Skill Exercise: Wise Mind
Skill Sheet: Thought Balloon
In the past two weeks, we have used mindful breathing to connect to our present situation and focus shifting to notice and identify the emotions tied to our thoughts without judging them. This week, we will pay attention to how we balance healthy emotions and rational thoughts to make healthy decisions about how we view ourselves.
Wise Mind is the ability to make healthy decisions based on rational thoughts and balanced emotions. It is the same thing as intuition.
Wise Mind is not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of traps. When we are overwhelmed, we can slip into Emotion Mind, which is going to feelings without considering rational thoughts and facts when making important decisions.
As we have been learning, emotions are good and necessary and inform healthy and balanced decisions unless they are overwhelming. Overwhelming emotions are the ones that we allow to control us. They are distorted thoughts that impact sound judgment. These overwhelming thoughts make it hard for us to make healthy decisions.
Reasonable mind is the rational counterpart to Emotion Mind which considers rational thoughts and facts without considering emotions. When out of balance, it is Robotic Thinking that is emotionally checked out.
Wise Mind is the balance between Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind. It takes practice to balance our healthy emotions and our rational thoughts while staying on top of overwhelming emotions and irrational thoughts.
Wise Mind is what happens when we practice the skills that we have been building. Wise Mind is what we will use as the foundation of self-compassion.
How do we know if we are making a “wise mind” decision? Think about how you are thinking about yourself right now. Is this based on reliable information you have gathered from the inside and outside? Is this information current? Is this information based on overwhelming or negative emotions such as fear, sadness, resentment, anger, loss, or guilt? Is this information based on a mistake you made? Is this assessment balanced and fair? Is there something that you actually need to do such as make a reasonable improvement, balance responsibilities or gain a skill that would make things go more smoothly? Is this a time to ask for help or to set reasonable expectations with others who mean well but lack information?
A wise mind decision has a result that offers the best reasonable outcome. Sometimes we need to keep track of our decisions for a period of time to look for patterns that indicate Wise Mind that balances Emotion and Rational Minds.