November 30, 2021

Make better decisions by making friends with your mind

Make better decisions by making friends with your mind

Have you noticed the one long conversation we have with ourselves? For even the most banal of tasks, we process actions through discursive thought. “Where’s my phone?” “I’ve got to remember that email…" all muttered quietly or silently to ourselves. The same process works for more high stakes actions and decisions where the tone and content shape what happens next and how we feel – for better or worse. 

Having a practice of observing the nature of these conversations with the intent of making friends with the mind is an essential tool for better decision making and wellbeing. Scientists call this metacognition or self-awareness. Overcoming our many cognitive biases requires an awareness of our thought processes, for example. Rational, reasoned logic and more ethical choices are made possible through metacognition. Catching and re-writing the negative stories we make up about ourselves also trains our metacognition, which in turn helps us regulate our emotions.

There are downsides, however. If we don’t have a framework to kindly unpack our thought processes, this heightened awareness can be damaging. Paying closer attention to negative thought patterns can make those thoughts more potent. 

That’s why it’s so important to make friends with the mind. In that endeavour, I connect with my drama triangles and the various personas that dominate my thoughts – both what I say and how I say it. Lately, three main personas are dominating my inner chatter:

  • Katie the Critic judges everything. Above the line, she helps me excel and maintain high standards. Below the line, she fuels a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction that can turn into anxiety if left to percolate unchecked. And she can be really hard to have a relationship with – personally and professionally.
  • Sergeant the Drill Sergeant keeps me in line. Daily routines, churning through the work, exercising regularly…above the line Serg is key to me getting sh*t done. Below the line, he gets very disappointed when I indulge Wendy…
  • Wendy is my Peter Pan persona – Wendy just wants to have fun!! That extra chocolate, sleeping in, good champagne. Above the line, she keeps things positive and upbeat. Below the line, she can take things to excess. She seeks out stressful situations and there have been plenty of those this year.     

Seeing and labelling these personas helps me access metacognition at times it matters most and with an accepting smile. Sharing them with the people in my life invites them to call them out too.

How do you make friends with your mind?

If you’d like to experience the emotional freedom that comes with making friends with your mind, then email me about my Compass program.

PS. a special thanks to my wonderful coach, Kate Hutson, from The Conscious Leadership Group who has been giving me the gift of being fully seen.

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