Get Out of Your Head: Workbook & Questions

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Get Out of Your Head" by Jennie Allen. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you understand the key ideas from Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen? How can you use a Get Out of Your Head workbook to apply the concepts to your own life?

Our Get Out of Your Head workbook is a collection of activities and exercises for Christians looking to win the spiritual battle of their mind. It includes advice for dealing with negative thinking, recognizing your own spiritual battles, and practicing gratitude.

Keep reading for our Get Out of Your Head workbook.

Get Out of Your Head Workbook

If you want to win the battle of your mind and learn to manage negative thoughts, try the following exercises from the Get Out of Your Head workbook:

Recognize the War in Your Own Mind

Jennie Allen says today’s primary spiritual war is taking place in our minds. One of the first steps to victory is to recognize the way this battle is currently active in your own life and self. This means you have to begin reflecting consciously on your own thinking.

  • What’s one specific way this spiritual battle manifests in your life? Identify a repetitive negative pattern of thought and/or behavior—a negative spiral—and briefly describe it. (For example, do you keep returning to a habit of criticizing your spouse even when you thought you had broken it? Do you sabotage job interviews or your career advancement by playing out entrenched feelings of incompetence or inferiority?)
  • Review Allen’s breakdown of the steps involved in mental spirals: Emotions give rise to thoughts, which lead to decisions, which manifest as behaviors, which affect relationships. Break your negative pattern down into these steps, and describe how the negative pattern works and/or shows up at each step.
  • Which of these five steps or levels most obviously or regularly shows itself in your life as problematic or toxic? How?
  • What did you uncover as the core emotion behind your negative life pattern? What insight does this bring? (In subsequent chapters, you’ll learn how to use such knowledge to replace negative patterns and downward spirals with positive patterns and upward, God-directed spirals.)

Make a Mental Story Map

Allen’s mental story map exercise brings out the current contents of your mind for evaluation. It provides a useful tool for taking the first step toward controlling your thoughts, which is to become aware of them.

  • Before continuing to the questions below, make a mental story map. First, draw the map, with your primary current emotion circled in the middle and its contributing factors surrounding it. Second, pray, search the scriptures, and talk to God about it. Third, look for common patterns and themes in the map. Finally, notice the storyline that these uncovered themes and thoughts have built about God.
  • Use the space below to record and reflect on what you learned from the exercise. First, what primary emotion did you list at the center? Anxiety? Anger? Shame? Contentment? 
  • What contributing factors did you list for your current emotion? Exactly how is each of them contributing?
  • What common patterns or themes do you notice in your map?
  • What story do the thoughts revealed by this exercise tell about God? Is that story true? Either way, what are the implications?

Reframe Negative Thoughts

Chapter 8 lays out a practical strategy for reframing negative thoughts by exposing them, deconstructing them, and replacing them with positive thoughts from God. 

  • Consider again the mental story map that you made earlier. Select one of your toxic thoughts that you identified and, if the thought isn’t already stated in the form of [negative emotion] + [reason], rephrase it that way below.
  • Now use the empowering rewritten pattern to change it: [negative emotion] and [reason], so I will [choice], with the “choice” being a deliberate embrace of some appropriate, scripturally based truth. Write the result below.
  • What insight does this exercise provide? How does it shed new light on your own mental processes and your ability to “mind your mind” and consciously shift your thoughts in a Godly direction?

Analyze a Fear

The book presents several strategies for surrendering your fears to God. This exercise leads you through practicing one of these.

  • Write one of your chief fears, something that persistently causes you anxiety and has the potential to knock you into a toxic thought spiral. (Are you afraid of close relationships? Do you suffer from anxious thoughts about failing publicly at your job? Do you lose sleep because you’re afraid for your family’s safety?)
  • What is the enemy’s lie that fuels this fear?
  • What is one scriptural truth that contradicts or replaces this fear?
  • What additional strategies can you use to surrender the fear to God? (For example, apply Philippians 4:6-7; spend time reflecting on God as the deepest and truest reality; pay attention to the manifestation of your fear in your body; use the modified mental story map tool). How will you practice them? If applicable, practice them now.

Practice Gratitude

The most difficult time to practice gratitude is when you’re faced with challenging and painful circumstances. Ironically, this is also the time when practicing gratitude is most necessary. This exercise will help you to get started.

  • Describe a challenging and/or painful circumstance in your life, one that you could easily use as an excuse to identify as a victim. It can be a past circumstance or a present one. 
  • What’s the “victim thought” (“It isn’t fair”; “Life wasn’t supposed to be like this”; “I never get any good breaks”) that this circumstance has created or tried to create in your mind? 
  • Take this victim thought through the exercise that you learned in Chapter 10 for identifying and diagnosing a negative thought and then comparing it against God’s truth: What is the thought? Is it true? What does God say about it? Will you believe him? Write your responses below. 

Battle in the Spirit  

Part 2 of this book detailed seven battles in the war for your mind (the battle against distraction, the battle against fear, and so on). Part 3 gave thumbnail sketches of how Jesus demonstrated and illustrated victory in each of these battles. It also pointed out that you have the same Spirit in you that empowered Jesus.

  • Which of the seven battles in Part 2 is particularly important to you? Which do you find yourself fighting most frequently? Even if you could validly name several of them, for this exercise choose just one.
  • Why this battle? Why is it yours to fight more than some of the others? Why is it a struggle in your life?
  • How did Jesus face and fight the same thing? How did this battle manifest in his life? How exactly did he respond and overcome? You may want to answer this with your Bible open (since it contains much more detail about these matters).
  • What can you learn from Jesus’s example? Concretely, how does his route to victory apply to you and your battle? 
Get Out of Your Head: Workbook & Questions

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Here's what you'll find in our full Get Out of Your Head summary:

  • Satan’s master plan for poisoning your mind with toxic thoughts
  • How to replace ungodly lies with scriptural truths
  • How to “put on the mind of Christ” and fulfill God’s plan for you

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in English Literature. Growing up, she enjoyed reading fairy tales, Beatrix Potter stories, and The Wind in the Willows. As of today, her all-time favorite book is Wuthering Heights, with Jane Eyre as a close second. Elizabeth has branched out to non-fiction since graduating and particularly enjoys books relating to mindfulness, self-improvement, history, and philosophy.

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