“Wise mind is that part of each person that can know and experience truth. It is where the person knows something to be true or valid. The wise mind is almost always quiet. It has a certain peace. It is where the person knows something in a centered way.”—– Dr. Marsha Linehan, the founder of DBT
She further adds, “Wise Mind is like having a heart – everyone has one, whether they experience it or not.” Thus, this is something we all possess naturally, even if we are not aware of it all the time or even know how to use it. If you are someone who wants to use your brain to its maximum capability, then you will have to learn to tap on your wise mind.
The core system of a wise mind is based on intuitive thinking and looking at the bigger picture. It strikes a balance between the emotional and rational parts of our minds. A developed intuition is perhaps the highest achievement of this mind function. Thus, it is an art to listen to your wise mind.
So, how do you know if you are listening to your wise mind? How to find access to it? What can you achieve with your wise mind? If you have the questions mentioned above rambling inside your head, then waste no time and continue reading further.
What is Wise Mind?
A wise mind is a concept in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). According to this concept, you can develop this talent through cognitive-behavioral changes. When you practice certain behaviors, patterns, and exercises, you unlock your ability to know things (without using your intellect). This ability is known as intuition, and all of us have it. However, most of us fail to tap into it and, thus, never discover our magical powers.
To understand this concept, it is imperative to learn about other states of mind as well. Our brain comprises of three parts –
Qualities of a Wise Mind
Few qualities of the wise mind are as follows:
- Wise mind is neither ruled purely by emotions nor by rationality.
- It is governed by understanding and awareness.
- A wise mind is calm, composed, and operates from a space of psychological well-being.
- This mind focuses on the present moment and lives by it. A wise mind is focused on what’s happening around you.
- It gives you the best decision because this part of the mind is thoughtful and collected.
- Your wise mind gives you a sense of inner control and balance. It is a sacred hermit that is quiet, flexible, adaptive, and only looks for an overall well-being.
The Three Mind States
To understand the wise mind, it is imperative to learn about other states of mind as well. Our brain comprises of three parts –
Our logical or reasonable mind is responsible for making decisions that involve the rationality of the brain. It is crucial to learn new skills. Reasonable mind examples – learning a new course, working a job, or merely writing something requires your logical mind.
An emotional mind, as the name suggests, is required to make decisions based on emotions. When your reasonable mind is weak or sick, then your emotions take over. Even though a reasonable mind is critical for living a healthy life, the emotional mind is also required in certain aspects of life.
For instance, a mother’s love can lead to an intensity where she would fight to her last breathe for the safety of her child. However, negative emotions, such as misery and sadness, also rest in the emotional mind.
Wise mind is the one where the emotional brain and reasonable brain overlap. It creates a balance between the other two states of mind. With good DBT skills, you can create a calm state of mind. It brings the sensuousness of emotional state and rationality of a reasonable mind together to learn to act intuitively.
The wise mind uses the power of intuition to see the bigger picture and knows how to handle the state of distress, sadness, anxiety, even depression, by exactly knowing where those emotions come from. It is usually your ‘aha’ moment that defines your wise or wisdom mind. All you have to do is pay attention to your breath, calm down your mind, and find your intuition.
Wise Mind Diagram
This is a diagrammatic representation of the three states of human mind, based on the principles of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) developed by Marsha Linehan (1993)
The wise mind diagram is a Venn diagram, where three mind states are integrated. The overlapping part of the Venn diagram represents the wise mind, representing the qualities of both the reasonable mind (also known as the rational mind) and the emotional mind. The concept claims that the wise mind always exists in us; but we hardly use it.
Sometimes we do not realize its existence because it gets obscured by negative thoughts and unpleasant emotions. The good news is, the logical element and the emotional aspects of the mind can be developed together to become a wise mind by practicing mindfulness.
Wise Mind and DBT
Most of us have struggled to find a balance between an emotional mind and reasonable mind. We may either feel overtaken by our emotions or feel overly logical, totally devoid of affect. This problem can be solved by using the DBT skills training that helps to find your wise mind.
DBT says that when you face difficult life situations, your wise mind helps to cope well with emotional triggers and at the same time arrive at a reasonable decision. Thus, a wise mind state sees both emotions and logic as equally important to find answers to the problems.
One of the primary belief or principle tenets of dialectical behavior therapy is the presence of a wise mind; a mind that is intuitive, lives in the moment, is less emotional, and always finds a balance between the emotional mind and the rational mind.
The wise mind symbolizes an inner call that says ‘what is the best solution to the problem in question?’ Some say it is probably the ‘gut feeling’, an aha moment that is full of wisdom and thus shows us the right path.
DBT is meant for people for all age groups. It is a psychotherapy program meant for people struggling with managing their extreme emotional states thereby teaching them self validation, emotional mastery, logical reasoning, and appropriate coping styles in times of stress.
