The head, the heart, the gut. We all have some experience with thinking from these different areas and making decisions based on different criteria. Recent research has shown distinctions in the human nervous system in these three areas are enough to warrant deeper questions as to the nature of our thinking, processing, and decision making with respect to different areas of our lives.
Most people respect the brain as the complex system that acquires data, skills, procedures, etc. and can solve problems, so basically critical thinking or logic. We can form opinions, then change our mind if we discover or accept new data. We consider this rational thinking.
Our hearts often lead us astray by following unclear rules of love, hate, and many bias’. Many times we lose heart and are disillusioned with the process of interpersonal relationships in love, business, and friendships. Loneliness is a pain not endured well. If injured to much, then fear of further hurt will constrict our decisions, however, the continuing development of our heart is driven by courage. Risking love can bring the comfort we seek.
“Gut instinct” has been a concept we all recognize but have a difficult time defining. It is the vague senses that tell us something is different than what it appears to be. We may encounter a smiling person but determine that they feel “creepy” and thus avoid them. But our gut instinct also can lead us to choose the correct path in life because it feels so right. The way to trust our gut is to be intimately connected to our core self. The investment in core self is through quiet contemplation and resulting in acceptance and love for our inner, true self.
All of these systems of thinking can be compromised. This most often happens when we are not being true. To live a clean, healthy life allows the brain to operate on good energy (diet), plenty of oxygen from exercise and proper breathing, and avoiding poisons such as drugs and alcohol. The heart is nourished by surrounding ourselves with people who have proven trustworthy as well as investment in our inner relationship through meditation and prayer. And finally, the gut is nourished by good diet (healthy probiotics), and knowing the difference between personal bias and true instinct.
Thriving is multidimensional. Each piece of the puzzle serves to inspire us on to be curious as to how we, the individual, are constructed so that we may be more efficient operators of our own systems. To be the captain of our own ship, we must understand how things work but also how to direct them. The head is about logic, the heart is about courage, and the gut is about instinct.