Head vs. Heart: Which Is Smarter?

Should you let your head or your heart make your decisions? Here are 10 alternative steps to making choices that will support you and your happiness.

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you were the lead character in Jim Carrey’s Yes Man?  Saying yes to every opportunity that presented itself?  While you would certainly open yourself to all kinds of new adventures and experiences, you would also be totally over-committing yourself.

There’s also a practice of saying no to everything to learn to stand up for yourself and create boundaries.  But that would certainly be a limited life.

So where’s the balance?  How do you know when to say yes enough so that you’re stretching yourself and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone?  How do you know when to say no enough so that you’re creating boundaries but not false limitations?

The balance lies between your head and your heart.

What’s Upstairs?

Your head is where the analysis, logic, thoughts and that crazy monkey mind reside.  It’s where you think through things, review those “pro’s and con’s” lists.

It’s also where fear resides.  The monkey mind likes to disguise fear as “rational thinking.”  It comes up with all the reasons to stay in your safe comfort zone.  It fears change so it explains why your proposed change isn’t in your best interest.

When those fears present themselves, it’s time for your True Self to face them and determine how real they are.  Until you do that, our fears will control you and greatly limit your potential.

The Landscape of the Heart

Your heart is where your intuition lies.  It’s the source of that little voice that guides you, if you let it.  Your heart is where your True Self resides, your Higher Self – the one that truly knows what is best for you.

Without practice, it’s hard to hear your heart.  The chattering monkey mind speaks so loudly, sending you in different directions without an overall purpose.  The monkey makes it hard to hear the heart.

When you’re busy being busy, the monkey rules.

When you can get quiet, you can finally hear the music in your heart.

Head vs. Heart: Which Is Smarter? Here are 10 alternative steps to making choices that will support you and your happiness. Download your free decision-making checklist!The Process of Choice

You make hundreds of choices every day, whether you realize it or not.  You choose whether and what to eat, what to say, how to see and interpret your world.  Many of these choices are made subconsciously – you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

Then there are bigger choices like whether to get married or divorced, leave your job, have kids, make a big move, pursue your passions.  These are the ones where you take time to consider all of your options.  These are the choices where you usually let your monkey mind take over.

Pausing for Values

Before you make any decisions, from very basic to life-changing, you must learn to pause.   Utilize the space between stimulus and response.

During that pause, consider whether the decision you’re about to make supports your highest values.

Do you know what your highest values are?  Most people don’t ever stop to consider this.

What are the three to five most important things to you in life?  These are the kinds of things that won’t change much over a lifetime.

My three highest values are health, family and integrity.  Each day I practice making choices based on those values.

Sometimes going with the flow is the easier choice but, if it doesn’t support these values, I need to make a harder choice.

Simple Steps to Making Decisions That Support You and Your Happiness

While saying yes to everything that comes your way would certainly provide for some amazing experiences, you know that doing so probably wouldn’t be in your best interest.  Here are some steps to follow to guide you to the best decision for you:

  1. What is the choice you’re about to make?  Have you uncovered all the available options?

If you’re debating whether to leave your current job where you’re not happy for another job, another choice may be to not work for someone else at a job but to start your own business.

Wondering whether to stay in a relationship or leave?  Consider something in between that gives both people a chance to breathe for some time.

Get creative and be open to alternative possibilities.

  1. Let your monkey mind do its thing.

Your monkey mind will drive you crazy if you don’t let him speak his mind.  Let him chatter away while he lists pro’s and con’s and tells you why changing is big and hairy and scary.

Write down everything he says.  Let him chatter until he can’t think of anything else to say.

  1. Pause.

Take a deep breath and walk away from everything you just wrote.  Take some time to simply be before you go back to review everything you just wrote.

Meditate.  Pray.  Take a long walk or a drive.

During this time, do your best to not think about the choice.  This will be extremely difficult but try.  Consider using my cloud meditation.

Download your checklist for making better decisions.

  1. Slowly read everything you wrote and notice how it feels in your body.

If you’re considering changing jobs, close your eyes and think about your current job.  What do you feel in your body?  Do your fists clench?  Does your gut get tight?

Take a deep breath and clear your mind of those thoughts.  Think about the new job you’re considering.  What do you feel now?  Do you feel a sense of openness and freedom?  Or do you still have that tight feeling in your gut?

