Mindful Monday no. 84 – Mindfulness Based Decision Making

mindfulness based decision making

“Doing what’s right isn’t hard. Knowing what’s right is.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

Have you ever needed to make a decision but felt that you couldn’t get your thoughts straight long enough to do so? Making decisions can be difficult at the best of times. When you are caring for a loved one and juggling other day-to-day responsibilities on top of managing emotional stress, decision making can become even harder. Caregivers have many decisions to make – some small, and some big.

Is it time for my loved one to move to a care home?

Should we get extra help around the house?

Can we afford a meal service?

Which medical options should we consider?

There is often a lot of fear involved with decision making. What if the decision is made and the results aren’t what you wanted? The fear can be paralysing.

Practicing mindfulness can provide the perspective and mental state needed not only to make decisions, but to appropriately respond to the outcomes. Read on for some mindfulness tips to help with decision making.

Get some rest. Try to avoid making decisions at night. It is much, much harder to think clearly when you’re exhausted. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, go through some self-care practices and tuck yourself in to bed. It will be easier to process your thoughts in the morning when you are rested.

Get some perspective. Look at the situation from all angles. Talk to someone you trust, go for a long walk or a drive, write in a journal. Examining the situation from a different perspective can provide clarity.

Use a timer. This suggestion comes from Harvard Business Review writer Peter Bregman, and may not sound very “mindful” at first read. But maybe it is? You can spend a lot of time mulling over the different outcomes of a decision and get no closer to an answer. What if you set a timer for 15 minutes and promised yourself you’d make a decision before the timer went off? If you’ve spent some time researching options and feel that you have some perspective, it might be the time crunch you need to choose a path.

Pretend that you’re helping a friend make a decision. “The reasoning here is really simple: your short-term emotions get in the way of decisions, and that clouds your judgment. It’s hard to break free of your emotions, but it helps to know they affect your choices,” says Thorin Klosowski. Think about the questions you would ask your friend when they say the things that you’re thinking. How would you respond to your friend?

Meditate on it. YouTube is filled with free guided meditations to help users make decisions.

Detach from the outcome. Though this may be the hardest part of making a decision, it might also be the most helpful in reducing stress. “Wanting things to turn out a certain way continues to confuse our view of reality. Make it a point to become less attached to the outcome of your decision once that decision is made. Let life unfold naturally,” says Dr. Marchand. 

How do you make tough decisions? We’d love to hear from you in our comments!


Cassandra Van Dyck



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