Emotional Mind vs. Rational Mind

You’ve heard the phrase, “Go with your gut,” or, “The heart wants what it wants.” When you think about it, we’re often encouraged to make decisions emotionally rather than logically (especially for us Rabbits and Cockatoos!). But is that always the best process for every situation life throws at you?

Feelings vs. Reasons
We’re faced with dozens, maybe hundreds, of decisions on a daily basis, and while many are without serious or long-term consequences (i.e., which birthday card to buy your mother-in-law or what to order for lunch) we are also constantly making choices that will affect our health, our well-being and our loved ones.

When you think about it, we’re often encouraged to make decisions emotionally rather than logically.

We depend on objectivity (over emotion) only 20% of the time to make decisions, but that number drops to z-e-r-o when we let certain emotions get behind the wheel. The acronym, HALT (which covers hungry, angry, lonely, or tired) will dictate 100% of our emotions - therefore dictate 100% of our decisions - when we’re feeling them, according to research done by author of the Divided Mind, Michael Levine.

The #1 way to stay in control of your emotional brain is to recognize when you need to H.A.L.T. Doing that self-scan is quick and super effective.

But, if you realize that you're not hungry (just ate lunch), not angry (it's a beautiful day), not lonely (I've got your partner hellooooo), and not tired (full 8 hours last night), then you have to dig a layer deeper. Ask yourself:

  • Am I feeling especially impulsive or reactive? AKA am I giving the power to someone other than myself? (A bad driver, a rude waiter)
  • Am I breathing? Often, when we are in distress, we hold our breath. That spikes the level of cortisol in our blood, the stress hormone. So take a deep breath, and feel your body relax.
  • Is this about something else? If I'm not hungry, angry, tired, or lonely, AND I'm breathing AND I feel reactive... it's often because the thing in front of me is triggering the real issue. So what is it about this rude waiter that is making me think of something else? What is it about that bad driver that I am taking so personally?

Giving yourself the time to feel, think, and breathe, is CRUCIAL when we're in hot water. It brings that 0% objectivity back up to a healthy percentage. Because even though going with your gut is - often - a really healthy indicator, we can all benefit from the perspective-shifting benefits of objectivity.

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