The importance of relaxation in decision making

By | March 2, 2016

We’ve all been there. Feeling stressed, out of sorts, or just plain overwhelmed and too tired to think straight to make an all important decision.

But being in a relaxed mindset, one which is calm is the only way to make decisions. At least, those decisions where the outcome is critical; we’re not talking about whether to go for a latte or a cappuccino. A stressed mind is incapable of serving us and thinking through a problem or issue with clarity. It clouds our judgment and we don’t have a balanced perspective of the risks and rewards in terms of the decision made.

This means that a person may make a decision without thinking through the consequences properly. They might make a rash decision just to try and clear it out of the way or they might procrastinate over it endlessly, leading to a never ending circle of anxiety and frustration that just continues to build.

However, it is possible to improve your decision-making capabilities in a number of ways:

  • Speak to other people who may have had to make the same kind of decision you’re faced with. Learning from other people’s experiences can be a great starting point to work out what would be the right decision for you. Talking to someone else you trust can also make you feel less stressed because you’re able to articulate it and also you know you’re not alone.
  • A simple pros and cons list can help you feel less anxious and put you in a more productive frame of mind to make a decision. What are the positives and negative aspects of the situation. Think about all the possible solutions there are – there’s usually more than one or two options if you think about it.
  • If possible sleep on the possible solutions you’ve come up with and see how you feel in the morning. It can be surprising what a difference this makes.
  • Make a space in your diary for time out. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes at a time. This is essential because you have to get that breathing space. Get out for a walk or somewhere quiet, so you can recalibrate. It is in the quiet times when possible solutions will ‘pop’ into your head. Once you start experiencing it more and more, you will naturally look for opportunities to get into the ‘zone’ because you’ll realise how things to work out faster when you’re not in a frustrated, uptight frame of mind.
  • Take some exercise. What happens is that motion affects your emotions, in that it can help shift how you feel about the decision you have to make. Again, it comes down to mind frame and taking exercise is a sure way to reduce the stress and emotion you’re attaching to the problem.
  • Many entrepreneurs and world leaders have taken up meditation as a way to maintain a sense of order and balance in a very hectic, fast paced life. It enables them to gain a sense of clarity which helps them to make decisions when all around them chaos seems to ensue. And you don’t have to spend hours meditating just 15 minutes, twice a day is enough to help. How long it takes before you see a difference is difficult to say, because everyone’s different. However, with consistent practice (and that’s the key word here) you should start to feel a difference in a few weeks. You will suddenly realise when a situation arises that you’re able to handle it better, and with much more ease.