Wise Mind

I have been observing my own motivation and inspiration. I noticed that the first few days, the ideas and topics came easily and I had things that I thought about saying first thing in the morning that stayed with me throughout the day. The last couple days have been harder. I’ve been racing downstairs at 10PM hurrying to write something just to get done before midnight to meet my self-imposed deadline.

I think that’s part of the point of this exercise. Sometimes writing just for writing’s sake is the point. But, I started this because I’ve noticed that I have things that I want to say. Ideas about my own life that I want to share.

And so I’ve been thinking about the concept of wise mind, which I teach at the start of my DBT skills group. It’s a mindfulness idea that holds that we should strive to make decisions and choices from a place of balance between our rational mind and our emotional mind. Emotion mind is mood-dependent and emotion focused, when you’re in emotion mind you’re ruled by impulse, urges, and feelings. We don’t always know how the decision is made or why, we just know it is. Rational mind, on the other hand, is cool and reason-oriented. It’s task and goal oriented. It’s pragmatic and logical. If rational and emotional were the two circles of a Venn Diagram, wise mind would be the overlap.

Much like being right- or left- handed, most people tend toward one or the other. I hear from my clients who feel deeply unhappy or worried that they wish they could just be rational all the time and get rid of their emotions. I hear the same thing (only reversed) from people who struggle to let their emotions go.

I live most often in emotional mind. I struggle to balance the wants and impulses with the shoulds and practical realities.

Since Disney is in the name of the blog, I’ll illustrate with a Disney vacation. The decision to go to Disney for Christmas 2018 (see: the bad trip) was made from emotional mind. Our rational minds said it was a bad idea, that it was going to be too expensive, too crowded, that it was likely to remind us of absence rather than joy. Emotion mind didn’t care. Maybe it wanted to be sad. So we listened only to emotion mind and didn’t have the wisdom to balance the practical desire for a good trip and the emotional need to grieve and take in our loss.

And we were pretty unhappy.

The trip in June 2019 was a wise mind trip. It balanced rational (sort of, is two trips to Disney in a year truly rational?) with the emotional. Going when we could more easily afford to do the things we wanted at a time we’d never been before in a way that was different from before was balanced between a need to remember the fun of Disney (and the impulsive decision to book the trip) and the rational realities that often make it harder to enjoy a trip to Disney.

So wise mind tells me that I need to start planning better. To come up with an outline so I can balance the rational need to write with the emotional need to actually say something.

In the coming weeks I want to talk more about mindfulness and emotional crisis. The ways that we can use self care to overcome those moments of crisis and how to recognize them. After that I want to turn to the idea of uncertainty and coping because I think those are two areas where I see clients struggle the most. Beyond that, I’ll follow my curiosity.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

Published by alexm1008

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in Houston, Texas. I specialize in helping clients develop skills and strategies to feel more in control of their emotions and behaviors. I am also a wife and mother of two who loves to run and travel (particularly to Disney World with my kids and without).

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