This step is no place for your mind.  Your heart speaks through your body, and your body will always give you your best answer – if you listen.

  1. Create a dialogue with those physical sensations.

As you notice these feelings, ask them what they’re trying to tell you.  Treat them as if they are another person with valuable information to convey to you.

Maybe that tight feeling in your gut related to the current job has more to do with anger over not being acknowledged.  This would be supported by your clenched fists.

But that same tight feeling with respect to a new job may simply be fear of change.

  1. Consider your highest values.

Consider how each option supports your highest values.

A few years ago I made a choice to take a high-paying job in a city two hours from my home and family.  I thought we needed the money so I made the choice out of desperation.  I lived near the office during the week and came home on the weekends.

It was one of the worst decisions I ever made.  It clearly did not support two of my highest values.  It had a negative impact on my health because it was a demanding job with long hours.  And it had a horrible effect on my family.  Every Sunday night as I left my husband and young children, I balled my eyes out.  I would cry for the first half hour of my drive.  It created distance and issues in my marriage. I felt like I was missing out on my children’s lives.  Fortunately, it didn’t last very long.  I will never make a choice like that again.

  1. Boldly make a decision.

Don’t be wishy-washy about it.  If you’ve taken the above steps seriously, the choice should make itself evident.  Choose that and move forward.

No second guessing.   No regrets.  Start taking action on your choice.

  1. Know that there’s no wrong answer.

If, after you start taking action on the choice you made, you’re not liking the results, simply make a different choice.

Regretting your last decision is living in the past which can’t possibly help you.

Be present to how things are playing out.  If it’s not working, don’t feel like you have to “stick to your guns” for the principle of it, because it might imply that you were wrong or because it might show (to others whose opinions don’t matter) that you lack commitment.  That’s just silly.  Do what works for you.  Do what makes you happy.

  1. Assess results and make ongoing choices.

As you move forward, continue to assess how your results feel in your body and your heart.  Slow down enough each day to hear your inner voice.  Listen to it.  Follow it.  It may lead you to unexpected places, but those places will always be the best for you.

  1. Enjoy the ride.

See the beauty in your new experiences.  Be grateful for all the new things you’re learning.  If things aren’t working out, be grateful that you’re one step closer to knowing what does work in your life.

As the old saying goes:  Life is a journey.  Enjoy the ride!

May your journey be more amazing than you could ever imagine!

Download your checklist for making better decisions.


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61 Responses to Head vs. Heart: Which Is Smarter?

    Raine
    Commented:  08/16/2017 at 3:34 am

    They say there’s no heart or the voice to follow only it has to do with brain why is it so

    Reply
    Elle
    Commented:  06/27/2016 at 6:27 am

    What a great read this was Paige. The monkey mind can be so powerful when we are unaware that it’s running rampant. I’ve found when I give it permission to go, to run…it seems to become shy and quiet, giving me a chance to get more in touch with my heart and the real truth of the matter.

    Balance is good. 🙂

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/30/2016 at 11:11 am

      Exactly Elle! I think a runaway monkey mind is most people’s default so they don’t notice it. I wish mine got quiet when I let it run. Instead, it takes center stage and screeches even louder. I’ve just learned to stand back and observe without getting caught up in its chatter. Like a little kid throwing a tantrum, sometimes it’s best to just stand back and let the energy flow through them in order to get to a calmer state where better decisions can be made.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Why Letting Go Is So Hard and What To Do About ItMy Profile

      Reply
    Ellen Bard
    Commented:  06/26/2016 at 7:39 pm

    I think this is a real dichotomy we all struggle from – say yes more, say no more! – and I really like the tools you’ve suggested to work through it. I’m definitely a head person, and have been working in recent years to listen more to the heart. It’s all about balance for me.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/30/2016 at 11:07 am

      I know what you mean, Ellen. Being a very analytical person, for decades I didn’t even know there was a “heart” to listen to. Being able to get quiet and hear that heart speak is a practice that didn’t come easily at first. With a regular meditation and journaling practice, my inner voice became louder. Now I’ve come to notice how choices feel in my body. After making enough decisions that didn’t turn out so well for me, I’ve learned that my logical monkey mind doesn’t always have my best interest in mind but my True Self always does.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Mindful Spending: The Happy Way to Financial FreedomMy Profile

