Mindy Aisling is a certified life coach & mediator, motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur, mountaineer, and 5-star shower-singer.
Being cerebral strong is a great quality. It allows you to be organized, disciplined, gather and analyze data, create educated opinions, explain your point of view, and so much more. Your mind is your friend! In fact, one of the first things you can do to get out of your mind and into your heart is to start loving your mind!
In this article, I am going to give you three tools to help you balance the relationship between your mind and your heart. First, however, we need to recognize what experiences occur when you are unbalanced in either direction.
Here are some experiences that come from being unbalanced in favor of the mind:
- Struggle—Anytime you are experiencing struggle, it is a sign that you are using too much mind and not enough heart. Adding more heart will increase your peace.
- Resistance—When you experience resistance to a thought, feeling, or situation, there is too much mind at play. Adding more heart will increase acceptance and presence.
- Judgment—If you find yourself in judgment (of self or others), this is a sign that your head/heart gauge is leaning too much towards “head." Increasing heart will bring in a wave of compassion.
- “Shoulding” – If you find yourself "shoulding" on yourself or another person, you are too much in your head. You might even find yourself "shoulding" on a role that you or others have in life. Examples of ‘shoulding’ statements are:
- “I should get more exercise”
- “She should eat less”
- “He should be more professional”
- “Mom’s should put their kids first”
- “Wives should serve their husbands”
Adding more heart will expand your awareness and creativity for yourself and others, decreasing the amount of "shoulds" that show up in your life.
"Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable."
— Leo Rosten
Here are some experiences that come from being unbalanced in favor of the heart:
- Wishy-washy—If you find yourself unable to decide what is best for you, what you really want, or how to take the next step to bring yourself closer to what you want, you might have too much heart and not enough mind. Bring your head into the game to help you analyze the data and make firm decisions.
- Undisciplined—Being unable to keep your word to yourself or others is often a lack of discipline. If you are experiencing difficulty doing what you say you are going to do, bring the mind in to guide you and keep you on the path you’ve set out for yourself.
- Lack of boundaries—If you are unable to create healthy boundaries to develop an environment to thrive in (at work, at home, or in relationships), try adding more of your brain to the situation so that you can actively choose to create the healthiest environment for yourself by creating healthy boundaries.
- Victimhood—If you find that you often feel mistreated, your mind can be your advocate for you. Sometimes people have too much heart or “love” for another person or situation that they allow themselves to be mistreated. If this sounds familiar, you can use your mind to help you create an environment of safety and empowerment.
"Heart and Brain are the two lords of life. In the metaphors of ordinary speech and in the stricter language of science, we use these terms to indicate two central powers, from which all motives radiate, to which all influences converge."
— George Henry Lewes
For optimal health, the heart and the mind are balanced and operating in collaboration and harmony. Both facilities are necessary to lead a life of purpose and passion.
Here are three tips to creating a balanced relationship between your heart and your head.
#1 Make a list. First, make a list of all the areas of your life where you would like to grow, or areas where you want to see change. Next, identify the current balance between head and heart in each situation.
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Area of my life where I would like to see growth/improvement:
What percentage of my head and my heart am I currently using in this situation? (Remember to consult the above descriptions of head/heart experiences.)
______% heart ______%head
What am I using less of in this situation (circle one) Head Heart
#2 Grow new muscles. Both the mind and the heart are muscles. You have to identify them, and then do specific exercises to grow them. Just like physical exercise, growing them might be uncomfortable. This means it’s working. For growing the balance between your mind and your heart, you will need to decide on what exercise you need to do, and how many "reps" of that exercise. For each of the areas you listed above, answer the following questions.
What exercise can I do to grow that underused muscle in this specific situation?
How often would I like to do that?
#3 Celebrate. Most of us are great at re-living our mistakes and failures over and over again so that we can properly beat ourselves up. We hold onto our shame and praise our pain, thinking that this will save us from further suffering in our future. When we do this, it is actually cementing that pathway of thinking in our brain. We create a 4-lane highway of negative beliefs about ourselves.
When we succeed, we rarely celebrate ourselves. Most of us have some remnants of a belief system that says we shouldn’t think too much of ourselves, we should never "toot our own horn," and that being “full of yourself” is a negative thing to be. Therefore, in our brains, this path remains just a rutted out dirt road.
If you experience yourself more often thinking something along the lines of, “I’m not good enough,” than something like, “I’m great and I’ve got it going on,” then it’s time to do some road construction in your brain. The good news is that research about neuroplasticity supports the fact that you can change your brain!
Therefore, this final step of balancing your head and heart is vital. Every time you choose a new, more balanced way (as you outlined above), celebrate yourself. This is how you will create that dirt road of positive thoughts in your brain into a 4-lane highway. How will you celebrate yourself?
Four ways I can celebrate my accomplishments are:
Finally, assess your level of commitment. On a scale of 1-10 how willing are you to do the work to bring your heart and head into balance?
1 (not at all)………… ………………………………………….10 (100% committed)
Remember, commitment is the key to any successful endeavor. If you are not committed today, that’s fine, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, just keep this opportunity in your mind. Get curious about how your life could be different if you did commit more to taking positive action to create the life you say you want. In the future, when you feel ready, these tools are always here for you.
If you feel that you are a 6 or higher on the commitment scale, then congratulations, you are about to embark on a journey of self-discovery to create balance in your life that will allow you to feel an increasing sense of freedom! Good luck, I know that you are going to accomplish great things!