No one likes making hard decisions, but there’s a way to master this task. Science shows us how this can be done.
Making hard decisions range from choosing colors and decorations for a wedding to making the decision to get a divorce. They can also be as troubling as picking out funeral arrangements. Hard decisions can come when your child is going away to college, or they can be as simple as trying to decide what to cook for dinner. Either way, making hard decisions has its own scientific strategy.
Hacks for making hard decisions
Well, there’s some good news for making hard decisions. You don’t have to stress yourself out and try and force a choice or resolution. All it takes is utilizing a few science-backed hacks to understand which path to take. Use these hacks the next time you are faced with a huge decision.
1. Avoid “hanger”
Scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy found that the hormone Ghrelin is released when you’re hungry, and this hormone is responsible for causing you to make rash decisions. Although it sounds a bit strange, “hanger” is the slang word for these negative feelings and irritations you get when you’re hungry.
This is the absolute worst time to make important or hard decisions. All choices, even if you don’t notice it, will be based on your hunger. So, it stands to reason that this would be a terrible time to go grocery shopping, especially if you’re shopping for a huge social gathering.
2. Seeing beyond self
People who are able to see beyond their selves are more prone to making hard decisions with a sound mind. Think about it, if you’re making decisions with only yourself in mind, you can make sloppier choices and rash decisions. When you think of the impact that your decisions will have on family and friends, you tend to be a bit more careful with your choices. It’s just common sense, really.
3. Having a busy mindset
Those who tend to stay busy or active have trained their brains to have more self-control. After all, being active improves your body and mind simultaneously thus improving your cognitive abilities and reasoning skills. So, it’s pretty obvious that keeping a busy mindset – this means an entire lifestyle shift to healthier living – will help you make hard decisions.
4. Sit in the darkness
Scientists have discovered that bright lights make emotions more intense. So, if you’re feeling really emotional and have to make a hard decision, take pause. Got to a quiet room and shut off all the lights. You may even have to cover the windows. After a while in the dark environment, you will be much calmer and able to make a sound decision.
5. Pretend you’re an outsider
One ingenious way to make healthy hard decisions is to pretend to be outside the problem. Instead of making decisions about something that is happening to you, seeing from outside will allow you to make the decision as if you are giving someone else advice. You will be surprised by how objective and calm you will be.
The trick here is to remain emotionally removed from the issue at all times. This eliminates emotion from taking control and ruining our choices.
6. Combine your gut and your head
Your gut may be telling you to do things based on emotion or intuition, but you must not forget about your logic. If you make decisions on logic alone, however, you will also fail because you will be removing the power of your intuitive reasoning.
So, the best possible way to make hard decisions is to utilize ALL modes of reasoning. It’s kind of like the colored hat process of making decisions. Utilizing the entirety of your brain creates the best outcome.
7. Sleep first
Before you make a hard decision, try to take a nap. Yes, you heard it right, go to sleep. Sometimes a situation will be so jumbled and messy that it will be hard to understand what to do.
A fresh perspective comes when you take a break from hashing out a hard decision. After you have taken time to sleep a while, you will have a fresh perspective, and sometimes new ideas will spring forth.
8. Take a deep breath
If a nap doesn’t help you make the right decision, then take a few deep breaths as well. Sometimes, all you need is to stop thinking, sit back, and let your mind and body enjoy the simplicity of your breathing.
Long slow breaths will help you regulate your heartbeat as well, thus calming you and preparing you for the hard process ahead. Don’t let others pressure you. Just tell them you need a few minutes, find a quiet place, and utilize this simple meditative technique for focus.
Making hard decisions happens to us all
We all come to that place in our lives where we have to make an impossibly hard decision. Maybe you ran from decisions before or even left someone else to make the choice. Unfortunately, a time comes when you cannot run, and you will have to be the one who makes the decision.
Try these hacks on for size and see if they help you. After all, the sooner you make the decision, the sooner you can get on with your life.