I’m always fine. Everything’s fine. Everything’s good. I mean, it doesn’t matter what’s going on. We could have a car breakdown or someone break a bone or any of these other things that have been happening in my family, and everything is just fine. This is life. We’re living the dream. This is what being a human is all about, normal stuff. So I am doing great. I want to get into a little bit of psychology with you guys today here. You game? I’m always talking through topics and ideas with you here on the podcast, and psychology and psychological practices and theories. They’re really often at the core or the foundation of what I’m talking to you about. In addition to scriptures, especially, I was talking about it again today when I was a guest on someone else’s podcast. Um philippians. Philippians 4. And there’s passages throughout Scripture, whether it’s Philippians or Romans twelve or Colossians or Psalm one, there’s so many places where the Bible tells us how to direct our, uh, thinking. So all that is a part of what I’m teaching you here on this podcast. 

But today I want to visit a couple of theories from psychology that have directed the main tool I use when I’m coaching people with a tool I call the Mind Shift Tool. If you’ve coached with me before, if you went to the Renew Your Mind boot camp in spring, and, um, by the way, I’m doing another boot camp this fall. But if you’ve been to that stuff or worked with me, you’ve heard of the Mind Shift Tool and you’ve seen it in use, or you’ve used it for yourself, or I’ve helped you use it. But for those of you who’ve listened to the podcast, I do talk about it, but not in detail very often. So I want to get into it a little bit more specifically with you today, because really, it’s just at the core of everything that I bring to you guys here every week. So hang on with me for a few minutes as I describe the theories that are used in psychology and psychotherapy. And then if you make it through that, I’m going to go quick. It’ll be painless, I promise. 

Then I’m going to get to the Mind Shift Tool, which I think you’ll see is these psychological principles simplified and make it really easy for you to use and apply in your own life. The theories I’m going to talk to you about today are relational emotive behavior theory and cognitive behavioral theory. So in relational emotive behavior theory, this has been around since the 1960s and I think cognitive behavioral therapy was around at that same time. This must have just been a lot of what psychologists were working on at that time, but they’re still used today. Relationally motive behavior theory was introduced by a guy named Albert Ellis. That’s all I really know about him. I don’t know much else, but he also introduced a process with this theory called the ABCDE method. I guess if it’s in alphabetical order, we think it’s going to be easy to remember. I can never remember what it is though, so that’s why I still wanted something more simple. But this ABCDE method I’m going to tell you what all the letters stand for. It helps to inform people of how they emotionally disrupt themselves. Or I just call it self sabotage. The approach in this theory is used to identify and release ourselves from irrational, maladaptive thinking. 

Thinking that doesn’t work well for us and it makes room for adaptive thinking that does work well for us and logical and rational beliefs to come to our focus. Instead, the goal is to use deductive and logical reasoning in situations to avoid having our feelings dictate our behavior or our perceptions, or our, uh, attitudes. So, a very brief overview of the ABC. Wait, ABCDE? Yeah, ABCDE approach. Just the letters in order. You think I could remember that? All right. A an activating event. Something happens in our life, there is a trigger, an incident or something that happened that starts, ah, a reaction in us. So A is the activating event something that’s happening outside of ourselves in our environment? Next is B it’s our belief. Now we have a belief about that activating event. It’s our self talk, it’s our thoughts. It’s the voice in our head that we hear all day long. It’s what goes on in your mind during or immediately after the activating event happens. C is consequences. 

So we have an activating event. Then we have some beliefs about it and then there’s consequences. And these are described as our feelings or our, uh, physical or physiological response and then the behaviors that accompany that emotion and we bring this to the situation. Then we have D where we debate it or we dispute it or we discard it. We think about these beliefs that are going on in our head by debating, disputing, or discarding the self defeating or maladaptive thoughts or beliefs that occurred a couple of steps ago. This is where it starts getting complicated for me. But anyway, a activating event b beliefs about it, c the consequences is all the emotive and emotional stuff that happens after. Then D debating where we are actively thinking about what’s going on. And then e is the effect when you put it all together. 

