How to make body-mind aligned decisions with confidence, clarity, and ease?
We make dozens of decisions every single day, from seemingly insignificant choices to greatly impactful ones. And the flow of choices and decisions we make is what determines the kind of life we live, internally and externally.
But even though we make numbers of decisions every day, many of us get paralyzed by the choices that bring great impact. Out of fear, we often ask ourselves, “What if I choose wrongly?” or ” What if I later regret it?” And this fear prevents us from taking bold steps in one or another direction.
Though in some cases, there are just too many options we are trying to weigh up against that we get overwhelmed, feel stuck, and don’t know where to start.
So how can we make decisions that are fully aligned with our mind, our body, and our values so that we can achieve the goals we have set for ourselves?
Allow this 4-step process to guide you on making a balanced decision with less stress:
STEP 1: Awareness
The process of decision-making always starts with a realization that we have a choice. We often feel stuck in our habitual ways of living and thinking, and we often overlook other ways to live or other attitudes to cultivate.
Awareness also helps us see what options we really have, and to discern what we can control and what not. Letting go of what we cannot change or control saves us the precious energy we might be wasting while trying to fight and push away what is actually not in our hands.
If you have a decision to make, here are a few questions that can help you at this step:
What are the options I have?
Are there any options I’m overlooking?
Are some of the options not really counted as an option as I can’t have any control over them?
STEP 2: Gathering Information
This step can take minutes, days, or even years. It’s all about collecting information and knowledge that can help us choose the most aligned decision.
It involves both rational mind and body in collecting ideas and resources that can help us in deciding.
As for involving our rational minds, we might need to analyze the pros and cons of a situation, spend some time doing our research online, or talk to people that can share their own ideas and experiences with us.
Our body, on the other hand, can give us very important answers of what is our intention and which needs we are trying to meet.
Perhaps we want to change jobs and the need we try to satisfy is our need to learn new skills, or maybe we want to have more free time or to have better working relationships.
At this step, be aware of a common thinking trap:
“I need more information, only then can I decide.”
At some point, we need to be satisfied with what we have to avoid getting lost in an endless quest for more and more information. Trust is crucial here. And we must consider that what we have is enough and that we will never be 100% certain even if we gather all the information in this world.
A few questions that can help you at this step are:
What really matters about a certain choice or option?
What will this give me on the most fundamental level?
Which one of my needs will be met by pursuing this option?
(A hint: Is there a way you can meet this need in a different way?)
STEP 3: Reflection
In this step, we bring together the information and contemplation.
Making decisions based on your mind can work, but only to a certain point. As your mind has been conditioned for decades, it may silence your inner knowing and can easily misguide you.
In this step, try out the options you are weighing out and practice feeling them within your body. Difficult choices can’t be made by a cold, rational analysis. Instead, we do better if we simulate what it feels like to choose A versus B.
Here we need to be able to listen deeply and trust what emerges.
Write down your options as a statement and frame them as a positive action, not as a yes and not.
Example: I go to the movie. I stay at home (instead of, I go to the movie. I don’t go to the movie).
Then imagine choosing one option and stepping into it as if you’d enter a movie screen.
How does it feel like when you actually live your option? What is the physical feeling of it? How does your life look like when you live this way? Does it feel like a flow or is there something off?
Don’t go into your head and start analyzing, listen inwardly instead. Allow the images, feelings, and thoughts to emerge, but don’t engage in them. Hold space for receptive quiet attention.
Sometimes, your body will surprise you with an answer. And sometimes, what you thought you want is not what your body’s wisdom shows you as the truly aligned response. Be open to that.
Repeat the same procedure with other options and take notes.
What did you find? How can this inform your decision?
STEP 4: Action
This is a step in which we act on our decision.
Think of what would be the most meaningful and skillful way to take action? What’s the first little step you need to make to realize the option you have chosen?
Maybe you were deciding to quit your job and you need to send your CV for your dream job. Perhaps you were deciding where to spend your next holidays and you need to call your friend to ask if they join you, or you just couldn’t decide what to wear for a special night out and now it’s clear you need to go shopping.
Decisions bring us face to face with the unknown, and sometimes we aren’t so happy with the choices we have made. Here it is crucial to accept the reality of things, that in life, a lot is not up to us and we can’t control everything.
Bringing self-compassion for ourselves instead of being critical when things don’t work out the way we expect. Knowing that in the moment of choice, we did the best we could with the information we had at hand.
With this attitude and wisdom, we transform fear into courage to make decisions with more ease and lightness.
Be patient with yourself and offer yourself warmth and compassion.
With love and support,