Dealing with Stress: Are you Rational, Emotional or Wise-minded?

One of my favorite Dialectical Behavior Therapy concepts is “Wise Mind”. Using your wise mind is all about striking balance and intuition especial during times of stress. If you are too emotional, you may make poor and impulsive decisions. If you are overly rational, you may be boring and cold. Check out the diagram below which provides a visual for this idea.

wise mind

I find this diagram to be particularly useful for adolescents whose brains haven’t quite mastered higher level executive functioning of rational decision making. It is also helpful for folks who have an emotional temperament or problems with boundaries in their relationships.

It can be very hard when under a great deal of stress to stop and consider if we are being wise-minded.  However, it is important during those times of stress to “zoom out” and take an external perspective on the event, so we can make healthy choices.

Can you think of times when it could be helpful to be rational-minded or emotional-minded? How do you strike a balance between the two in your own life?

According to Carol Vivyan, CBT Therapist and author of

When we feel upset or distressed, we normally react automatically, without thinking about the consequences.  And we can often get into the habit of using unhelpful and often self-destructive behaviours to help us cope. These may include:

  • Self-harm including cutting or taking ‘overdoses’
  • Manipulating others (we’re often unaware of doing this)
  • Under or over-eating
  • Using or relying on drugs and alcohol
  • Depending on physical exercise
  • Sleeping too much, or opting to sleep rather than address problems
  • Focusing on illness and physical pain rather than the ‘real’ issues

When we use these self-destructive coping behaviours, we often then get caught up in thinking we’re bad for doing them, which makes us feel even worse, and may make us more likely to keep on doing them.  A vicious cycle. Read More

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