      Reply
    Sandra Pawula
    Commented:  06/26/2016 at 1:54 pm

    I love how you’ve combined the head and the heart in this piece. I’m focused on learning to hear my heart and intuition more right now. My best insights seem to come in that state between sleeping and waking. I especially pay attention then.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  06/30/2016 at 11:03 am

      That lucid state between sleeping and waking is when our True Selves can be heard. Years ago I developed the habit of keeping a pad of paper and a pen that lights up next to my bed to capture the great ideas that pop into my head at that time or at those random times in the middle of the night when I find myself awake. I used to think that I would remember them but almost never did (like trying to remember a dream). Pen and paper are much more reliable.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Get Focused in Your Next Job SearchMy Profile

      Reply
    Sherill
    Commented:  11/03/2014 at 2:50 am

    Great steps that we should follow in order to make decisions that make us happy and support who we are. These steps are what we should always keep in mind.
    Sherill recently posted..Do You Want an Athletic/Coach Career?My Profile

    Reply
    lynne
    Commented:  10/19/2014 at 8:39 pm

    Hi a very informative and helpful post. There are times that we really have to make tough decisions in life, it is best to pause for a while and do your best to think about your choice. Thanks for sharing. Great post.
    lynne recently posted..They Called Him “Butterfingers”My Profile

    Reply
    Vironika Tugaleva
    Commented:  12/26/2013 at 2:25 pm

    Well written, Paige. I love how you say that we should accept the monkey mind instead of resisting it. It’s a bit like learning to tune into our bodies as well. If everyone who eats McDonald’s every day would just eat it, sit down, and listen to how their body feels about eating that food – they’d never eat it again!

    Listening to our own inner wisdom is the deepest and purest form of learning. There is nothing that anyone can teach us which can trump the lessons of self-discovery. And that self-discovery is, truly, the key to freedom.

    Thank you again for sharing.
    Vironika Tugaleva recently posted..The Dangers of Self-Improvement: Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Don’t WorkMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  12/27/2013 at 10:07 am

      Thank you Vironika! You’re so right about self-discovery. We’re brought up being programmed not to trust our inner voice. We’re taught that “someone else” knows better than we what is best for us so we stop trusting our inner voice. What a mistake!

      It’s never too late to slow down and listen to our inner voice which can sometimes be easier to hear when we tune into our bodies. And learn to trust your inner knowing again.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Release Yourself from Your PastMy Profile

      Reply
    C
    Commented:  11/05/2013 at 8:22 am

    One of the most refreshing takes on “heart vs mind” I have read, which taps into concepts I value, learned from things such as the book The Language Of Emotions, grounding techniques, Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Thank you for the concise summary of a helpful process.

    Reply
  1. Pingback: Mind vs. Heart – Who will win the battle…?? | Personal development

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  3. mBraining
    Commented:  03/08/2013 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Paige, great and thought provoking post. Head vs Heart, Hmmm, mBraining says that its best to listen to the head, heart and gut all aligned together, because…

    Neuroscience research over the last decade has uncovered that we have complex, adaptive and functional neural networks or ‘brains’ in our heart and gut regions. And behavioral modeling research over the last 2.5 years, informed by the neuroscience, has shown that our heart and gut brains have very specific intelligences, functions and core competencies. And when you put all three brains into a powerful state called ‘coherence’ and align them together, then an incredible wisdom emerges that taps into the innate intuition and intelligence of all three brains.

    We’ve created a very simple yet powerful model for doing this, and we’ve described it in our book mBraining – Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff. If you are at all interested, take a look at http://www.mbraining.com

    For example, one of the many things we’ve uncovered in our work is that much of intuition is processed in both the heart and gut brains, and indeed the gut brain goes through a sleeping cycle each night that mimics and integrates with the equivalent of the head brain. When the head brain is dreaming during REM sleep, the gut brain is undergoing RGM (Rapid Gut Movement) sleep. The research indicates that it is during these periods, that intuitions are being communicated from the gut and heart, via the vagus channels, to the head. There are lots of distinctions and techniques that come out of these insights, and match completely what you’ve been writing and talking about in your online articles.

