While it’s almost a cliche to say “happiness comes from within,” it happens to be true. Our contentment and peace as human beings actually comes from the wise mind inside of us. Our wise mind is the part of us that lets us experience joy, and also helps calm and soothe our anxiety.
There’s a place inside all of us that is strong, calm and balanced. We intuitively know how to handle baffling, even frightening situations when we’re in this place.
DBT therapy calls this integrated self our “wise mind.” It’s particularly useful for anxious people because it’s a strong, calm place we can learn to cultivate to soothe our anxiety.
Wise mind is that part of each person that can know and experience truth. It is where the person knows something to be true or valid. It is almost always quiet, it has a certain peace. It is where the person knows something in a centered way.
– Marsha Linehan, founder of DBT
What Is Wise Mind?
Wise mind is a mixture of two other mental states, emotion mind and reasonable mind. We use our reasonable (rational) minds for day-to-day problem solving that requires logical, fact-based thinking. For example, looking up bus routes for a day trip is using reasonable mind.
We are in emotion mind when our thinking and behavior is governed mostly by feelings. Logic and facts don’t play much of a role in emotion mind. It’s often hard to think rationally when we’re in this state. Our emotion mind is when we act on impulse — just because we feel like it. Playing, fighting, and making love are all examples of emotion mind.
How to Calm and Soothe Anxiety Using Wise Mind
Wise mind is a deep intuitive knowing, the place where our thoughts and emotions work as a unified whole. We’ve all experienced this place, and we can teach ourselves how to access it more often.
We cultivate our wise mind anytime we practice mindfulness. Being mindful simply means to be in the present moment as best we can, to pay attention to what’s happening right now. Mindfulness is a core principle of the Driving Peace program, and is how we learn to access that centered, balanced place within that DBT refers to as “wise mind.”
Anything that slows down our thoughts and brings us into the “Now” will, with practice, help us get in touch with the power of wise mind. Here are some simple DBT mindfulness exercises that will help you with this.
Our wise mind is always there inside us, waiting for us to tap into it. It can bring us peace and strength we didn’t even know we had. Cultivating mindfulness is one of the ways we achieve inner freedom and soothe our anxiety, whatever form it may take.