Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Making Decisions With Less Stress

A note from for Thursday July 10 2008

Welcome to this fine Thursday.

Boy, did our reader yesterday certainly get attention. I’m grateful to all who shared back to me. I’ll be adding in many of your reflections in days to come.

Folks, I agree that “stress” is an issue in today’s world, but we certainly do have the directions and insights to rise way above the vagaries normally associated with it. It’s really us to us.

Perhaps today's offering will shed some more light on the issue.

Making Decisions With Less Stress

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a requisite part of growth, stimulation and any compromising situation. Too much of it, it however, can short circuit your system and drive you haywire. If you are constantly under stress, without giving your body time for respite, your body will certainly break down.

Decision making is one of the primary stressors in life. However, you can’t really live a life without decisions, can’t you? Every day you make choices, and these choices translate into stresses that cannot be avoided. They can only be mitigated or handled appropriately.

No matter how hard we try, turning decisions into riskless and stressless activities would be an exercise in futility. The best thing we can do is handle the decision making process in a way that that is as healthy as possible. Here are a few things to remember when you have to make a pretty tight decision.

Assess the Situation. Hard decisions entail extra stress primarily because we tend to worry too much about things we cannot control. And worse than that, we sometimes fail to understand what type of situation we are actually in.

To handle such situations properly, you should carefully and calmly assess the situation before making a choice. If this means that you have to step back, take a few breaths, and relax a bit before plunging back into the action, then do so. You will find that this technique works wonders for the stressed mind.

Unnecessary Worry. As mentioned earlier, we have a tendency to worry about things we cannot control. This is where acceptance and proper mindset come in. While thinking about something only shows that you care, it also releases a flood of emotions that could only cloud your decision making abilities.

The best thing you have on your side is a rational mind. This is negated if you give in to unnecessary worrying. So it is best if you calmly work on the decision, taking the consequences and risks as objectively as possible.

Be Aware of the Consequences. Every decision has its consequences and its risks. A primary reason for decision making stress is that we tend to be overly optimistic or pessimistic, expecting something to happen and then banking all our hopes on those thoughts.

It would be better if you instead make a table of risks and rewards for each decision, and accept the outcome of the risks as part of the dangers of the decision making process. Life is like a gambit, you can’t always win, but you can always learn from it.

Take Time Off. As said earlier, stress is a precursor to growth and change. But if you don’t get enough rest in between stressors, you risk your mental and physical health. That is why it is very important for individuals that need to make big decisions – especially those that do so on a regular basis like bosses and managers – to take regular breaks.

They should take time off to relax, indulge in healthy recreation, and allow their minds and bodies to recuperate from the stress.

Preparation. A lot of unwanted stress could be avoided if only people were a lot more prepared to make their decisions. A little research and study on the nature of the decision would go a long way towards making each decision as sure and as stress-free as possible.


While you can’t avoid it, you can at least live with it. Don’t let stress get the better of you. Aim to keep it under control by making smarter decisions and by handling it in the right way.

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