This has an effect in your life where it’s disrupting the kind of life you want, where it ingrains more irrational or untrue beliefs into your system of thinking. All right, that is a quick summary of relational emotive behavior theory. Now let’s talk about cognitive behavioral theory. This is used by therapists to help teach patients how to develop their own effective ways of coping with a range of issues or problems that could be things like depression or anxiety or panic disorders or disruptive emotions or disruptive behaviors. It’s centered around the idea or, uh, the concept that a person who’s experiencing challenges or painful emotions or having difficulties because of their faulty or thinking because of their faulty thinking or behavior, and they might be called thinking errors, okay? It’s telling us that our thoughts about a situation, our, uh, beliefs, that’s everything that’s creating the difficulty, it leads to a negative voice in our head that’s having a heyday with judgment and guilt and discouragement or procrastination or worry or anything. I mean, honestly, cognitive behavioral theory works for our advantage, too. 

If we’re not managing it, it’s disruptive. If we are managing it, we can create an amazing life or a great experience. So cognitive behavioral theory is about helping you identify and change those negative thought patterns and behaviors that are sabotaging your life and your well being. Its purpose is to help you change your thinking to where it’s more true, more realistic, more advantageous for you, and away from catastrophizing or putting yourself in a place of, um, perpetual worry or frustration or self defeat. And it also identifies how the actions of other people and the events in our life, the things happening outside of us, are out of our control and to not let those dictate our state of well being or malbeing. So see how this sounds very familiar to how I talked to you guys. 

These are what have helped me go from feeling anxious every day to having peace, regardless of the situation. These foundational concepts are, uh, what allowed me to go from feeling kind of like I was going a little bit crazy to feeling sane and in control, regardless of what other people do. These tools moved me from being stuck to being in the driver’s seat of building a life I love. And when I wanted to start teaching it to my clients and go out speaking and all that stuff, I just knew I needed to make it easier to teach. I don’t like being complicated, simple, and practical. That’s always where I get my leverage. So I spent at least a year. I’ve got pages in my planners and in notebooks of diagrams and circles and boxes and different words and phrases and arrows, all trying to figure out an easy way to teach us. 

Finally, it hit me. Three simple phrases what you think, what you feel what you do, if you want to feel better, if you want to create a better outcome, if you want to have more peace, if you want to reduce anxiety, or stop sabotaging yourself from the life you want, and then empower yourself to create the life you want. The magic key is understanding and then directing what you think, what you feel, what you do. It happens in that order. First, we start by evaluating the situation that’s already happened or that you’re in the middle of experiencing. I, um, mean, we do use this for future, too, but I’m not going to get into using the Mind Shift tool, as I call it, for future. We’re just going to talk about using it for a situation that’s recently happened or that’s in the middle of happening. We use it to evaluate, uh, what’s going on. 

First, we have a situation, and if we could think of it really simple, we just got to identify what it is that we want to use this tool on. It’s not this hour long phone call that you had with somebody. It was difficult. And the whole situation, we can just bring it down to something simple that we can take a look at, like something that person said to you that made you feel offended. Or if it’s a job thing. It’s not that there’s many, many projects at work and your job is stressful. We’re going to think about a situation that’s a moment in time, maybe when the boss asked you to do this one specific project, and then you had a thought and a feeling about that. Okay, so we use this Mind Shift tool to examine a moment in time and evaluate what we think, what we feel, and what we do. First, we look at the thought, then we look at the emotion, and then we can see the behavior that came out of those in any specific moment in time. So, to make this even easier, I will use an example. I asked a client that I coached last week if I could tell you this story, but I made it generic enough so you won’t know who she is. But she gave me permission, so let’s, uh, use it. I think this is a great example, and it almost sounded like something too simple, because, you know, when people do coaching, they think, oh, I have to bring my life’s problems. No, we can do something super simple. 

