Every day we have to make a multitude of decisions. A huge number of them we do without thinking; like when to blink, when to breathe, how to walk or talk or eat. Our body decides these without us having to make a conscious choice.
But we also are faced with situations and dilemmas that need out attention, and for us to make decisions that can life changing. How do stop ourselves making a poor choice? Is there a way we can improve our chances of making a better decision. According to psychologists there are times when we should avoid making a decision.
It make perfect sense when you think about it. When you are tired, you are likely to be suffering from a state called "decision fatigue", which means you can actually struggle with even small choices.
For example, when you come home from work, you can sometimes find it difficult to decide what to eat, or even what to watch on the television. That is down to your brain feeling exhausted. You should definitely not be making important life choices at this time.
If you are angry
Again, this makes perfect sense. Anger can make you impulsive, afraid or even feel helpless.While you may, in the moment, believe the course of action you have decided on is absolutely correct, remember you can take it after you have cooled down. When you are calmer you can see things from all perspectives and may realise there are better options available. Being impulsive can sometimes be advantageous, but when making decisions that affect your daily life should be made only when you are calm and looking at all the options.
I have done it myself. I have gone shopping and discovered at the check out that I have more food than I thought, or need, and have got mote unhealthy choices than I wanted. Those buy one get one free offers always look better when hungry. One of the main reasons for that is that we are hungry when we enter the shop, and this makes us impulsive, and less aware of the consequences. That goes the same when you are making all choices in your life.
I have lived on my own for many years> When I had some serious mental health issues I have to admit that loneliness and isolation was a factor, and it is recognised as one of the most challenging emotional states. It can lead you to feel a sense of longing and, at times, desperation for connection.
This can make you vulnerable. You may agree to help people you should not, or saying yes to things that will cost you emotionally - and possibly financially - just so you are liked.
I had that through my own depression. I openly admit I used illegal drugs to help my mood, and the people selling me them were clearly praying on my loneliness and vulnerability at the time.
If you are down, maybe talk things over with a trusted friend before taking action. Either way, please find some help. There is great intervention around.
If you are ill / sick
This can be both physical or mental. How often have you wanted to do nothing when you are feeling rotten, but still have to make decisions. For us to make the best choice possible, we have to have mental clarity and that can only be achieved when you are firing on all cylinders.
Feeling exhausted, grumpy, or if experiencing pain disables your ability to be rational and often you can feel a lethargy and detachment about things you would usually be passionate about. Think about your physical health when making decisions.
Falling in love
I like to think we have all experienced that "honeymoon period" as they call it - that initial, all-consuming time when you begin to fall in love. Your brain is flooded with hormones Oxytocin and Serotonin, which are both responsible for bonding. They say you see the world through "rose-coloured spectacles", which means the decisions we make are not always realistic. How many celebrity weddings finish within a year because they have rushed into the relationship?
Wait until you feel more secure with a partner and have moved past this state before making any big decisions. The crash to reality can make you regret moving fast.
Well, probably one of the most obvious ones. Even one glass of alcohol alters thinking, and impairs the area of the brain responsible for judgement. And drugs can give you a euphoric feeling when you feel invincible and that all decisions are good (even terrible ones)
You have read about people waking up in foreign cities after booking flights when they are drunk.
Very few of us can say they have not been a least tipsy. I joke with our service users that Luke could write a very embarrassing tell-all book about me. It only takes one glass of wine to get me tipsy. And I have already said that I took substances when I was in depression. I look back and cringe at some of the things I said and did, which all seemed perfectly reasonable at the time.
Having a clear head is essential if you want to achieve the best results in life.
When you go through any serious loss (and this does not have to be a death) your brain secretes the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenalin. This can lead you you to feel anxious and stressed, and sometimes more depressed than normal.
Loss can cause shock. You need to manage it. Allow others around to support you if you have to make decisions around this period. You need to be able to adjust to the new situation.
Have a "coming to terms" period, but also do not allow this to overwhelm you. You need to carry on with your life regardless.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods links everything to Mind-Set, and this naturally has a massive affect on your choices and actions. All of us at HMHB have gone through some kind of mental health issue that has affected us, more than once. I am sure we will continue to battle our way. But recognising when you need to take time and review any situation that arises, so make you the best possible decision, is paramount. And that comes down a lot to a healthy lifestyle with exercise, routine and good nutrition.