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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Making Decisions

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Making Decisions

We are all faced with decisions to make at various times in our lives. From small ones with few consequences to huge, life-changing ones, here are three things I have learned about making good decisions.

Making No Decision is Still a Decision

Sometimes, we can feel particularly paralyzed about making a decision, and can end up postponing and procrastinating on it until it is “made for us.” This is a terrible cop-out; even when you choose not to make a decision, you are making it anyway. Leaving something to fate is not as random as you think — and stepping back from the act of deciding makes you feel out of control, passive, and disempowered. You might even avoid a decision so you can play the victim later, a role that is never proactive or helpful for your personal growth.

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So, when you feel like procrastinating on a decision, stop and think about why you are tempted to do that. Remind yourself that choosing to make no decision is, in fact, the worst decision of all. Whatever other choice you make, it will be better than making none at all.

The Pro and Con Game

One of the simplest decision-making methods is to make a list of pros and cons. Although the method seems obvious and can sometimes help you make a decision, you can also use this process to learn more about yourself and your true motivations.

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As you write the pros and cons, ask yourself how you feel. Do you already feel like you are leaning in one direction or another? Is one part of you trying to convince another part of you what to do? Do you feel yourself “stacking the deck” in one direction or another? Are you trying to con yourself? Why do you think you might be doing that? Are you trying to avoid one particular course of action because of a fear? Would it actually be better to face that fear, take the bold steps, and be courageous?

Often when we feel most paralyzed about a decision, that is when we are faced with the greatest opportunity to face our fears. It is scary, so no wonder you feel paralyzed, but to overcome this fear will change who you are… and will change your life. Tap into your subconscious to gain access to personal, perfect insight.

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DIY Decisions

Often, we like to help each other make decisions — offer our point of view, seek others’ perspectives, and bounce ideas around. We might even feel like we must get others’ input, which is fine for minor choices. For important life decisions, it is very important to make up your own mind with minimal, selective help from others.

My husband recently faced a major career change, and the decision to act on the opportunity that presented itself was a hard one. I listened and offered a few alternative points of view, but stopped myself before I became too influential. It was his decision to make, and although my life would change greatly based on that decision, if I persuaded him to go one way or another, I knew I would be interfering. I also realized that if the career didn’t turn out to be as great as he thought, he might be tempted to blame me for pushing him into it. It wasn’t easy staying out of it, so to speak, and I had to bite my tongue many times when I wanted to ask if he had sent in his application yet. In my heart, I knew it was a great career for him, but he needed to make the decision and take action on his own initiative.

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Very few people operate in life with no agenda. When you ask people to help you make a decision, they might not be able to leave their own agenda behind. They might even have the best intentions, but be unable or unaware that they are influencing you inappropriately. You cannot abdicate your responsibility for the decisions you make — for your life — to someone else. Use whatever decision-making tools you like, but be careful not to let too many people weigh in on your decision.

Featured photo credit:  Head to head – knights on a chess board via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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