Everyone has their own way of making decisions. For some, it might be talking to a friend or a person they trust, and for others, it’s making a list of pros and cons. A lot of times, even without giving it a lot of thought, you know what the smart thing to do is. But you’re still worried about how things might turn out, and you overthink it. If you want to make a decision that is insightful and that you feel comfortable with, mindfulness meditation can help you.
Making decisions, no matter if they’re big or small, can sometimes be troubling. You might have some fears and doubts that will make you wonder if you should keep going or quit. Meditation can help you in focusing on the present, letting go of the past and forgetting the future.
A study done by researchers from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and INSEAD has found that 15 minutes of focused breathing medication helps people in making better choices. Two groups made up of 15 people were asked to do decision-making exercises. One of the two groups did the exercises without any preparation, while the other had a 15-minute guided meditation. The latter group made decisions that were free from bias. The researchers explained that a short period of mindfulness meditation can inspire people to ignore some of the concerns they typically have and make a rational decision by having in mind the information that is available to them at the moment.
Are you stressing out because you have so much work to do but you don’t know where to start? Are you thinking about ending a relationship because it doesn’t make you happy? Are you debating whether or not to buy that phone that you wanted for so long but are not so sure you can afford it? Do you have an important project at the office that is critical for your success? Before making any decision, that a brief moment for yourself and do these following steps:
- Sit comfortably, take a few breaths and then close your eyes
- Mentally scan your body, starting from the top of your head and moving all the way down, looking for any places of discomfort or noticing any tension in your muscles
- Silently count your breath and follow the falling and rising sensation without changing it in any way
- When you notice that your mind has wandered off, just notice the thought that has distracted you and then return your attention to the breath
One of the main elements of meditation is self-observation. When it comes to decision making, this type of self-awareness can be very helpful because it prevents your brain from wandering to places, and makes you able to accept what is front of you without trying to change it or judge what is going on. The second-guessing that usually happens when you’re trying to make a decision just disappears.
Meditation can help you in being more compassionate with yourself, so you won’t feel the need to suppress your emotions once they arise. When it comes to decision making, people often say things like: “stop being so emotional” even though that is the wrong thing to say. Feeling emotions isn’t bad, you just shouldn’t let the wrong emotions cloud your thinking. Practicing mindfulness can give you the ability to accept anything that comes in your mind, with no fueling thoughts and no judging. Instead of worrying about what has happened before, mindful meditation can help you focus on your present and what is in front of you.
A lot of super successful entrepreneurs and business leaders like Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, and Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, clear their busy schedule to meditate. According to Sidd Pagidipati, Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, you can make informed decisions by researching your options and proceeding with caution.
Meditation calms the mind down by clearing the thoughts in your head. When you have too many thoughts, your mind isn’t able to make a decision. A clear mind gives you a clear picture of all the possible consequences of a decision and all the factors.
Another thing that takes a big part in the decision-making process is our negative emotions like regret, anxiety, worry, or fear. Meditation can help you make decisions from an unbiased frame of mind, be natural, and drop all of your emotional baggage. It also helps you maintain your enthusiasm and energy for a long period of time, and the outcome is a more holistic approach towards any problem and more clarity.
Mindfulness will make you reduce your defensive responses, which means you will be more open to feedback from people. This way, you can learn from it instead of just trying to defend yourself.
Meditating on a decision, letting your mind unwind and taking some time to yourself before making a final call can really bring some clarity to your process.