General Question

JHUstudent's avatar

Why does your heart and your mind constantly tell you two different things?

Asked by JHUstudent (598 points ) October 17th, 2012

What is it that makes our heart feel one thing, and our mind the complete opposite? And which should you listen to more often?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

Unbroken's avatar

I liken it to the government. A three tier checks and balance system. They moderate each other. Not a perfect system but where every individual has a choice not only are they something but also actively not pursuing another. As to which you should follow more is completely up to you. Do you like your goals, is your current path helping or hindering them. Are you balanced? Will you always wonder what would have happened had you taken the other fork? Are you making this choice because it feels safe and comfortable? If struggling with a choice those are a few questions to explore. Problem solving works best for me through a work out or in nature.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Logic & emotion. I think it has something to do with those two words.

Sapphire_Frenzy's avatar

I agree, logic and emotion.

I’m rather on logic’s side.

Response moderated (Spam)
zenvelo's avatar

There is a third component, the body. Hormones. At certain times I am attracted to women that I have no attraction for me other than being available. I am sure they feel the same about me. My mind and my heart keep me from being reckless and impolite.

thorninmud's avatar

Because of your prefrontal cortex. This is the most recent evolutionary add-on to the human brain, and the last part of the brain to become fully operational as a person matures. Until the PFC comes online, desires and impulses, which are based in more primitive brain regions, dictate behaviors.

The PFC is the part of the brain responsible for reasoning out the consequences of a course of action. It uses memory of past experiences to predict what will happen if you do A,B or C, then decides how well those scenarios fit in with your overall goals (and it’s the PFC that’s also in charge of your goals). A strong, well connected PFC has the power to override desire and impulse if it sees that they’re about to screw up your best interests.

marinelife's avatar

Most of the time you want to listen to your mind informed by your heart.

Your mind is the seat of logic. For example, for a decision between two jobs you can make a grid with the advantages and disadvantages of each, but one space on the grid has to be for how you would feel about the work, and your potential co-workers and that needs to factor into your decision. If you couldn’t stand the thought of working someplace, then there is no point in creating the grid.

If you want to live somewhere, perhaps you are drawn to the beach, but you can’t afford a waterfront house, then you can use your mind to figure out how to make it possible. Perhaps you can afford to rent a small house not far from the beach or you train to work in the hospitality industry so you are working on the water.

dabbler's avatar

I think @marinelife puts it succinctly, mind informed by the heart.
You can use the mind to think out a solution that is reasonable and yet satisfies the heart too.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Your heart leads with emotion and fire. It says that would be so so good. Your brain looks at things and runs through the possible consequences and says but it also could be so so bad. Your heart breaks and flips your brain the bird. Your brain says it agrees, but sometimes life sucks. (believe me this makes sense)

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t know how things break down physiologically, but in terms of spirit, the heart is the motivator. It is the source of dreams and goals. It is like the engine of a car. The brain is like the steering wheel. It plots out the route of how we attain what we want. The engine just wants to keep moving forward, oblivious to obstacles or the cliff ahead. Without heart, we would not do anything that was not reflexive. Without brain, we would not be able to get anywhere.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sometimes guys think with the “other head”. That makes “heart” and “mind” look like gentle waves in a tsunami.

wundayatta's avatar

Heart and mind are metaphors, but it isn’t clear exactly what for. @thorninmud says the mind is the prefrontal cortex. @marinelife calls it the head. Similarly, the heart is called by different names here, such as “emotions” or “fire.” @zenvelo throws in hormones and the body.

What we have are multiple decision-making and analytical methods built into us. Some we think of as being more cognitive—pure thought; and others we think of as being more automatic—chemistry.

I think it makes sense to think of having multiple “minds” that all discuss with each other (and sometimes argue), about what is the best action to take. Some of these decision-makers take very fast decisions and want to do things now. Others are more deliberative and careful and want to make sure everything is carefully thought through.

Sometimes we have time to think things through cognitively, and sometimes we will lose an opportunity if we don’t do it now! But if we take a fast decision, there’s a greater chance of getting it wrong. There’s also a greater chance of a big reward. If we make a carefully thought out decision, we may lose an opportunity, but we may also reduce the chance of making a mistake.

Our different minds see things from different perspectives and have different decision-making algorithms. They weight various considerations differently. That’s why they can seem to be telling us different things. In the end, though, we make a choice. Sometimes we change our minds—which almost literally means changing from one mind to another one that has a different decision.

