When should you go with your gut instinct and when should you use your head? The experts say you can trust your gut with big choices – but not all choices. Some decisions are better made with a rational mind. So here’s when to go with your heart and when to go with your head according to several psychologists interviewed by Rodale publishing.
- To start, go with your gut when making a moral decision. Let’s say you’re friends with a married couple and you know that one of them is cheating on the other. Do you tell the other spouse? Dr. Fiery Cushman from Harvard University says go ahead and weigh the practical facts, but listen to your inner voice for the right decision. That’s not a black or white choice – it has to be based on your relationship with the couple and your knowledge of how they’ll react. So, for a moral decision, go with your heart.
- Another time to go with your heart instead of your head: When you have the urge to second-guess your doctor. Dr. John Amory, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington says, doctors often dismiss a patient’s fears as paranoia. They may also overlook symptoms that don’t fit with the usual model of a disease. The only person who really knows what’s going on with your body is you. So if you think something is wrong and your doctor is dismissing it – get a second opinion. It may save your life.
- Now here’s when you should use your head and the facts to make a decision: When you’re investing. People often throw their money at the hot investment that everybody’s talking about. A herd mentality isn’t wise when it comes to money. Your best bet is base your investments on reason and analysis.
- One last time you should go with your head and not your gut: When judging someone’s sincerity. I know, you want to believe your friend when they say they’ll never backstab you again, but studies show that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. So, when a flaky friend says this time they’ll repay the loan, or your girlfriend says she’ll never cheat on you again, your best move is to walk away. Your intuition to trust your gut in the past was faulty, so don’t repeat the mistake.