Training the wise mind can blend emotion and intellect together to foster balanced decision and informed living in all aspects of life.
Wise Mind Examples
Wise mind is your intuitive and quiet place that tells you just what is right. It draws emotion as well as reason to judge the options available and helps to make an informed decision. Your wise mind aligns reasoning and emotions to build intuition and deeper understanding of the situation.
For example: you had a verbal fight with your boss that made you stressed. Your emotional mind may tell you to react and show resentments. Contrary, the reasonable mind tells you to ignore him, or put down your resignation paper on the table. But, if you use your wise mind, it may hint you towards a discussion and negotiation on the issue.
It offers practical solutions that benefit both the parties, without hurting the interests of any. Your emotional mind is hot where emotions run high. It leads to faulty decision making. The logical mind puts too much emphasis on factual information.
The wise mind helps you to figure out ways of mutual communication and relationship building with your boss. It enables you to change your perspectives and see things in a new light because you operate from a place of peace and patience.
Wise Mind Worksheet
As already discussed, we have three states of mind according to the principles of DBT. The wise mind worksheet is a self-administered form or an inventory that is used to access the wise mind. It helps individuals to approach life situations intuitively. These worksheets are found here, for free usage.
As these worksheets are formulated according to the DBT principles, it helps to understand how the three states of mind works and affects thinking, feelings, and actions. You can access these worksheets here
Wise Mind and Guided Meditation
A guided meditation practice of mindfulness skills can help you to reconnect with your wise mind. Our fast paced life does not allow us to make thoughtful decisions and as such most of our day to day are based on reactions, devoid of emotional balance and adequate wisdom. But, if you can disconnect yourself from this chaos and practice mindfulness, you have a better chance of understanding your goals and act accordingly.
As your wise mind is intuitive and knowledgeable, it acts as an inner call that is centered and operates from a place of balance and harmony. It always speaks the truth and helps you to respond and not react. Meditation teaches mindful living as you become aware of your immediate surroundings. It reduces stress, emotional imbalance such as excessive fear, anger outbursts, frustrations, resentments etc.
The more you practice mindfulness through observation, awareness, and intuition, the easier it is to access the wise mind. Your wise mind remains with you all the time but it gets lost in emotional turbulence and disturbing thoughts. The chaotic mind seeks clarity but hardly invokes the wise mind.
The guided meditation helps you to realize and accept the truth as it is; without being critical. You are taught to observe your thoughts and analyze your emotions to arrive at a rational decision. After all, it’s up to you how you allow your thoughts to impact your life and living.
Example of how guided meditation can help to develop the wise mind
Think of a situation where you became extremely angry. The guided meditation techniques can help you observe your thoughts associated with anger. You will have to closely monitor your physical sensations, if any and describe the feelings as well. This means that you are actively engaging with the thought with more awareness, without judgements and reactions. By observing your thoughts, you will find that most of them are based on an immediate emotional upsurge without enough facts and evidence. The guided meditation taps into your wise mind and you can decide on the course of action to be taken to make the best decisions from an inner domain of happiness and bliss.
How to find your Wise Mind?
To invoke this ability, you will have to become mindful—live in the present moment and follow a daily ritual of certain CBT practices until you learn to use your wise mind effortlessly.
Here are some ways to get access to your it –
- Observe and accept your thoughts as they are instead of running from them.
- Describe your thoughts without interpretations or judgments.
- Use kind words for yourself and others and be empathetic.
- Focus your attention in the present moment. Do not think about the past or future.
- Do what’s right without allowing your emotions to take over.
- Meditate to increase your emotional intelligence.
- Be mindful as much as you can.
- Practice the above ideas until you learn to use your wise mind naturally.
You will know that your wise mind is in use when you learn to be grateful for everything. Yes, even bad experiences. The wise mind filters out negative thoughts and emotions and only focuses on the positive and good experiences.
Parting words from ‘TheMindFool’
Our brain is potent. You can do extraordinary things with it, only if you know how to use your wise mind well. With the practices mentioned above, you can find access to a magic that lives inside you, a world that can bring you all the happiness and abundance of the world. All you have to do is breathe, close your eyes, and tap on to your wise mind.
A Psychologist with a master's degree in Psychology, a former school psychologist, and a teacher by profession Chandrani loves to live life simply and happily. She is an avid reader and a keen observer. Writing has always been a passion for her, since her school days. It helps to de-stress and keeps her mentally agile. Pursuing a career in writing was a chance occurrence when she started to pen down her thoughts and experiences for a few childcare and parenting websites. Her lovable niche includes mental health, parenting, childcare, and self-improvement. She is here to share her thoughts and experiences and enrich the lives of few if not many.