It’s pretty complex, and I think we should value all of our minds, and not necessarily assume that the logical mind is any better than the intuitive mind or the hormonal mind. It would be a big mistake to assume that our emotions are stupid. All our minds are important, and by listening to them all, I think we make the best decisions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Absolutely, it’s one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I get confused and angry when the two conflict, which isn’t very often, and only with people I care very much about.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I’m going to add the word moral to the above “logic and emotions.”

I believe the morals we are raised with often carries us into a logical decision that is based on emotions.

Of course there are certain people who lack emotions and morals and therefore cannot make a logical decision.

Also sometimes pure emotions pave the road regardless of logic or moral.

It all depends on your character or lack there of, I suppose.

Listen to what is best for you and the involved parties if any at that time.

Sunny2's avatar

Feel with your heart and enjoy it, but make decisions with your logical mind. In the long run, your mind will serve you better. After 50 years together, the reasons I married my husband still hold true. The emotional feelings are still there, but the fire burns lower and it’s okay.

Coloma's avatar

A house divided. lol

Yes, logic, emotion, hormones, and maybe just plain old common neurosis.

I am rather unusual for a woman, in the sense that I have a rare personality type that is driven more by logic and rational thought than feeling and emotion. I AM very spontaneous but base my decisions much more so on logic and rational thought than emotion. I think I am pretty well integrated this last decade or so, I have no trouble owning my emotional side, feel deeply and have lots of compassion, but emotion will never be the driving force behind my choices.

I really don’t do well with overly emotional types that confuse feelings with facts and have learned to avoid useless, irrational, feeling based arguments with mega feeler types.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Once upon a time, I attended a workshop for people who conducted training. The facilitator talked about the importance of getting a message across to the audience through connecting with the mind (logic), the heart (the emotion), and the gut (instinct).

As an example, the instructor showed a video clip of former President George W. Bush giving a speech about the status of Hurricane Katrina and the plight of those impacted. The first portion was about Bush citing statistics. A video pan to the audience showed some people nodding while others just stood there listening.

When Bush moved on to providing stories about personal experiences shared by survivors, the crowd got a bit weepy. Obviously some were moved by the emotional tales of those that were suffering.

It wasn’t until Bush wrapped up the speech with what needed to happen and called on the audience to contribute to the cause that a thunderous applause broke out. This was the influencing of the gut or instinct.

The mind, heart and gut are all just metaphors for different types of human reactions. Yet, there is a distinction between the three. Logic, emotion and instinct are all handled differently, and all come from our brain.

zenvelo's avatar

This conversation reminds me of what I hear from teachers of yoga and other bodywork:

“Mind, Body, Spirit”

To be truly integrated, one must be paying attention to all three spheres, and the alignment of all three is necessary for a healthy life.

Coloma's avatar

@zenvelo Yes, integration or being congruent. :-)

apcvin's avatar

You could read ‘The Heartmath Solution’ by Doc Childre, Howard Martin, and Donna Beech. It is a very interesting book.
Talks about the heart, and how it is more than a muscle that pumps blood into out bodies. It is actually an organ that has its own intelligence.

Trinley's avatar

Not only that, you’ve got to listen to your heart, to your mind, to your body, and to your deepest spirit. The mind tells you what’s logical, right and wrong, its smart, so you can use it to get organised and sort out a course of action. But then there is the voice of your heart you must also listen to. It is beyond reasoning, it feels, it needs and is emotional; its the loudest one and we can’t bear it, so we usually try to numb it or if we can’t, we are left throwing it all around us. Listen to your heart too and BE with your feeling, it is less intimidating if you stop running away from it but turn around and look at its face directlty; let it BE if it wishes to BE and use it develop self-acceptance and compassion.
And then the voice of the body, the referee: if you don’t know what you think or feel, notice what your body is doing. A reservoir of information and messages.
Last but not least, the most profound, but most quiet yet gentle voice of your deepest spirit. Its hard to hear it but when you hear it you realise it’s always been there so clearly. In fact I like to call it ‘my guts.’ This voice knows it all if you can just hear it. It is so gentle and not forcing, it doesn’t argue and debate, its powerful and clear, yet defying all explanations. It pervades the mind, heart and body, and is heard through mindfulness.
While you must listen to all these voices, if you listen to them, you may find conflict. Your mind tells you to leave while your heart tells you to stay. Outside it may all look fine, but there’s something that tells you there’s something wrong. Listen to all the voices and weigh them against each other. There is so much information about ourselves right here all the time. Just need to breathe and tune IN.

gm_pansa1's avatar

You should listen to your own self. the only right way to go. ^_^

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther