There are more and more and MORE choices in our world than ever before. While such diversity can be a gift, the downside is that this overwhelm of options leads to an anxiety around decision making that previous generations would have been shocked at.
Yup, that’s right grandma, freak outs in the personal care aisle trying to choose a new shampoo are all too common these days!
My time in Norway was marked with the opposite problem. There were maybe… three products to choose from in any given category. Once I got over having such a limited option, I was quite happy. I easily found an organic shampoo, choosing between two different ones and life was simple.
I could wash my hair in peace back then.
Now, I’m back in the states and I’m faced with an empty shampoo bottle and a long shelf lined with “natural hair products “. Life had to get complicated again didn’t it?
Now, obviously we have way more important decisions to make in our lives other than what type of shampoo we use. Where to go to college. Which major, what job, where to live, what friends, what life partner, what we believe. Who to work for, who to work with, what projects to take on. Where to vacation, what house to buy. What to welcome into your life and what to send packing.
These are weighty decisions and we would do well to learn how to make these decisions mindfully, fully connected to our authentic selves. Because there is a way to make healthy decisions that will bring you life! And the life where decisions are made without regard to your personal aptitude, calling, and desire is a terrifying prospect.
So let’s talk.
Your Gut + Your Drive = Your Decision
What you feel innately inside you and what you are focused on achieving, will always align (if you are being honest with yourself) and they will birth your decision. Your gut is that tiny voice inside that senses things before your thinking mind can discern it. Drive is how you live your life; your values mixed with your style of achieving your goals.
Sit down. Take a deep breath. Consider where you are headed and listen deep inside to what your body already knows.
Try It On for Size
This next one is basically visualizing having made one decision and sitting with the decision for awhile to see how it feels to you. How does your body react? Do you feel light and energized, excited? Do you feel heavy, burdened, sick to your stomach? This approach is a life saver and has kept me from committing myself to plans that would have proved hurtful to me. Use this method when you don’t have a lot of time to make your decision but it’s imperative that you make the right one. Be aware of even the slightest changes in your body. Did your heart drop? Or did it soar? Follow through with your gut. This will build self-trust and will help you make more and better, healthy decisions.
Consult with a Person You Trust
It can often be enormously encouraging to consult with a trusted person in your life as you are pondering your big decision. Just make sure that this person is healthy themselves and truly has your best interests at heart. Our close friends and family often can see things and speak into areas that we ourselves are blind to. And they’re good for a hug which always helps!
Pray and Meditate
For me, prayer is a huge stress reliever and a marvelous way to unburden myself and receive comfort. I believe in a good God who answers prayer.But whatever your beliefs, just putting your concerns out there and asking for wisdom is helpful.
Use meditation as powerful tool to conquer indecision. Meditation uses breathing techniques that silence the “chatter” in our heads (that useless and pestering commentary on our performance, the tasks we have to do, what we should worry about, etc. You get the picture. In other words, chatter isn’t helpful.)
It activates higher brain function while also switching our nervous system into the green zone, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This communicates to our cells, “you are safe”. This state is the place you want to cultivate for all sorts of benefits, including physical healing, strengthening the immune system, and decreasing chronic disease.
The chances of us making a life giving decision in a chaotic environment, under pressure and stressed out is very low. But when we take the time to put ourselves in a calm and peaceful state where the mind and body both feel safe, we will be much more able to tap into what would be a healthful and wise decision.
Try Them Out
I hope these strategies have helped! Try them all out and see what works the best for you. You may find that in certain situations that one works better than the other. Also, give these important and weighty decisions in your life some time. Be gentle with yourself. The right answer is there, it’s just a matter of slowing down to listen and hear what it is.