Healthy Decision Making.  This phrase can encompass different meanings to different people.  Most view this phrase as a representation of their eating habits – making the healthy choice to skip the dessert after dinner or to make sure they eat a healthy breakfast every day.  But have you ever thought of applying healthy decision making to other aspects of your life besides diet and exercise?  Making healthy choices can include stress management, finding balance between work and your personal life, or making decisions that have a positive impact on you and/or your loved ones.

One way to apply healthy decision making is to practice being responsive instead of reactive when making decisions.  Often times when we make decisions, we are impulsive (reactive) in our actions without thinking about the implications.  When we make decisions based on immediate gratification or intense emotions, we often don’t get the desired results we’re looking for.  Think of the times in your life when you have made a decision based on immediate need and regretted it afterwards, like eating that second piece of pie only to end up with a terrible stomachache or having a bad day at work only to come home and take it out on your spouse or partner.   When we give ourselves the opportunity to be thoughtful with our decisions and actions, we are being responsive.  Being responsive allows us to make wiser decisions with a more ideal outcome.

Next time you need to make a “healthy” decision, try out these helpful tips:

  • Give yourself the opportunity to think about your choices.  Thinking allows us to break away from the intensity of emotions allowing us to make better choices.
  • When your emotions are high, take a few moments to take some deep breaths.  Deep breathing allows the mind to slow down and for emotions to cool.
  • Don’t beat yourself up.  If you make an impulsive decision, recognize it, think about a different choice you could have made, and then move on.

We’re not perfect but if you practice healthy decision making, you’ll find yourself feeling better each day leading you to a more fulfilled life!

~The HealthPsych Team