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Learn how to use mindfulness to make big decisions

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When it comes to making a big decision, how many of us falter, question our intuition, or feel anxious that we’ve somehow made the wrong choice? Instead of looking outwards for reassurance, Joanna Hulin says we should try looking inwards

Day to day life is filled with choices. One study of decision making by researchers at New York’s Cornell University found that we make 226 decisions each day – and that’s just involving food! Some of the time, all of these choices seem to wash over us, causing us little or no consternation. Yet at other times, having to make a decision can feel overwhelming. I remember when I bought my first house. I must have looked at around 20 or more possible homes, each time weighing up the practical pros and cons of each one, ensuring it was within the parameters of budget, location and practicality. Until, of course, I stepped foot inside the porch of what is now my home and made the decision to buy it within seconds – it just felt right. That’s because decisions are made in two very distinct ways: by gathering and evaluating information – facts, practicalities or rules, for example – and on instinct.

But what happens when making a choice feels neither instinctive nor clear, even after we’ve assessed all the information available? Choosing to move on from something, to take a new job, to begin or end a relationship – the big decisions – can sometimes be so consuming, confusing and fearful that we end up making none at all. When it comes to the big stuff, how can we teach ourselves to make our decisions with confidence?

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