Welcome back! To continue our exploration of mindfulness, let’s talk about “Wise Mind”. Wise Mind is a concept taught in DBT that refers to the synthesis between our “rational” mind and “emotion” mind.
Rational mind, also sometimes called “reasonable” mind, is where our logic lives. When we approach situations using our rational mind, we’re focusing on facts rather than feelings. Examples of this might be figuring out a math problem, driving a car, measuring ingredients for a recipe, following a schedule, etc.
Emotion mind is when we’re being driven by our feelings. Logic and facts become distorted when we are in emotionmind and this might result in impulsive decision making or lashing out. Emotion mind isn’t all negative though. We’re in emotion mind when we’re engaging in pleasurable activities like snuggling with a puppy or being overjoyed at good news.
Neither states of mind are inherently good or bad. They’re simply different approaches and ways of conceptualizing situations and experiences.
Wise Mind is where emotion mind and rational mind are balanced. It’s usually a quiet feeling, a sense of inner knowing. Have you ever had a time where you just “knew” something? Maybe it was a quiet nudge in a certain direction that turned out to be in your favor. That’s Wise Mind! Accessing our Wise Mind can be difficult, and you might sometimes feel like you don’t even have a Wise Mind, but you do. We all do. It just might take some practice to discover what it feels like for you. One way to think about Wise Mind is the calm after the storm. Sometimes after a big emotion, we calm down and begin processing things in a different way. You might consider alternative perspectives that you hadn’t been able to before or have different insights into the issue. That’s your Wise Mind talking!
So, how can we practice accessing Wise Mind outside of those moments? The more we practice feeling into what our Wise Minds are, the better we can access it in moments of high intensity. One way to practice is through deep breathing, and focusing on that space between your inhale and your exhale. Take a big, full deep breath in and pause for a second or two. Pay attention to that little pause before exhaling. After you exhale all the way out, center your attention on that space at the bottom of the exhale. How does it feel? Quiet? Weird? Unknown? Lean in to it and keep practicing!
Check out these resources to learn more about Wise Mind. Next article we’ll begin exploring the Distress Tolerance module.
The article is by Alissa Hager, M.Ed, LPC
Palmetto Counseling and Consulting, LLC