Hey guys, it's Dr. May. I'm here to talk about mindfulness today, and specifically, one of the more famous DBT skills of three states of mind.
A lot of times when people think back to their time about in DBT, even long after they left, they remember the three states of mind. So that's what we're going to do today. Okay, so we're going to do a nice little review of that.
And you may have heard this before, but if not, welcome to the new material.
Let's do a quick review of what mindfulness is just to make sure we're on the same page.
Mindfulness in a nutshell, is, as they say, fully awake and embodied awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment. So they say that it's about focused attention, open awareness and kind intention, all that's involved with mindfulness.
Today, part of the mindfulness module is what they call states of mind. There's emotional mind, reasonable mind and wise mind.
So in the next slides, we're going to go over exactly what those mean. And then at the end, we're going to do an example.
Emotional mind is pretty much like when emotions are driving the bus. That's why we have a bus in this picture. So if you imagine motions, being in charge, and kind of driving recklessly down the road, maybe speeding cutting people off, that's kind of what happens when you're an emotional mind. Your emotions are making all the decisions for you, they're dictating your actions, and chances are maybe leading you into some trouble. Okay. So emotional mind is currently related to that kind of stuff.
One of the ways to tell that we're in emotional mind is by stepping back and being mindful of what our thoughts are doing.
There's some typical ways of thinking that we tend to do when we're emotional.
One thing is we get kind of a little self focused and preoccupied and we end up taking things way too, personally. Things that have nothing to do with us, sometimes we think they have to do with us. So if someone brushes us off, we think it has to do with the fact that there's something wrong with me, right? So you tend to take other people's actions personally, or take other neutral events personally, we also tend to judge and blame, blame ourselves for things, we blame others for things, we judge things as maybe like stupid or not fair or not good enough.
We kind of have a judgmental cast on everything that we deal with. We have difficulty thinking straight and focusing. Because the thinking part of your brain is actually not that activated when you're very emotional.
Your emotional mind is literally a part of your brain called the amygdala and the limbic system. And when those are really active, your prefrontal cortex, which is the thinking part, isn't really working very much.
So mindfulness could actually help put that back online.
But just know that it makes sense when you if you can't think clearly, where you can't collect your thoughts or talk to concentrate. That's kind of typical when you're emotional. And sometimes when your emotional mind, you stop thinking about consequences. You just want to act on impulse. And you don't care about anything. But what feels good in this moment right now. So, you know, that's one of the things we have to put back into place when we're in emotional mind, because sometimes the consequences go right out the window. Okay. And sometimes we cling too tightly to things, we get obsessed about stuff. We can't let it go, we hold grudges, we have resentments, and all that's characteristic of emotional mind.
So we also tend to act certain ways when we're in emotional mind, we're much more likely to have interpersonal conflicts and to get into fights and arguments with people, our emotions spill over into our interactions with others, right? So it's not just affecting us in a little bubble sometimes. Other times we isolate ourselves, we pull away from people because we just don't really feel like dealing with people right now. Sometimes it leads to target behaviors and hurting yourself or suicidal ideation. Other times it's just other kinds of impulsive acts. Like the woman on the right is probably compulsively shopping, but there's probably other impulsive and compulsive things you could think of that you might end up doing an emotional mind. Okay.
The next part is reasonable mind. Now, when I found is a lot of people seem to mix reasonable mind with wise mind, because reasonable mind kind of like sounds pretty reasonable, right? It sounds like the thing we're striving for, but that's not necessarily the case. Okay? So it's ruled by logic, right? It's About the facts, or at least some skewed version of the facts or a narrow version of the facts, it's not always a full picture version of the facts. So sometimes you might see a little small part of the situation.
And it sounds kind of logical, but maybe you're missing something. Okay, and definitely what you're missing is the emotions, you're not taking your feelings into account.
If you totally don't take your feelings into account, your decisions actually aren't that great. And we'll get to that in a minute. So sometimes, your decisions might be practical or sound like the right kind of thing to do. But they like, maybe not feel that satisfying, maybe it makes you feel like you're settling for something, but it's not really what's right for you, or not really completely what you want. So that's a clue that maybe it's like a little too reasonable mind.
And then I heard a term once called the getting on with life self. So that's the part of us that kind of, like, you know, try to tries to function and stuff like that, but maybe are just getting on with life and going through the day, we're not really that filled or satisfied. We're just kind of like going through the motions. So that's like a little bit of a reasonable mind sort of thing to.
Here's some examples of the kinds of things that reasonable mine says, So I'm on the upper left, corner. So let's say a parent says to you, well, we're giving you a roof over your head and food on the table.
What else do you need? Well, what else do you need? Love, understanding, compassion? connection? That's the emotional mind stuff that you need.
One is just practical stuff. It's not quite enough. All right, bottom left, you don't need to go out to the steak restaurant, we can make burgers on the stove at home. Right? Food is just food, right? It's still the same kind of thing. And both from cows? Well, it's kind of different, right? When you go to a restaurant, it's a more interesting experience, you're going out and you know, people serving you it's different kinds of food than you have at home. Maybe it's better food than you have at home. Right?
