“Should I follow my heart or listen to my head?” This is a question we have all had to ask ourselves at some stage in life, and when faced with a decsion it can be tricky to know what to do. However, no matter where you are at in life, if you want to live FULLY it’s good to have a check-in system, so you are better equipt to make good decisions.
On the surface, following your heart seems like a great idea. It seems like the most natural thing to do because we are by our very nature driven by our emotions. However, the tough bit about following your heart is that sometimes your heart can take you to places you shouldn’t be, and because feelings are faster than logic, it can take you there very quickly. Emotion does not involve logic or reason. It draws to us the people and things we desire, not necessarily those that will lead to a good life.
On the flip side, your brain has for the most part been programmed by your environment over time, and it is based on belief systems. This can result in making poor choices too, if the beliefs you formed aren’t healthy or productive ones.
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When it comes to living FULLY, it’s important that you don’t let your heart or your head do the decision making alone. It is only when your heart and your intellect consult and work together in unison that you will make good choices.
You could liken your heart to your inner GPS system. Imagine driving down a road and you are having a great time. It feels right and you go forward with ease and joy. Then you come to a sign that says there is a very dangerous oil spill ahead. Imagine that sign to be your logical brain. Your heart wants to continue but your brain tells you that if you take that route, you could put yourself in danger. What do you do, listen to your heart or listen to your head?
If you were in an abusive relationship, for example, and your heart is in love with your partner, your natural inclination might be to gravitate to the part of the relationship that felt good. But when your brain raises a flag that tells you to question your safety, for example, it would be wise to listen to your head, not just your heart, wouldn’t it?
Your happiness is your responsibility, and your happiness will ultimately be determined by the decisions you make in life. So, in my opinion, it’s best to lead with your heart but take your brain with you! Here are a few tips to get your heart and your head to work in unison.
Pause before making any decision.
Take time out and allow yourself to become relaxed so you can access clarity. Breathing slowly in the comfort of a relaxing space will help you do this.
Relaxation clears your thinking and you will make better decisions with a clear head. In a space of clarity your heart and your head will consult with each other. Think of it like an inner board meeting! Listen and reflect.
The following are examples of questions you could consider, depending on the situation, and you can do this as a written exercise for extra clarity.
- “Does this situation give or take my energy?”
- “Do I feel empowered or disempowered?”
- “Am I going toward an adventure or running from fear?”
- “Am I listening to my lessons learned from the past?”
- “Would I make the same choice if I had a a lot of money in my pocket?”
- “Do I feel respected and valued?”
- “Am I trying to control the situation or am I leaving room for expansion?”
- “Am I looking to get my needs met in a way that is not healthy?”
Write out the pros and cons.
A great way to approach a decision-making situation is to write out the pros and cons. Get a page and divide it into two columns. In column 1 write “Consequences of doing X” (X indicates one decision) and in the second column put “Consequences of Not Doing X” Writing it out will allow the logical part of your brain to activate as you “feel” your decision. Then when you’ve filled in your two columns, read what you’ve written aloud. Reading them aloud will give you a very real and possibly different perspective of your situation and decision.
Sleep On it!
When we sleep our brain naturally organises and files information and emotion. It will, through a metaphorical dream process, try to resolve any intense emotion you experience day-to-day, allowing you to wake up with a clear head. Sleep is a recharge that can serve you well.
Approach the situation from someone else’s point of view.
Think of someone you respect and ask yourself what they would do and how they would do it, given the same decision. A different perspective can change everything. If you need help or an opinion, ask for it.
Surround Yourself with Productive Positive Thinkers.
You got your accent because you were around people with the same or similar accent, right? The same applies to thinking styles! Good thinkers will help you think clearly.
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