    People who have been trained as Coaches in the mBraining model are reporting profound transformations in the people they are coaching around the world. So truly, mBraining says, don’t just use your head or your heart, align all three (head, heart and gut) and tap into your true intelligence for wise and generative decisions 🙂

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2013 at 6:03 pm

      I’ve read quite a bit about the three brains and agree that they all have critical functions, especially working together. I’ve also been reading and experimenting with the power that beliefs have on our bodies, at the cellular level. Our gut is probably a much more powerful “brain” than anyone has ever given it credit for. Whenever I can’t get clear on something by thinking about it (that’s usually the worst way to get clear on something), I focus on the feelings in my gut to tell me the truth for me. That’s when the answers become so clear. Thanks for sharing this info here!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Not Doing What You Love Is Literally Killing YouMy Profile

      Reply
        mBraining
        Commented:  03/10/2013 at 6:08 pm

        Hey Paige, totally agree! The gut brain is HUGE, has over 500 Million neurons and developes first in the womb before the other brains, so it’s really primal and if you read mBraining you’ll see the core and vital functions and competencies it’s responsible for. It really is important. And we ignore its messages and wisdom at our peril. Best thing is we can learn some really simple and powerful techniques for communicating with and aligning all three brains. The results of this are profound!

        Reply
    Laverne
    Commented:  09/06/2012 at 10:32 am

    I always listen to my gut. I found you for a reason 🙂 I was stuck for so long. thinking I need to take a course. Now I know I don’t have too
    I am hooked on reading your posts
    I want to comment on everyone of them
    but I smile and think, Thanks for posting I am learning so much from them
    🙂
    I no longer feel stuck
    I am happy always , I am happy with my job . my life my family
    I am teaching my younger 2 everything that I can , my now 12 year old girl said to me , Mom there are no mistakes in life, just lessons!!
    she made me think!! of course she is right
    she is a very wise 12 year old
    I believe everyone comes into your life for a reason, my boss and her daughter are teaching more about spirtual side of life.
    life is well and getting weller 🙂
    thanks 🙂

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  09/06/2012 at 9:58 pm

      I’m so glad you found me Laverne! Yes, everything happens for a reason.

      Your daughter is incredibly wise for being only 12 years old! May she find many ways to spread her wisdom with the world. She can help many people right along side her mother.

      Reach out and bless as many people as you can with your love and wisdom. The world needs many more people just like you Laverne!!

      Big, Big Hugs!!

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Why I Listen To The Voices In My Head

  5. Liz
    Commented:  03/28/2012 at 8:59 pm

    Hi Paige, you had a great topic selection. For me, heart is smarter than a head. No further explanation.

    Reply
    Ajen
    Commented:  03/28/2012 at 1:12 am

    Hi Paige, I spent some time reflecting on #2. It completely resonated with me. I remember the physical exhaustion that I would when fighting against all of the chatter that was happening in my mind. It is so mentally and emotionally taxing. Also, I remember the phrase, “Just be”. To actually do this requires a lot of trust. SELF-TRUST. As I walk in this journey to master it, I am learning that by allowing my self to “be” and letting the subconscious do what it wants to do for that moment, the answer, direction or insight will almost always manifest itself.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/28/2012 at 12:54 pm

      Learning that trust is so important, Ajen. Our monkey minds love to throw fear and self-doubt into the equation to “keep us safe.” All it does is keep us locked up. Knowing that the monkey mind is there and always will be, yet watching it as an outside observer is critical to being open and allowing your True Self to speak and be heard. In our culture, simply being has no rewards and is frequently punished as not being productive. It’s a practice we must take on if we want happiness with ourselves.

      Thanks for a wonderful comment!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Your Attitude Determines Your OutcomeMy Profile

      Reply
    KenWert@MeanttobeHappy
    Commented:  03/24/2012 at 2:26 am

    Hi Paige! What a wonderful article! I have to admit to living mostly in my head. I think a lot. But I don’t ignore my heart at all. As a matter of fact, I take what my heart is telling me into account when I’m thinking through an issue or making a decision. I also like what you said, especially in a comment above that when our hearts and minds are aligned with our values, then they are looking in the same direction. I LOVE that statement. Ultimately, I pass everything through the spectrum of my values. When I do that, I know I’m on the right track.

    PS: I agree with Vidya. You do write wonderfully!
    KenWert@MeanttobeHappy recently posted..Mottos that Inspire Greatness: The Power of Personal Mottos, Part IIIMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/25/2012 at 5:01 pm

      Thank you so much Ken!! We’re alike in so many ways as I’ve gathered from reading your amazing blog. It’s been a process for me to allow myself to acknowledge my heart. Once I opened that door, my life changed radically for the best. The more I’ve moved away from the should’s that I used to live by and toward my heart and values, the happier I’ve been. Focusing on values really makes decisions easier.

