Making a decision that has serious implications for your life can be stressful and overwhelming. At a time when you're in need of clarity and certainty, you instead feel as if you're facing the exact opposite, an unpleasant mix of confusion and doubt.
As you go back and forth contemplating your options, it can start to feel like the walls are closing in on you. That sensation of feeling closed-in and smothered makes the situation itself seem even bigger, weightier, more unclear, and more overwhelming. None of this feels good!
During times like this, giving yourself a bit of time and space can help.
Step Away from the Situation
Sometimes, you just need to take a break and step away from the situation for a while. This allows time for your conscious mind to take a rest, while your subconscious continues to process things in the background.
Can you set the decision aside for a few days, perhaps even a week? Doing so allows you to clear and refresh your mind. When you come back to the issue later on, you're able to look at it with a fresh eye and a clearer perspective. Instead of being locked into one viewpoint, you can now come at it from different angles and alternative viewpoints.
Stepping away and taking a break allows you to get "unstuck" in terms of how you're picturing things. Allowing some space between yourself and the situation enables you to disassemble and reassemble the pieces of the puzzle, allowing you to see an entirely new picture. This opens the door to seeing different responses, solutions, and even hidden opportunities.
Sleep On It
If you don't have the luxury of setting things aside for an extended period, go with the next best thing: sleep on it.
During your sleeping hours, particularly those periods throughout the night when you're dreaming, your subconscious mind will be reviewing and consolidating information, making connections and unlocking new ideas and insights.
A good night's sleep also gives your body and mind a chance to rest and repair, allowing you to wake up with more energy and less anxiety. Emotionally, you'll be calmer and more relaxed. Mentally, you'll be more clear-minded, and better equipped to review the situation more keenly and sharply.
Shift Your Focus
What if the situation is more pressing and needs to be dealt with promptly? Stepping away from things even just briefly and shifting your focus to something else for a while will help.
If exercise energizes you, spend some time working out. Getting out for a long walk in the fresh air is helpful, because of the diversion it provides as you focus on your surroundings.
You can also allow yourself to become fully absorbed in your favourite hobby, to the extent that your mind is entirely focused on the task at hand. Your subconscious mind continues to work on the issue even as your conscious mind is focused elsewhere. Without trying to force things, fresh ideas or something completely unexpected may jump out at you that you weren't seeing before, steering you in a different direction.
The next time you find yourself struggling with a decision because you feel torn, confused, or frustrated over it, give yourself some time and space. Set things aside for a few days, sleep on it, or engage in an activity that diverts your attention away from the situation. You'll be in a better position to tackle things with a clearer, calmer, more focused mind.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.