There's other emotional aspects to that experience that are missing if you just think they're exactly the same.
Another one is that some you may have heard this before someone may have even said this to you. What's the point of crying? It's not going to change anything anyway? Well, maybe not. But prior is kind of cathartic sometimes, or maybe it helps you express your feelings. Maybe it's an important part of what you need to do to work something out. So it's not completely useless. Maybe it doesn't change the actual situation, but maybe it helps you deal with it better. Right?
And then the last one I have is sure I should marry her. She's from a good family. She's educated, she can cook food, make the perfect wife, right? Ever see somebody that sounds great on paper, but maybe you don't really like them or love them, even though they have all the qualities you think you want. Right? So when that emotional pieces missing, it wouldn't necessarily be a good choice for somebody to date or even, especially to marry.
So get how the reasonable mind works, right? It's like missing something. It's kind of logical, but it's not quite there.
This is the wise mind, I this is the merging of emotional mind and reasonable mind. It's putting all the pieces together. It's looking at the whole of the situation. It's more integrative, it's more complete, it's more whole.
It's acting from your deep wisdom and spiritual values, even if it's hard, right? Sometimes on a deep level, you know what you need to do, but maybe just takes a lot of courage to actually do it. Okay. But when you're in wise mind, you have that deep intuitive knowing that this is the right thing to do. It's also dealing with life with your life, your eyes open and being grounded in reality, and responding to the actual situation, not the situation you wish it was.
So in that sense, it sounds a little like radical acceptance, because radical acceptance also starts with dealing with the truth. Right? So why is mine You also have to open your mind and open your eyes to the truth. And sometimes, you know, it's hard to transform an emotional situation into something wise mind on your own, like you might try, but it might be like kind of challenging. So don't be afraid to reach out to somebody that you trust that can help pull you back into wise mind. They might be able to offer you a perspective you haven't thought of, or kind of like talk you through it. And together, putting your heads together, you can become a joint wise mind. That's a great thing to keep in mind too, but it has to be somebody you trust.
So I'm going to provide an example. Alright, so let's say Um, you're expecting a visit from somebody, maybe it was boyfriend or girlfriend or a friend or a parent. And it was a really important visit for you, we're really anticipating it, you are looking forward to it. And the person was supposed to come at like 330 in the afternoon, and you show up and you're waiting, and time is ticking by, and you didn't get a phone call, and you don't know what happened. And now you're dealing with it.
So maybe the first thing that happens is you become emotional about it. Right? So maybe like, you start getting anxious, like, Oh, my God, something happened to the person? Or is he rejecting me? Maybe he doesn't want to see me, maybe there's something wrong with me?
Or maybe there's an anger component like, hey, what he's not showing up? What's the matter with this guy? How rude would it would a jerk? Right? So it's very easy to jump right to emotional mind in a situation like that. Okay, so let's say I try to flip to reasonable mind. So maybe like, I'm trying to justify or explain or rationalize, like, what's going on. So maybe like, I'm thinking, well, maybe something came up for him. And, you know, maybe he wants to come, but he couldn't come or maybe his phone died. And he couldn't call me, you know, maybe some reason why you couldn't do it.
Or you could kind of like invalidate yourself, which is kind of like part of reasonable mind sometimes, too. And be one of the say one of those things like, what's the big deal is just a visit, I didn't really care about it much anyway. And I guess I could just talk to somebody else, or you know, call another friend. Right? And maybe that's true. Maybe that's logical, but it's missing the fact that maybe you were really disappointed and looking forward to this. Okay, so how do we put this together?
So validating your emotions, acknowledging how hurt you might have failed, or how disappointed you might be, but also thinking, well, maybe I don't need to be as hard because maybe really, really small, something that happens. So whether I'm rejected, or I'm not rejected, I'll find a way through it.
And it's disappointing, but it's not the end of the world. If the person still cares for me, maybe they'll explain and we'll reschedule. And if the person really is rejecting me, it's gonna hurt, but maybe it's meant to be anyway, because I don't want to waste my time with somebody that doesn't really care. So I'm just gonna, you know, deal with that, and then take it as a sign that I need to have other people in my life.
So maybe that's kind of a way to move into wise mind, I'm sure there's other possibilities for it. But um, it's important to take into account your emotions, how you're feeling, and what some of the logic might be, and kind of find a way to meld it all together. Okay, one thing that you could try if you want is reflect upon a situation you had, where you were very emotional, and maybe you weren't as proud of how you handled it as you want it to be. Alright, so think about if you were to redo that situation, what kind of reasonable mind logic could help you? And what would be a wise mind response if you were to do it again.
And perhaps the next time if something similar happens, you'll be able to go to wise mind a little quicker. Okay. So that's the end of my three states of mind talk today. I hope that makes sense to you. It's a great tool to use to kind of understand how to cope better and a lot of the skills we use could kind of fall into wise mind. So, thanks for listening, and I'll see you next time.