Mind or heart? It is a question whose answer is unresolvable. Both are equally important. Then why is it so difficult to choose one?
Robert Frost was one of the most renowned American poets. In one of his poems called “The Road Not Taken”, he addressed the dilemma, a person faces when he is standing in the diversion of two roads. In the poem, the poet chose to travel the road less traveled. Our mind, most of the time, instructs us to choose the path that already has been laid. The path which is already made will be easier and quicker for us to establish ourselves.
Nevertheless, this ‘easy’ path comes with its own challenges as we have become a member of the herd. If we choose the other path, for which our heart says, ‘Go for it man!’, we can design it, the way we want. Since there is no ‘herd’ to follow, we will become our own master. But, we have to take responsibility and nourish our choice, just like a baby.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘dilemma’ is a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable. In reality, it is a battle that a person has to fight and win over it. This win can become a landmark in our lives.
One of the most prevalent questions in our life is, which one to follow: mind or heart? Some say, “Do what your heart says” and some say, “Use your brain”. According to Robert Bulwer, ‘A good heart is better than all the heads in the world’. The heart is the essence of our spiritual and emotional being. The depth of the emotions is felt with the heart, not with the brain. Without emotions, human beings are nothing but mere robots.
The joy of an achievement, love from partners, care from family, and rejections are felt with heart, not mind. The mind tells us to do what is good for ourselves. But, the heart tells how to put ourselves aside and do things that will make other people happy. At times, we get fooled by our hearts by choosing the wrong people in our lives. In such cases, waves of emotions engulf us. There is no doubt that activity performed with heart gives immense pleasure.
Science behind the pains
In situations of tragedy and rejections, one goes through a “heartbreak” which actually is a scientific phenomenon. According to the studies made, our brain registers the emotional pain of heartbreak in the same way as physical pain, and therefore, we feel our heartbreak is causing actual physical hurt. The levels of dopamine and oxytocin, which make us feel good, drop and are replaced with the stress hormone, cortisol. The rise in the levels of the hormone, cortisol contributes to anxiety, nausea, acne, and weight gain. In such situations, our mind comes to our rescue.
Logical reasons and analysis make things simpler and help to overcome impossible situations. The mind makes strategies to do things in a right and rational way pertaining to the situations. In some cases, our mind keeps a check on what our heart is making us do.
Brain, the master
The brain can be divided into three parts: the reptilian brain, the limbic brain, and the neocortex brain. The reptilian brain is the survival kit of our body which helps us survive in tough times. The limbic brain, which is the most complicated part, is responsible for our success and failures. It also takes charge of our emotions. This part of our brain makes us decide on the basis of our gut feeling and is responsible for our attitudes, way of being, and facing life. The neocortex brain is our best friend during examinations as it retains memories, dates, and knowledge and helps in analyzing the pros and cons of each situation in order to come to a conclusion.
It’s often said, ‘listen to your heart, not your mind’, what actually is ‘listen to your limbic brain, not neocortex brain’.
The balancing work is easier said than done. But, not impossible. It is very important to give time to ourselves as “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
- It is very important to listen to both our minds and heart. We should not suppress the indications of both worlds.
- Introspection helps in decluttering our minds. We should sit with ourselves, away from the hustle and bustle around us, and question ourselves about our insecurities and fears.
- Meditation is a great thing to do for contemplation.
- Exercising and maintaining a healthy life helps us think about all the possibilities we have.
- Realize that it’s completely alright to have confusion. It is not necessary to always choose a difficult path if we are not ready to face the risk.
- It is important to realize all the positives and negatives of the path we choose. It is often fruitful to embrace a calculative risk. A calculative risk is when we are responsible to take charge of the consequences.
- Watching inspirational movies, reading self-help books, and listening to podcasts help in getting a third-party perspective. Most of the time, these perspectives and our thoughts don’t align. But, we should brace ourselves and give thought to the points.
- A healthy body will give a healthy mind. A sound mind will bring healthy and positive thoughts in our lives. But, not to ignore the negatives as these thoughts bring out the harsh reality in front of us.
Our conscious mind wants stability and security. But our heart wants to take a plunge and reach the other side. Nevertheless, it helps us make that bold move which changes one’s life completely. It’s a never-ending debate. There is no specific way to choose and decide: mind or heart. This choice is subjective. The underlying notion is that the best decision is the decision taken when both our mind and heart resonates. The mind is the content of who we are and our heart is the essence of our being. As Steve Jobs said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”.