January 23, 2024

7 Wise Mind Attitudes

Authors: Allison Whitmore & Dr. Christopher Deussing

“Autopilot” is a state of mind when we are acting with limited awareness in the present moment; this can be a vulnerable time for habitual patterns to emerge, some of them being unhelpful (and even harmful) at times.

With the New Year, it can be helpful help to meditate on which Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills & which Behavioral Changes we want to make habits … & the “autopilot habits” we need to bring consciousness to. A way to do this is practicing “Wise Mind” through Mindfulness.

Dr. Marsha Linehan, founder of DBT introduced the idea of “Wise Mind”, which is foundational to DBT (Linehan, 2015 ). Marsha said, “Wise mind is that part of each person that can know & 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” (Wise Mind, n.d.).

Wise Mind is acting with awareness of the present moment, balancing both emotion & logic to make a decision that reflects our best self & interests. A Mindfulness Practice helps us get familiar with & lock into Wise Mind. At first, Wise Mind might seem unrealistic … however, it is possible for everyone.

How so?

By integrating Jon Kabat-Zinn’s (Kabat-Zinn, 2013) 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness into our daily life, at a granular level, to understand, practice, & eventually embody Wise Mind. We might start with 1 or 2 of these attitudes; maybe that’s enough. AND maybe we push ourselves to do a little bit better & aspire to practice all 7.

  • The 1st attitude is “NONJUDGMENTALITY.” The DBT How skill of “nonjudgmental stance” allows us to pause enough to be able to discern between helpful & unhelpful cognitions.  
  • The 2nd attitude is “PATIENCE.” Pause & take a deep breath. Let’s check in with ourselves: Is it possible to exist without urgency? What are we really rushing towards?
  • The 3rd attitude is “BEGINNER’S MIND.” We enter the present moment with openness & curiosity to what is being experienced through the senses as if it were the first time; like an infant seeing each moment as new & unique.
  • The 4th attitude is “TRUST.” We have faith in our “inner wisdom” & “inner intelligence”, align our values in 2024 to help make big decisions this year.
  • The 5th attitude is “NON-STRIVING.” We focus on the process rather than the outcome.
  • The 6th attitude is “RADICAL ACCEPTANCE.” This is the willingness to see reality as it is & then doing something about it. We accept in order to change.
  • The 7th attitude is “LETTING GO.” We realize our choice & liberation in the present moment. We embrace the “power of the pause” to get unstuck.


Linehan, M. (2015). DBT skills training manual, 2nd ed.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full catastrophe living. Bantam Dell Publishing Group

Wise Mind. (n.d.). Retrieved from DBT Self Help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *