5 Steps to Mindful Decision Making
Do you find yourself stressed out about decision making?
Do you obsess about seemingly insignificant choices and decisions?
Do big life decisions seem completely overwhelming?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Even as a mental health professional, I am still on a personal journey of learning how to cope with anxiety and making decisions seem to always trigger my anxiety. Studies actually show that anxiety plays a strong role in our decision making. Mindfulness is a tool that is commonly utilized to decrease anxiety and the same way we apply mindfulness to meditationor yoga, we can apply it to make decisions. Let’s explore 5 Steps to Mindful Decision making that you can apply to both the little and big decisions that come your way in life.
Step #1 Narrow options away
Have you ever been asked where you want to eat? You say you don’t care, but then immediately reject the first idea that comes your way. In most scenarios, it is easier to narrow things down by what we don’t want then it is to make a decision. Remind yourself of the things you immediately want to eliminate. It is usually a good starting point and helps you from feeling overwhelmed with choices. If there is nothing you immediately want to eliminate, move on to step #2.
Step #2 Look at the outside influences
Sometimes we make decisions based on outside factors. We feel rushed. We feel pressured. We want to please others. It is important to take a step back and bring awareness to what outside influences may be influencing your decision. Loved ones are the number one culprits of influencing. You don’t need to necessarily do anything about these outside influences, but bringing awareness to this influence can help you isolate your beliefs and opinions.
Step #3 Turn Within
Who are you? Start with making a list of things that define you as a person. This will be your road map to making decisions. Don’t think too hard about this step. Think of words like: mother, son, student, coworker, doctor, vegetarian, minimalist, frugal, optimist, introvert, runner.
Step #4 Examine Your Beliefs
How does each of the words that describe you, influence your morals? How do these things manifest in your daily life? For example, a father may prioritize his time differently because of a desire to have quality family time. Spiritual practice will impact how you treat others and perhaps spend your time and money. A specific diet will impact how you spend your money and what you consume.
Step #5 Choose Mindfully
Once you begin to examine your beliefs, morals, and even past decisions you have made, hopefully, you can return to the decision with a clear perspective. You can even return to step one and elimination options that don’t fall into your belief system. Taking steps to be mindful of influences and personal beliefs will give you the confidence to make decisions without anxiety.
While these guidelines can be a helpful tool in decision making, there is no replacement for having the support of a mental health professional guiding you through the process especially if anxiety and depression are clouding your decision-making process.
Guest Blog Author: Ashley Rodrigues, MS, Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern, Registered Yoga Instructor
Ashley Rodrigues is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern, yoga instructor, and founder of Ashley Rodrigues Wellness. Ashley is counseling and providing trauma safe yogain South Florida. Utilizing a holistic perspective, Ashley is able to help people heal mentally and physically. She specializes in women’s issues such as infertility and miscarriage as well as anxiety, depression, and grief. Her practice is founded on the principles of empowering individuals through honesty, unconditional love, and authenticity. Ashley Rodrigues Wellness is honored to work with Travis and McNulty Counseling and Wellness on topics such as parenting and communication. “Travis has the innate ability to understand the needs of individuals and provide them support in a honest and encouraging way. I am so blessed to have a colleague as knowledgable and approachable as Travis.”