      Have a totally happy day!!

      Reply
    Cathy Taughinbaugh | Treatment Talk
    Commented:  03/21/2012 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Paige,

    We do need to listen to our bodies and your hearts to hear the answer that is best for us. I tend to feel the butterfly stomach if I just don’t feel I’m making the right decision. I use that as my guide, and it has helped me through the years. It is important to strike a balance between letting go and being free of all restrictions and knowing where our boundaries begin and end. Thanks for a great post.
    Cathy Taughinbaugh | Treatment Talk recently posted..My Journey Through Al-AnonMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/22/2012 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Cathy! I’m sure you’ve had plenty of occasions to use your heart to make decisions. Yes, it’s not always easy to know the balance but the more we listen to our heart, the easier it becomes.

      Have a beautiful day!

      Reply
    Galen Pearl
    Commented:  03/21/2012 at 1:58 pm

    As a person who lived much of her life in her head, I had a very hard time learning to listen to my heart. Even when it was screaming at me, I overrode whatever wisdom it had to offer in favor of my rational analysis, and always to my my detriment! I’ve learned the hard way that when my heart has something to say, I better be quiet and listen! And while I still appreciate and use my analytic skills, I trust my intuition as the final authority.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..The Curiosity of Not KnowingMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/21/2012 at 2:19 pm

      Sounds like we came from similar backgrounds Galen. We lawyers and accountants usually tend to live by our analytical minds. I spent most of my life doing what my mind said I should be doing, stuffing down my intuitive voice. Once I finally let my inner voice sing, my life was transformed for the best. Why does it have to take us so long to figure this out? Who knows. I’m grateful that we did.

      Thank you so much for being here! You’re awesome!

      Reply
    Julie | A Clear Sign
    Commented:  03/21/2012 at 5:07 am

    Hi Paige,

    It’s so interesting the way you’ve outlined this because that is exactly how intuitive readings are done. First you gather all of the data (intuitively) and then you pass it through the Logical Mind for synthesis.

    From personal experience I would say that listening to your body for the gut reactions and the heart reactions is critcal in decision making. I have a very strong sense of right and wrong for me, almost to the point of black and white, but for other people who may not have “come made that way”, that would be the primary thing to do before anything else.
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..Presentiment Or PremonitionMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/21/2012 at 2:15 pm

      Julie,

      I think you’re one of the “lucky” ones to have “come that way” in terms of easily being able to listen to and hear your body and heart. Actually, I think we all come that way at birth. Society teaches us not to trust our gut/intuition/instincts and to follow the safety of the crowd, even when it’s not in our best interest. As we grow up and are socialized, we learn that our logical mind should rule. Well, look where that usually leads us. For me, to not such great places in terms of being a happy person.

      The more I’ve learned to peel back the layers of societal programming and get back in touch with my essence, what we were all born with, the happier I am.

      As you’ve said, listening to the heart is critical to our decision making. Thanks so much for the great comment! I appreciate you being here!

      Reply
    Brian Johnson
    Commented:  03/20/2012 at 2:03 pm

    Great post Paige!

    I do have to disagree with your last commenter Nia. The heart has a complex intrinsic nervous system that is sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a “little brain” in its own right, which is why we have a whole field dedicated to Neurocardiology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurocardiology. The hearts nervous system has over 40,000 neurons that detect bodily changes in pressure and chemicals, all done automatically.

    I love Gavin De Becker’s quote “Intuition is informed experience” which is essentially your “gut” (typically in the chest area) reaction. This intuition is not woo woo, but rather a more primal response to stimulus and “thinking”

    Obviously the logical mind/brain has evolved us to where we are today, and we all have times when our intuitions are off, but Paige’s point of pausing before reacting is an extremely valuable one.

    I think ultimately what we are looking for is synchronicity of the two. Misalignment of either can be the start of disease and dysfunction.

    Brian
    Brian Johnson recently posted..Recipe Skills: Nourishing Chicken StockMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/20/2012 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks for all the great information Brian! I knew there was something like that out there but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ve heard that the heart is like a different kind of brain.

