Life is full of choices. We don't always realize this but we get to CHOOSE how we respond to things in life.
Choosing with intention means that we make a choice on purpose.
Instead of mindlessly going through life doing the same thing over and over again you tune inwards and make a CHOICE in how you want to respond.
How do you usually make big decisions? Do you write out a pros and cons list? Spend time debating back and forth before making a decision?
Now, there's nothing wrong with a good ol' pros & cons list - but sometimes we can get stuck there and analysis paralysis kicks in and we NEVER make a choice.
Enter the idea of The 3 States of Mind
The 3 States of Mind is a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) strategy that I teach to my students.
I found it SO helpful for me as a way to make sense of what happens when I need to make a BIG decision.
In the 3 States of Mind we've got our reasonable mind, our emotion mind, and our wise mind.
The 3 States of Mind
That pros & cons list? That's what we call our reasonable mind. There's nothing wrong with making a pros & cons list. Analyzing all sides of a problem before making a decisions. Making sure you take everything into account. But if we just involve our reasonable mind we can quickly turn into Chidi from The Good Place and never make a decision or have an opinion on anything.
Where our reasonable mind can feel a little cold and analytical, our emotion mind can feel a little hotter...
Our emotion mind is a LOT more mood dependent. You can usually tell that you're in emotion mind when you would only make that choice when you're angry. Or sad, scared, happy, etc.
If you only eat chocolate when you're sad and you would never eat chocolate when you're happy, that's an emotion mind decision.
Though, real talk, who only eats chocolate when they are sad? (And that right there is a judgement 😳 Whoops!)
And when it comes to BIG life altering life choices you probably don't want to make them from a place of fear or anger. These kinds of choices you'll want to make from a different place. One where regardless of how you are feeling that day you would still make the same decision.
Enter Our Wise Mind
Our wise mind is our gut, our intuition. That little inner knowing that exists inside all of us. We might not always tune in and listen to it but it is there.
Our wise mind is the best of both our reasonable & emotion minds. It takes all of that into consideration and makes a decision that is intentional. One that is on purpose and one that we can rely on to be right for us.
When it comes to making these big life choices we want to tune inwards and access our wise mind to make sure we are choosing what is ultimately the best decision for ourselves.
So how do we access our wise mind? We STOP
The STOP skill
The STOP skill is one that I teach inside of my program STOP the Panic. It's a useful skill that can be used whenever you're feeling overwhelmed or nervous.
The STOP skill is an acronym that helps you to remember the steps involved in the skill.
- Stop what you are doing. Literally. Stop everything.
- Take a breath. Breathing in helps to regulate your nervous system and bring you back to your baseline. Plus oxygen to the brain helps with thinking. win=win
- Observe what's going on. Notice what's happening inside and outside of your body. What are you thinking and feeling? Are you talking to someone? What are they doing? Notice everything.
- Proceed mindfully. Now that you know what's going on in your body you can make a CHOICE in how you want to respond.
The STOP skill can help you tune into your wise mind so that you can actually hear what it has to say.
Which trust me, is SO helpful when it comes to making big, huge, life changing life choices.
As I shared in my recent YouTube video 👇👇 a few years back I had to make a big medical decisions and I used this strategy to help me to make it.
Choosing my prosthesis was a massive decision. I needed to choose the one that was best for ME and I needed to be confident in that decision. Because I couldn't have "buyers remorse" later on and change my mind and go with the other option.
As this is something that I would need to live with for the rest of my life I KNEW that I needed to trust into my intuition and where it was guided me.
And the STOP skill and listening to my wise mind helped me to do that.
I go into more detail on how to use the STOP skill inside of STOP the Panic. It's a 3 part video training and guided audio meditation program that teaches you the exact skills needed to tap into your wise mind and to move through panic inducing situations with a sense of ease. Because who wouldn't want to feel calm in a crisis? Click here to get started today.