Fascinating ways to make better decisions

We make decisions every day, mundane to often life-altering. Making a good decision requires us to balance emotions and rationality. We have tried to bring together some fascinating ways as authenticated by psychologists and neurobiologists that can help you make better decisions.

 Never be afraid of the consequences.

There is an old saying, ‘Whatever the future holds, it will hurt or please you less than you imagine’. Loss aversion affects people’s choices; we should not always play safe. The worst might never happen, and if it does, we may surprise ourselves by being better prepared at it. The hedonic effects of most happenings are less severe and short-lived than most people envisage!

 Go with your gut feeling.

Counterintuitively, information overload or over-evaluation can be a problem, from choosing a school for your kid to picking a holiday location. Most of the time, you may rely on your unconscious brain to takeinstinctive decisions rather than conscious deliberation. But just keep in mind, if the decision is highly emotive, your instincts may not help much.

 Try to limit your options.

The paradox of choice states that while we think more choice is best, often less is more. Greater choices put more strain on your information processing system and can end up in decision paralysis. A good enough choice may not be the best choice but might end up making you the happiest!

 Reflect on your emotions.

Whenever we make up our mind, our limbic system that is the brain’s emotional centreis activated. This means emotions are a clear component in choice-making neurobiology. But whether emotions let us make the right decision is a questionable area. Like anger can make us impulsive, self-centered and risk-prone. Strangely, sadness is the only emotional state in which people take time to contemplatevarious choices and end up taking the best decision!

 Let someone close choose on your behalf.

There is an obsession with a choice, a faith that it brings happiness,but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, irrespective of the outcome of a decision, the actual decision-making process can be gruesome and draining. So, sometimes the best way is to let someone trusted make a decision on your behalf.

In the context of today’s time, one should also be aware of the role of social pressure in affecting decision making. Mere acknowledgement of the fact that the most well-adjusted people are affected by social norms and may end up making a bad decision. If you see everyone agreeing, play a contrarian and don’t make irresponsible choices.