Remember on the podcast a few weeks ago when I talked about a game on my phone? We really can coach on anything and help get leverage and learn how to think differently. So, for my client, she wanted to go on a road trip home. She was living in a different state from where her friends and her daughter, uh, lived, and she wanted to take a road trip home. She said when she brought it up to her husband, he threw obstacles in her way. So it was seeming overwhelming, and she was making no plans to do this road trip. So I asked more like, what do you mean your husband’s throwing obstacles in your way? And she said, well, I say, I want to go. And then he asks, well, who’s going to take care of the dog? And he asks some other questions, like, when would you go? Where are you going to stay? How long is it going to be? And so I was like, obstacles, huh? I asked her, Is he actually throwing obstacles in your way, or is he just talking? Is he just saying things? And she said, well, he does tell me that he really wants me to go. And if I say, Why are you throwing obstacles in my way? He says, I’m not trying to. I’m just wondering who’s going to take care of the dog? Okay, so all these extra thoughts were not getting to her core. Thought about it. All right. She wanted to take a trip home, and she was having all these thoughts about her husband throwing obstacles in her way, and we needed to just simplify it. So I said, well, let’s think about it. You want to take a trip home to see your daughter and friends? And I said, So you’re thinking about doing it? And she said, well, what if nobody wants to see me? What if I make this trip home and none of my friends want to do anything with me or hang out with me? And I’m like, okay, okay, here we go. That’s what’s going on. You’re having the thought, what if nobody wants to see me? Pro tip. 

If you’re examining your thoughts, notice that one was a question. We just need to flip it into a statement of some sort. We need to answer the question or turn it into a statement. So her question was, what if nobody wants to see me? Well, the thought that is within that question is, I’m going to drive all that way, and my daughter and my friends might not want to see me. I asked, if that’s what you’re thinking. What do you feel? She’s like, Man, I feel unimportant or insignificant. Which is interesting, because she’s creating this situation. In her head, she didn’t even know if any of her friends or daughter would end up seeing her or not, but in the meantime, she imagined they wouldn’t, and she was feeling insignificant before she even went. Well, while she’s feeling insignificant now, remember the mind shift tool three things what you think, what you feel, what you do. She was thinking, I’ll drive all that way, and my daughter and friends won’t want to see me. What she was feeling was insignificant. So what did she do? What behavior? Her behavior was to not make plans, to spin in thoughts about no one would want to see her, to procrastinate her plans and not make them and blame her husband for throwing obstacles in her way. Isn’t that fascinating? She wanted to go home and see her daughter and friends. 

She had a thought that she’d drive all that way and no one would want to see her. So what she felt was insignificant. What she did was not make plans, spin on the negative thoughts, and throw her husband under the bus. And what did she get from all of this? What was her outcome? Her outcome was she wasn’t going to get to see her daughter or her friends because she didn’t plan a trip. Her m fear was no one would want to see her. And what she created with that thought was, no, she was going to see no one because she wasn’t going. The brain created that outcome for her based on what she thought. Such a good brain. It’s like, okay, you think no one’s going to see you. I’ll make that happen. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to feel insignificant, not make plans. Voila. You don’t see anyone. 

This was awesome awareness. To be able to see what was going on behind the scenes in her brain made it so clear. It’s huge. I always say levered or, um, awareness is such leverage to understand what’s going on and change it. If you all you ever do is get leverage, things are going to change from that place. Once you have used the Mind Shift tool to see what’s going on, to see why something isn’t going the way you would like, or why you feel terrible, or, uh, why you aren’t showing up the way you’d like to in your relationships, why you aren’t being the kind of person you want to be. From this place of understanding and awareness, you can try changing it. In this case, with my client, she wanted to change it. She’s like, I do want to make the trip. So we decided to work on this backwards because she already knew what she wanted for her outcome. She knew she wanted to get a trip. She wanted to be home. So we put that in at the end. So we’re going to work the mind shift tool backwards. But it’s easy. 

Remember, all it is is what you think, what you feel, what you do. So now we’ll do what you do, what you feel, what you think. I think I’ve done this working backwards on a podcast before. I’m not sure, but oh, you know what it is. Um, I do this in level two of my coaching program. This is like next level. I was trying to make it simple, and now I’m giving you guys advanced. Going backwards is a little bit advanced, but I hope it sounds simple when I explain it to you. All right, we’re going to start from the end. What she wanted to get was she goes on the trip, she gets a trip home, and she’s going to see people in her hometown she gets in the car and drives there, she’s going to see people, guaranteed. So I asked, what do you need to do to make this happen? Like, just behavior. What behavior needs to happen? She’s like, Well, I’ll need to pick a date, put it on my calendar, book a hotel, pack some clothes, contact my friends. She knew what to do. It wasn’t hard, right? You all know how to do that if you want to make a trip, that’s easy. And yet she wasn’t doing it because she was feeling insignificant. We know that’s not going to work. So what emotion? I asked, what emotion do you need to feel in order to do all those things? She’s like, I don’t know. I just need to do it. I’m like, well, the kind of emotion that’s I just need to do, it might just be determined or committed. She’s, like, determined. I like, that. I’m just determined. I’m just going to do these things. I’ll make it happen. I’m like, awesome. If you want to feel determined, what do you need to think? And she was coming up with a bunch of more complex thoughts, and I’m finally like, what if it’s just something like, um, I’m going? She’s like, can it be that easy? Like, yeah. You want to feel determined? Does I’m going. I’m just going on this trip. I’m going to do it. Do you feel determined? Just like, yeah. And she remembered another time where she had said something to herself. 

