Early this morning, my mind was telling me to cancel my Pilates lesson, because I have a cold and I was feeling a bit groggy. Then I remembered a message I had received which said, ‘Don’t rely on your mind to make decisions. It’s not that reliable!’
What this means to me is that our minds are well-trained in logical argument, but most good decisions are not based purely on logic. To make a good decision we also need to take account of emotions and our intuition.
When I considered my emotions, I remembered that I always feel more energised and positive after a Pilates lesson, and that during the lesson, I don’t think about anything else. I then considered the alternative: I would sit here feeling a bit sorry for myself, and eventually push myself into doing something. At this point it was a ‘no-brainer’ – isn’t that an accurate description for what I am talking about!!
How is this different from thinking through the pro’s and con’s in your head? It is the move from thinking to feeling which will work best for you. By imagining myself in the two alternative scenarios, I had a better sense of the experience of each. My imagination gave me the physical, mental and emotional effects of the alternatives, so that I could choose the one which felt most useful in its effect.
My mind could only work from how I was feeling at that moment, and we all know that our minds will reflect a negative mood in the way they think about things. They can give us reasons to believe that everything’s awful if we’re feeling a bit shitty in the first place. So our mind colours our thoughts according to our mood at that moment. (By the way, that is also why we are often more creative and constructive in our thinking when we’re in a good buoyant mood).
By shifting to imagining the outcome of the alternatives, I gave a chance for my body, heart and guts to play their part, so the mind was no longer prevalent.
So next time you’re trying to decide something that isn’t obvious, imagine your alternative outcomes and ask yourself:
- How do I feel if I get this outcome?
- What effect does it have on me physically?
- What effect does it have on me mentally?
- What effect does it have on me emotionally?
- Now, which one feels most useful/right?
By the way, I feel so much better now, post-pilates, than I did first thing this morning!