Mental health and decisions: returning to flow

We make better decisions when relaxed and fresh. Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

We all balance our priorities.  In other words, all of our lives involve choices about what to do.  It’s true that some situations seem to involve more freedom than others.  A surgeon in the middle of an operation, for instance, seems to have very little choice about what to do next.  But that surgeon’s life has definitely contained priorities to weigh up.  And even in the operating theatre, decisions about priorities are necessary.  So, whoever we are, we can’t escape in-the-moment decisions.

When our mental health is compromised, our decision making powers are compromised, and we lose our flow and confidence.  When anxious, our cognitive powers are inhibited by fear, and we can rush at decisions.  When depressed, our cognitive powers are inhibited by exhaustion and demotivation, and decisions can be hard to make at all, because we don’t care.

Decision making can be seen as optimising our relationship with risk.  We can become too risk-averse through fear; or we can become immune to risk through despair.  So, when we are stressed or tired, we need to balance ourselves up before we can make good decisions.  We would all prefer to be operated on by a relaxed, fresh surgeon, rather than one who is tired and stressed.  We owe ourselves the same duty of care.


I sit still for a while.  I let go of all the fuss of daily life.  I become aware of my own body, how it feels.  I become aware of my thoughts, and how they feel.  I notice when my mind seems to divert into playing anxious narratives.  I notice, and let those thoughts go.

After some time letting thoughts go, I become more comfortable and relaxed.  I stay in that space as long as possible, remaining comfortable and relaxed, not grabbing at things, just sitting.  I feel in better flow now.  I can feel my body and mind tempted to get dragged back in to the usual debates about this and that.  But I am not going to do that right now.  The decisions can wait.

Slowly, the clouds clear.  My mind becomes like a blue sky, spacious.  I feel at peace with myself and others.  This is the space I will spend some time in.  Even when I rise from this meditation, I will stay in the same space.  I will allow myself to flow, to relax.  This time of peace gives my body and mind the perfect space to regain their equilibrium.  When it feels right, the flow will return, and the decisions will come.