Perfecting Your Wise Mind

by Sheila K. Anderson, MA LAMFT 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit and maybe even camp-out at your “happy place” on a more regular basis? Many of us spend great amounts of time and energy in states of mind that are not helpful for the situation we are in.

There are times when our rational minds are out to lunch and our emotional minds make a spectacle of themselves.  There are, usually on a less frequent basis, times when we are devoid of emotion and our minds make decisions based solely on the facts of a situation.

A wise state of mind is the “sweet spot” or “zone” where we find the clarity of mind that happens when our logical and emotional states of mind work in tandem with one another. It is the state of mind that brings a peace or calm to the decision making process, allowing us to move forward armed with the facts of a situation (logical/rational mind) while recognizing and validating the feelings (emotion mind), associated with a given situation.

Operating out of wise mind can be a challenge, but with practice it can be a skill that helps to create a life of peace and contentment.  Persons who struggle with regulating their emotions often make decisions based solely on their emotional experience and have difficulty giving their logical state of mind equal attention. We all experience emotional dysregulation at different times in life, some of us more frequently than others.

What are some particularly wise decisions you have made in the past?  What process did you go through to arrive at your decision?  Taking the time to reflect on our past wise mind experiences can be helpful because they remind us of past successes.  They remind us that we are capable of integrating our rational and emotional states of mind.

This reflection also moves us to implement strategies that have worked for us in the past.  In reflecting on my own personal wise mind decisions, and learning from the stories shared by clients, it seems there are intentional and practical steps that can be taken to increase the time spent in the state of wise mind.

Creating some time and space between you and the decision is a great way to gain perspective and arrive at a wise-minded decision. This is not always possible because some situations require an immediate decision and in those instances we do the best we can with the information we have. If circumstances permit however; taking a break will often provide the clarity of mind we need to have in order to make the best possible decision.

Another proactive strategy might be seeking out a person who seems to have a good track record with their decision making efforts. Perhaps this person has gone through something similar to you and consulting them would broaden your perspective on an issue. Perhaps discussing the matter with a neutral third party like a therapist or clergy person may be helpful.

Finally, making a pro and con list can be an informative option, creating momentum to achieve that wise-minded decision you long for. There is an element of truth in the old adage, “knowledge is power”, and the more information gathering you and I can do prior to making a decision, the better the chances we have for a positive outcome.  A wise-minded pro and con list will include both the emotional and logical aspects of a situation. Keep in mind that both emotional and logical aspects may appear on either the pro or con side, depending on the situation and the person making the decision.

Let’s re-cap the Perfecting Wise Mind Strategies-
1. Reflect on past wise mind experiences
2. Create time and space between you and the decision
3. Seek wise-minded, non-judgmental counsel
4. Make a Pro and Con list

Utilizing any or all of the above strategies will help to bring you peace of mind because you will know in your heart that you put forth the effort to make the best possible choice. Although it is impossible to operate out of a wise state of mind 100% of the time, it is possible to increase the amount of time spent there. Remember that each decision that needs to be made is an opportunity to practice the state of wise mind.

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About dbt resource

I am a DBT therapist looking to engage readers who are interested in using DBT skills in daily life.

Posted on February 23, 2012, in CORE MINDFULNESS, WISE MIND and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Joshua Edel, CD

    Wonderful article, thank you.

  2. Thanks for these tips. I liked your point that wise mind usually means slowing down so our emotions can catch up with our logic, or vice-versa.

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