Like, I said, I’m doing it, so I’m doing it. So that’s what we landed on. Her new thought was, I say I’m going, so I’m going. All right. What you think? What you feel? What you do about her trip home? She thinks, I say, I’m going, so I’m going. What she feels is determined. And what she does is she makes the plans, and she gets in her car and she goes, what does she get? A trip, um, home. She can create that outcome all by changing a thought. All we need to do here is be willing to examine what’s going on in our heads without judgment. By the way, if we had looked at that and she judged herself, like, oh, my gosh, I’m being so stupid, thinking that no one’s going to want to see me. I shouldn’t be hating on, um, myself in that way. Now you just go down a rabbit trail with self judgment, and it does not allow you to be creative, to come up with a new way of thinking when you find what’s in there, do not judge. No judgment. Just awareness and curiosity. 

Judging will block us from thinking anything new. We want to be curious, and let’s have some compassion. Have compassion for ourselves. Of course I was procrastinating and not making plans because I was feeling insignificant. That totally makes sense. Oh, uh, I got it. I got you. It’s fine. It’s okay. All right. And then from that space of compassion for yourself and having that awareness and curiosity, you can be like, I wonder what I need to feel in order to do different actions. I wonder what I need to do. I wonder what I need to think. And a whole new way of looking at it opens up to you and frees you to create what you want for your life. That is the power of the Mind Shift tool. If I could give you guys just another super simple example, it’s going to be even more simple than the one I just shared with you. I had a phone call to make a few weeks ago. It doesn’t matter what it was. 

You know how some phone calls just you’re like, oh, I don’t really want to make that phone call. And so I scheduled a time to make my phone call. I put it on my calendar and I’m like, I’m just going to stick to it. So in the moments leading up to that phone call, I noticed my brain was thinking, oh my gosh, this is terrifying. This phone call is going to be terrifying. And I caught myself, I’m like, what the heck? If I think this phone call is going to be terrifying, I’m going to feel terrified the whole time. I’m like, that’s not what I want. What do I want to think? You know what? I just want to think it’s all going to be fine. There’s not a problem here. It’s just a phone call. I don’t even remember what emotion I didn’t even know what emotion that was. I suppose just peace. I mean, peace doesn’t always feel fantastic or calm, just like it just is. I wanted to neutralize it so it wasn’t terrifying. So I thought, you know what, here’s my new thought. I’m going to dial a number on my phone. Someone else is going to answer. 

They’re going to say words. I’m going to say words. We’re going to assign meaning to these words while we have a discussion, and then it will be over. And I just did that on the fly. And then I made the call without any terror. We can do that whenever we want. Any little mind Shift we make makes a big difference. I imagine this episode was helpful. I always decide that there is somebody out there who is going to be blessed or helped or relieved from this podcast. Maybe it was you. If so, you’re welcome. Not in an arrogant way, but I do this because this stuff works. I get on the podcast to help you in any little way I can. And it is my pleasure and I’m so happy I was able to bring this to you today. 

If there’s anything you want to hear on the podcast or you have questions for me, make sure you go to the Renew Your Mind Facebook community. There is a link to it on Rympodcast.com. Or you can go to Facebook and find Diana Swillinger coaching. I have it pinned at the top of my page, and I would love to see you there. And you can ask questions next week, rhianna is going to be back on the podcast asking me questions. And, uh, if you want to have her ask me one of your questions right there in the Facebook group, and we will get that question answered on the podcast, and you will be a part of helping some other person out there, because your question, somebody else needs to hear it, too. Guaranteed. We’re all in this together. All right, that is what I have for you guys this week, so I will catch you next week. Until then, take care of you. 

As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com, to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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