      I think people were much more in tune with their intuitions a few hundred years ago and earlier – before technologies and the pace of life interfered with our ability to stay in touch with the flow of energy throughout the Universe.

      I totally agree with you that disease can result from a misalignment of the two. When we do things against what our bodies try to tell us, it creates all kinds of internal, physiological resistance. If we maintain that resistance long enough, the body starts to weaken.

      More evidence that staying in the flow and doing things that feel good (per the LOA) will result in us being healthy and happy!

      Reply
    Nia
    Commented:  03/20/2012 at 3:42 am

    First things first; I always find this comparison not ideal. First of all, the heart is just being used as a symbol. C’mon, the heart cannot think or have intuitions, that is the work of the brain. A better analysis should say logical thinking versus intuitions. So much for this.

    If we want to be happy, it will really take a lot of thinking. We have to balance our intuition and what is logical.
    Nia recently posted..six flags couponsMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/20/2012 at 11:50 am

      Yes, Nia, I could have used different terms. I think we all understand the point regardless of the terminology. And, yes, we do need to learn to balance the two. Unfortunately our culture seems to put a bit too much weight on logical thinking and doing vs. intuition and being, which are incredibly powerful.

      Reply
    Aileen | Kaizen Vision
    Commented:  03/20/2012 at 1:13 am

    When my head & my heart agree I know it’s right. It’s all those other times when it’s a deep challenge. If I look at the past there were times my head was right and my heart not quite, and there were times when my heart was right and not my head. Pausing and considering highest values are great suggestions – a lot of clarity comes from that 🙂

    Great post!!
    Aileen | Kaizen Vision recently posted..Personal Kaizen | 5 Tips When You’re on an Unclear PathMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/20/2012 at 1:34 am

      Thanks Aileen! It’s rare that our head and heart agree. To lessen the two being at odds with each other, introducing our values gets them both looking in the same direction.

      Reply
    Nancy Shields
    Commented:  03/19/2012 at 2:16 pm

    Another wonderful post Paige –

    I like the breathing part and taking a break part – sometimes we do this knee jerk reaction and end up making not so good decisions for I don’t believe there’s ever a “bad” decision. It is a decision and you do the best you can.

    I’m in the midst of making a decision right now and I am thankful that these words came at the right time – maybe I just need a break…..

    In gratitude,
    Nancy
    Nancy Shields recently posted..LIFE BY DESIGN….I LOVE MINEMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/20/2012 at 12:55 am

      Breaks, in all kinds of contexts, are so undervalued. Giving yourself a little time to clear your head and breathe can make such a huge difference. When your mind is swirling and you’re feeling pressure to do something, the best thing may be to do nothing. The answers sometimes come effortlessly then.

      I’m glad I can help Nancy!

      Reply
    Evelyn Lim
    Commented:  03/19/2012 at 4:41 am

    I used to use my head mostly to make decisions. But I found myself experiencing an internal conflict going on. Eventually I discovered that I needed to listen to my heart more. It is great to make decisions at the point where heart meets mind.

    I like your tip on supporting ourselves with our highest values. I did not use to know what mine were until I started on a self-discovery journey a few years back. From knowing what my values are, decision-making becomes much easier.

    Thanks for an insightful post!
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..25 Labels in Your Negative Self-TalkMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/19/2012 at 6:30 am

      Thank you so much Evelyn! I used to come strongly from my head too. After growing up in an environment where feeling emotions wasn’t safe, I learned to shut them out. It took a few decades to realize that I had done this and change it. Now I allow my heart to sing more freely and it feels great.

      Whenever I have a choice, the first thing I do now is go through a mental checklist asking myself how each option will serve each of my values. As I think about matching a choice with a value, I pause and listen to my heart by doing a quick body scan. My of the feelings that I get are in my heart or my gut. If there’s tension, it’s probably not the right choice although sometimes that’s just fear of change. I’m starting to learn what fear of change feels like on its own so I know to probe deeper when I feel it.

      Decisions made with a balance of the two are key but, for me, the heart carries a much larger weight.

      Thanks for being here Evelyn!

      Reply
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog
    Commented:  03/19/2012 at 1:39 am

    I feel like it’s a fine balance between the head and the heart. What struck me when reading this is how when we take the time to resonate with who we really are, and what we want to accomplish, we will make our decisions to consciously fulfill those needs and feelings.

