Making the right choices and sticking to them is one of the hardest things, especially when in a stressful situation and your mind is not clear.
Personally, I’ve had many times in the past where I thought hard and made a decision I thought was good but I still burned my fingers because I missed a crucial aspect in my decision-making process that mattered a great deal.
Meditation and mindfulness have helped me over the years to become good at decision-making by giving me mental clarity, the ability to remember critical aspects of the things I want to decide on, and the awareness and calmness to think deeply and clearly and implement the decisions accurately.
Let’s look at the research-backed benefits of mindfulness and meditation which are linked to better decision-making, how I personally go about making decisions with the help of both practices and how you can get started doing the same.
Scientific Benefits of Meditation And Mindfulness
1. Promotes emotional regulation – One of the major hindrances to making good decisions is working with and basing our decisions on our current emotions. When we have been hurt by someone, the natural thing to do is to get revenge or desire to hurt them too, and the decisions we make when we are in this state will incline us towards that side. However, we, later on, regret the decisions when our emotions change and we are feeling less bitter. Both meditation and mindfulness are known to help regulate our emotions which can help us be more stable and emotionally balanced when we are about to make critical decisions.
2. Improves our focus and attention – When we are constantly being distracted and can’t seem to focus or remain attentive for a long time, there are high chances we are going to make bad decisions. Focus and attention on something we are about to decide on are essential as it helps us think deeply and broadly about the thing and come to a well-thought-out conclusion and decision. Most of us tend to struggle with remaining focused for a long time which affects our abilities to make the right decisions. Meditation and mindfulness can help raise our levels of focus and attention which can, in turn, help us be more immersed in our thoughts and have a seamless thought process and logical conclusions that lead to better decisions.
3. Increases self-awareness – Self-awareness allows us to have a better perception of ourselves and align that with how others see us, and this plays a big role in effective decision-making. When we know ourselves and what we are capable and not capable of doing, it becomes possible to know our limits in terms of what we can do and not do. This means that we focus on our abilities and make decisions we are more likely to go through with rather than lie to ourselves that we are going to do something we clearly know we can’t do and end up regretting the decision. Meditation and mindfulness allow us to be more self-aware and as a result, boost our ability to make better decisions.
4. Improves memory – Good memory is key when it comes to decisions. Remembering all the important aspects of the thing you are deciding on and considering all the options without leaving anything out helps to have a holistic approach to your decisions and be more effective in it. The two practices of meditation and mindfulness have been linked to boosting various cognitive functions including the working memory.
How I Use Both Practices to Make Good Decisions
Now that we have seen how meditation as well as mindfulness help to elevate different areas of our lives which contribute to rewarding decisions, it is time to look at how I personally approach my decision-making process and how I work with meditation and mindfulness to help me do things efficiently.
Ideally, there are 2 ways I work with both mindfulness and meditation.
First, I meditate daily and aim to be mindful throughout the day. I have achieved this by creating a daily routine where I meditate in the morning and work on being mindful the whole day using various mindfulness-based techniques.
My first meditation practice is mindfulness meditation which helps to train our minds to be mindful of the present moment. I always make an effort of doing mindfulness meditation for 10 to 20 minutes every day in the morning before I begin the activities of the day.
The practice grounds me well and helps me remain calm, composed, and wakeful. I have been doing this meditative practice for years now and it has become my second nature in such a way that I feel I’m missing something if I fail to do it even for a day.
On top of mindfulness meditation, I also seek to be mindful throughout the day by doing mindful walking, mindful eating, visualization, mindful speaking, mindful listening, and mindful working. These techniques provide me many opportunities to be mindful of myself when I’m doing regular activities and feel more fulfilled.
Second, when making decisions, I make an effort of meditating for 10 minutes so that I’m deeply grounded in calmness, emotional stability, mental clarity, focus, and attention when I’m about to make decisions.
After meditation, I either take a walk in the woods or find a quiet path in nature, or close my eyes on the couch I was meditating on and start thinking deeply about what I have to decide on.
How You Can Make Better Decisions Too
To begin with, you should consider making meditation part of your life. You can research the various types of meditation available and see which one best fits you. From there, you should try adding it to your schedule and finding time to practice it frequently.
It also helps if you begin with one mindfulness-based technique to remain grounded in the present moment. You can choose to start with mindful eating, mindful bathing, mindful walking, or any other technique you feel sits well with you.
When you get comfortable with the first mindfulness technique, you can choose to take on another one and be doing two. As you get good at them, you can keep adding the rest until you get to a point where you have techniques that keep you mindful for a long time in your typical day.
Moreover, if you want to make solid decisions that you will be proud of in weeks, months, and years to come, you also have to understand yourself well. You need to identify what works well for you and which environment and situations help you feel relaxed and more focused to make better choices.
Personally, I am considered to be an introvert so being by myself helps me feel “at home” and gives me clarity. And taking a walk in nature or closing my eyes and going deep into my thoughts about a subject has been what I’ve been pretty much doing all my life and it blends in well with how I make decisions.
You also need to take time and determine what works well for you and use it to make your decisions.
Ideally, take up meditation as a long-term practice and make it a habit, aim to be more mindful through different mindfulness techniques, and create an enabling environment, based on how you know yourself, to make good choices.
I hope this article gave you some insight into how to go about choosing the right things and it has offered some motivation and help towards that direction. Now it’s your time to make it work in your life. All the best.
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