The decisions you make over the course of your life play a huge role in shaping the direction and outcome of your life. A few poor choices along the way are inevitable, and sometimes the worst situations we experience can be our greatest teachers, if we're willing to learn from them.
But as much as you can, you want to make the best decisions possible, as often as possible. You do this is by staying out of the decision-making danger zone.
What is the decision-making danger zone?
What is the decision-making danger zone? It's that space we often find ourselves in where we're either not thinking clearly, or we're giving away too much of our decision-making power to someone else. The best thing you can do when you find yourself in that zone is to get out of it, so you can reclaim your mental clarity and decision-making power.
Here are 5 signs you're in the decision-making danger zone.
1. You're sleep deprived.
Pulled an all-nighter for school or work? Missing out on sleep while you care for a sick friend or family member? Struggling with insomnia for more than a couple of nights? Any number of circumstances can lead to sleep deprivation, and it takes an enormous toll on your mental and emotional well-being.
Even if you think you're doing fine, your body is missing out on the important repair processes that can only occur when you get adequate sleep. It becomes harder to manage your emotions when you're sleep deprived. You're also more prone to overlooking the obvious, and more likely to exercise poor judgment both in trivial and important matters.
2. You're highly stressed.
Stress is part of life, there's no way around it. The key lies in managing stress, so it doesn't become harmful or overwhelming. If you're highly stressed to the point where you're constantly feeling strained with no relief, that's not just extremely unhealthy physically and emotionally; it reduces your ability to think clearly and make good decisions.
It's hard to tackle problems in a calm, rational, sensible way when you're completely stressed out. You're distracted, your thinking becomes muddled, and you overlook options and solutions that may be right in front of you.
You're also more likely to overreact to situations when you're highly stressed. This can lead to poor decisions, negative consequences, and in some cases lasting damage.
3. You're feeling rushed.
There's a time and place for making quick decisions based on intuition or a gut feeling. But there are many decisions that require more than that. Some decisions require careful thought and consideration, so you know what you're dealing with, what your options are, and what the consequences will be.
If you're being rushed to make a quick decision on a serious matter, you don't have time to take a proper, in-depth look at things before moving forward. You can later find yourself facing all sorts of problems that could have been foreseen and avoided if you had adequate time to think things through thoroughly.
4. You're not eating well.
Have you ever been so hungry that you couldn't think about anything other than getting something to eat? Did you find yourself feeling a little out of sorts, irritable, or perhaps even downright grouchy? You might even have felt a headache coming on.
Making decisions on an empty stomach is not a good idea! In the short term, all sorts of things start to happen in your body when you haven't eaten for a while. This biochemical activity has a direct effect on your mood and your judgment. In the long term, eating poorly can impact cognitive function and mood, which in turn can impact your decision-making capabilities.
Remember, the saying, "you're not yourself when you're hungry" really is true!
5. You're focused on trying to please or appease someone else.
It's great to tune-in to other people so you can be considerate of their needs alongside your own. What's not so great is becoming overly focused on trying to please or appease others. You can reach a point where you start setting aside or even neglecting your own needs, while prioritizing someone else's.
When keeping someone else happy becomes your dominant focus, it can lead to disastrous decision-making. If you feel obligated to cater to someone else, or that you have no real choice but to comply with someone else's wishes and demands (whether openly stated or unspoken), this is not a healthy set of dynamics. Along with putting you in the danger zone for your decision making, it's a sign of bigger problems in the relationship that need to be addressed.
Take note when you find yourself in the danger zone of decision-making, and take steps you can to change the situation so you don't wind up making poor decisions that could have been avoided.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.