    I can’t say I always practiced this way of thinking and consequently have things I wish I wouldn’t have done and things I wish I would have done because I rushed into making a decision. It feels good to have learned from those lessons and to continue to read and fill my whole being with the ideas you bring to all of your articles. Mahalo.

    Connection with the earth helps too… thanks for including it! 🙂
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog recently posted..Paw to Earth ConnectionMy Profile

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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/19/2012 at 6:17 am

      So right Jt! Thank you! Connecting with who we are and what serves us best (instead of trying to please others) will always lead to happier decisions. I love how you see some of your decisions as sources of learning instead of mistakes. There are no mistakes or wrong decisions. They’re all learning experiences.

      I wish I could connect with the earth more often but snow and freezing temps keep my boots on for much of the year here. But the snow is starting to melt…

      Reply
    Fran Sorin
    Commented:  03/19/2012 at 12:06 am

    Paige….Talk about synchronicity. I needed to fill out a questionnaire on Friday that practically mirrors what you express in this post. Great stuff.

    The one thing that I am focused on right now is trusting my physical responses when making a decision….the tightness I feel, anxiety, headache…an overall malaise. In the past , I have blamed myself for being indecisive. But in the past few years, I have come to realize that it is my heart that is speaking to me. On the other hand, when something feels right, even when logic says ‘no’, I sit on it at least 24 hours before making a decision….often much longer. Then I move forward. But when I feel passion, exuberance and that something is ‘fits like a perfect glove’…no pun intended …then I follow my intuition.

    I like what you said about letting the monkey mind do its dance. I try to give it space up to a point. I write down the thoughts that they parade in my mind so that I remember them after the fact. Then when I’ve had enough of those little soldiers, I quietly but forcefully tell them to go march in another arena. Meditation, visualization and mantras are helpful…as a lot of us know. It’s the consistency of using these tools that makes a significant difference in how much power we exercise over the monkey mind.

    And how wonderful it is when we our minds are clear and we feel at peace when making any type of decision…which I’m trying to do right now …continue writing or get myself outside and go rowing…LOL 🙂 Fran
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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/19/2012 at 5:57 am

      It’s great that you’re trusting the messages of your body! So many people think that our bodies are somehow completely disconnected from our thoughts and emotions. That physical ailments happen for purely physiological reasons. Given my lifetime of experience, I would say that 98% of ailments are purely emotional or ways of the heart trying to make itself known.

      Even when we go through a process to make a decision, regardless of how long that process takes, we may not feel 100% certain that we’ve made the right one. In all cases, we can’t second guess ourselves. It serves no purpose. If we take action and it doesn’t feel right, we simply make a different decision at that point and move forward from there.

      Thanks for the great comment Fran!

      Reply
    Betsy at Zen Mama
    Commented:  03/18/2012 at 10:15 pm

    Paige,
    I like that you say there should be a balance of heart and head. And I love your #3 tip to “pause”. I’m trying to do more slowing down this year. My three core values are similar to yours: my family, my health and my commitment to helping others.

    Great post!!
    Betsy at Zen Mama recently posted..Start Thinking You’re Lucky With “Lucky Thinking”My Profile

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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/18/2012 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks Betsy! My value of helping others is actually #4 for me. I put integrity before it because I feel that I can’t help others as well if I don’t walk my talk. We have a lot of things in common and slowing down is definitely one of them. I still keep thinking of your stay-cation when the electricity went out. I love it when that happens!

      Reply
    Melody | Deliberate Receiving
    Commented:  03/18/2012 at 11:18 am

    Awesome post Paige. For me, personally, I think the heart is WAY smarter. That’s my main criteria – what is it that I feel like doing? Do I want this or is it an obligation. But I love that you included the part about letting the monkey mind have a say. Because if we don’t make peace with our minds, they will sabotage us. We don’t have to let our mind decide, but we do have to get it to agree. The trick is in finding the perspective that will allow for that.

    Huge hugs!
    Melody
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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/18/2012 at 10:18 pm

      I completely agree with you Melody. It has taken me a while to realize it but the heart always knows best. I continue to work on feeling good and making decisions based on that. I so often lean toward doing things because I feel that they are obligations that must be met. Sometimes those obligations make me feel good and sometimes not. It’s a constant practice. I continue to learn so much from reading your posts. Thank you so much!!

