OPINION: We may regret our decisions, but that's okay

Reflecting on past decisions can help make future ones.
Reflecting on past decisions can help make future ones. chaiyapruek2520

IT IS interesting to reflect on the choices we have made and the result of those choices in retrospect.

Like me, you may discover you have not always made the best choices. You may wonder what you were thinking (or rather not thinking).

We all make small choices every day without paying much attention to how or why we make them; what to wear, what to eat, what to drink, what to say, what to do and so on.

Many of those may not really have an effect on our day or our life in that moment, but what are the consequences of those choices over time?

For example, we are generally more aware of the longer-term impact on our health of poor daily choices of what we eat and drink but we are still able to exercise that choice.

We have all known times when we have chosen to say or perhaps not say something and regretted it.

Similarly, we may recognise that what we have chosen to do felt like a wise and considered decision at the time. But did it always work out well or as well we thought?

We love to have choices and sometimes multiple choices. On the other hand, if you've ever felt "spoilt for choice" or bewildered by the array available, and even ended up not choosing anything, you may also recognise that sometimes too much choice is unhelpful.

Recent research in neuroscience indicates that when shoppers were given a choice of 23 jams to taste, only 3% were likely to buy one. When they were given only six to taste, 30% of the shoppers bought one.

The important part is that we feel that we are always given a choice (or several), particularly when that choice involves something that has a potentially serious effect on our life.

If you've ever found yourself in a situation when a decision that will affect you in some way has been made without your choice, involvement or ability to influence it you will know what I mean.

We need to recognise that we like to have choices, but not too many. Even when it does not feel like we have a choice, we always have at least two - to do or to not do - and while that may take a lot of consideration, it can also simplify our decision.

Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned.

Topics:  mental health opinion weekend magazine wellbeing

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