Did You Know You Had Default Settings?

May 2021

Default settings are those features that come pre-installed and pre-set with a new device or operating system – like with your computer, tablet or phone. The designer instructs the factory engineers to install and calibrate the hardware and software a certain way – usually to set up the device to operate at its ideal or maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Human beings come with default settings too.

For example, your default emotions are love, joy and peace of mind which are manifested in many desirable feelings like gratitude, humility and contentment. These feelings are at your core, you don’t have to do anything to achieve these feelings states, they will occur naturally. You don’t need endless hours of meditation, step-by-step processes or techniques to achieve these built-in feelings states. Although these feelings might be overridden by your momentary thoughts that can cause distress, they are indeed the default setting, the homeostasis (stable internal state) in the human race.

Why is knowing your default settings important? If you understood that if you were to feel angry, upset, afraid, frustrated, discouraged, or any other uncomfortable feeling that any negativity, by nature, is short-lived and temporary. You could relax a little knowing that if you just let the discomfort ‘be’ for a short time, you would return to a peaceful state. The secret is allowing yourself to be somewhat uncomfortable for a while and not be tempted to try to ‘fix the feeling’ by through medication, food, alcohol, video-binging and other emotion-numbing substances or activities.

It can be helpful to do things like take a breather, step away from a situation, go for a walk or literally ‘change channels’. These serve to direct your thinking away from the ideas creating the distress but you can just as easily consider relaxing your mind for a few minutes and notice what happens. In the past, human beings were thought to have no core, default settings. Emotions and feelings were seen as culturally or individually determined – like a happiness setpoint. It was thought we had to pursue happiness or cultivate well-being or work to achieve a pleasant state of mind. It turns out we don’t. Now we know positive feelings are built in already and can we reset and can revert back whenever we notice we have deviated from them.


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