Evolution has gifted us the most complicated entity yet found on Earth: our brains. But in many ways the brain is also clumsy with predictable flaws, especially when it comes to decision making. Rather than making rational decisions, it tends to base its decisions on emotions and biases. But this is something we can change.
By using minduflness, we can create a mental space between an event and stimulus and our response to it. This allows us to reach a thoughtful conclusion, rather than knee jerk or fight-or-flight reactions.
So below, we’re going to go over 5 ways you can mindfulness to improve your decision making once and for all.
1) Practice becoming an observer of your mind
In the competitive society we live in, it can become easy to get locked in negative thought patterns. Yet, this clouds our decisions to be based on fear and uncertainty.
The best way to put an end to this is to become become an observer of your mind. By taking a step back and simply watching your mind, you can begin to recognize negative thoughts and realize that if you’re observing them, then they’re not really you.
Spiritual Osho explains how to go about do it:
“Become an observer of the currents of thought that flow through your consciousness. Just like someone sitting by the side of a river watching the river flow by, sit by the side of your mind and watch….Don’t do anything, don’t interfere, don’t stop them in any way. Don’t repress in any way. If there is a thought coming don’t stop it, if it is not coming don’t try to force it to come. You are simply to be an observer….
“In that simple observation you will see and experience that your thoughts and you are separate – because you can see that the one who is watching the thoughts is separate from the the thoughts, different from them…And if you become aware that you are not your thoughts, the life of these thoughts will begin to grow weaker, they will begin to become more and more lifeless….”
2) Practice 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day
The truth is, we make our worst decisions when we’re feeling angry or fearful. But if we’re calm, then we’re able to make a more considered decision.
Practising mindfulness meditation is a great way to calm the mind by simply focusing on the breath (or whatever sensory experience you like). Try to find a comfortable position for 10 minutes and If you get distracted (and you will get distracted), just gently return your focus back to the breath. With enough practice, you’ll begin to experience calmness and peace. It doesn’t take long but it’s well worth it.
3) Stop multitasking
Multi-tasking keeps your mind full, busy and under pressure. It makes you reactive. Instead, try to just focus on a single task, and if you find your mind trying to multi-task, simply return your focus back to the task at hand. You’ll be more engaged with what you’re currently doing which will lead to a better quality of work (and better decisions).
4) Turn off notifications
Distractions worsen your decision making because you’re not fully present with what you’re doing. So many of us habitually check our phone whenever the slightest notification pops up. But this just keeps us mentally busy and puts us under pressure, thereby triggering reactionary responses. If you can, turn off all notifications and only check your phone once every hour (or as often as you responsibility need to).
5) Practice patience
In modern life, so many of us are in a hurry. People are so often rushing to get to the next thing that they forget to enjoy the present moment. But if we can’t live in the present moment, then can’t make the best decisions.
Instead of predominately looking to the future, try to calm yourself down by being patient with what’s happening right now. As Jon Kabat-Zinn said: “Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.”
If you found this article useful, then I think you’ll love Hack Spirit’s new e-book on mindfulness. We cut through all the jargon and break down exactly what mindfulness is in the modern age and how you can embrace it. Check it out here and let us know what you think.