      Reply
    Sylviane Nuccio
    Commented:  03/18/2012 at 6:42 am

    Hi Paige,

    This can be a dilemma sometimes. Should we listen to our heart or should we listen to our head? On top of this some religions teach you “not” to listen to your heart based on the Bible verse that “the heart is threaterous”.

    However, we can’t adopt our own balance and get more insight on the matter and know if we should be listening to our heat or head on any specific matter.

    There are some times when I should have listened to my heart and some times where I should have listen to my head, but again it’s because I had not trained myself, yet, the way I am now.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..13 Steps To Attract SuccessMy Profile

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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/18/2012 at 10:14 pm

      It takes practice to learn how to slow down and be quiet enough to listen to our hearts. Sometimes what we think is our heart/intuition is just the monkey mind being sneaky.

      Society (which definitely includes organized religion) tries to teach us that we can’t trust our heart. I think that came about a long time ago as a way for religions and governments to control the masses. If they teach people not to trust themselves and only trust “the system” then people become sheep who can easily be manipulated. It’s still happening today.

      Stick with your training Sylviane. Your heart will always guide you in a way that’s best for you.

      Reply
    Vidya Sury
    Commented:  03/17/2012 at 11:05 pm

    The state I am constantly looking for is balance and harmony. I go a lot by intuition followed by some monkey-mind-ness. I play the devil’s advocate with myself. But as I muse over most of my major decisions in life, I realize it has always been triggered by gut feeling.

    And yes, there are situations when it is hard to decide – that’s when I use my T-chart with the debit and credit columns to see what weighs in better, why and how. Through the process, I find myself becoming calmer and more focused because it is all out there in black and white (or whatever color pen and paper I am using – but always large print you know :-P) In any case, it minimizes the regrets and if onlys.

    I like your process too. (Obviously I would :D). It certainly helps to write it down and put it away and come back to it the next day with a fresh mind.

    Naturally, we need a balance between head and heart.

    As always, great post, beautifully written. By the way, did I ever tell you I love how you write? 😀
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Money MattersMy Profile

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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/18/2012 at 10:08 pm

      I love you Vidya! Balance is good and, of course, I love your T-chart (being an accountant myself). While we can do all kinds of analytical analsyes, our gut tends to override all that. I usually feel that doing the pro’s and con’s is more to calm down the monkey than to actually contribute to the decision. It helps to allay all the “what if’s” and possible regrets (which are a waste of thought and energy) as we feel that we’ve thought everything out.

      Thank you so much for a wonderful comment!

      Reply
    kelli cooper
    Commented:  03/17/2012 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Paige
    This was an excellent post and I think it outlined one of the biggest dilemmas we face in trying to live an authentic life true to who we are and what we want. Logical thinking surely has its place in various types of decisions and I am not knocking it, but I think we rely on it far too much and it is to our detriment. I have always been someone to do things based on feeling and while my head got in the way sometimes and still does, I have gotten better at honoring the feelings because that is where the truth lies. Because the conditioning we have received over time is full of limiting beliefs and other junky stuff, it can still get in the way and make us doubt. Getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable has helped me tremendously…I know I am on the right path and I know the bad stuff popping up is not truly me or truly what I believe and I am getting better at observing it rather than totally getting consumed.
    kelli cooper recently posted..Always Happy to Discuss, Never Interested in Arguing, Convincing, Defending or ProvingMy Profile

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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/18/2012 at 8:57 pm

      Sounds like you’ve done quite a bit of work to get to the great place where you are Kelli. Our society seems to reward the logical way of thinking where things can supposedly be “proven.” I find it interesting that quantum physics is finally proving that intuition and all the intangibles can, indeed, be proven.

      Best of luck in your journey!

      Reply
    Neseret
    Commented:  03/17/2012 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Paige,

    I think the chanllenge is often having our head and heart working together. It is a balancing act of using logic and intuition. I often make decisions by checking with both. I also consider my highest values which are health, family and friends, serving my true purpose in life and love and compassion.

    Wishing you many blessings and peace,

    Neseret
    Neseret recently posted..Healing is ChangeMy Profile

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      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/18/2012 at 8:49 pm

      Yes, it’s definitely a balance, Neseret. My history is that I’ve let my head rule when my heart knew best. I’m finally learning to be open to hearing my heart. It’s made a huge difference in my life.

      Many beautiful blessings to you!

      Reply

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