We all have three states of mind: reasonable mind, emotion mind, and wise mind. Reasonable mind is the cool, rational state of mind where you are ruled by facts and logic. On the other hand, emotion mind is hot and ruled by desires and feelings. Both of them have value, but it’s easy to become polarized into one state of mind, feeling either controlled by our emotions or being completely cut off from our emotions.
In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), the goal is to shift towards wise mind, which is the intersection of reasonable mind and emotion mind. Wise mind is your inner wisdom, and it’s a state where you’re able to consider both facts and feelings. Wise mind is also a balance of being and doing, where you can engage in activities with awareness, working towards goals while being mindful and present.
Wise mind can help us make decisions that are effective and helpful to us in the long run, rather than making impulsive decisions. When a thought, action, or decision comes up, pause and ask yourself, “Is this wise mind?” Take time to breathe, asking the question as you breathe in and listening as you breathe out. Do not jump to an answer, but listen patiently for an answer. By taking a few moments to pause, you can start to center yourself in wise mind, allowing yourself to act in wisdom instead of just reacting.
Just like any new skill, wise mind requires practice. It takes time and practice to feel more comfortable with tapping into wise mind, but it will gradually become easier and more natural. As you learn to connect more with your inner wisdom, you can live with more ease, knowing that you don’t have to let your feelings or your logic control you.
If you’re interested in learning more mindfulness skills, click here for more information about our DBT groups, led by Dr. Napolitano, the Founder and Director of CBT/DBT Associates.