Decision Fatigue

Do you have decision fatigue?

This is not a new condition. It has simply now been identified and named. We like names and boxes and syndromes. Putting things in boxes decreases this type of fatigue.

Decision fatigue is a type of overwhelm. Makes perfect sense, right?

I just read up on this once nameless “syndrome.” In my research, I did everything short of buying the several books that are on the market. All the articles gave practical advice:

  • Don’t make decisions on an empty stomach. We all know that one. Who can make a good decision when your stomach is screaming?
  • Keep things simple. Again, common sense.
  • Aim for a good decision, not a perfect one. For all of you Libras and Taurus’s out there, this one’s for you!
  • Don’t make decisions when you’re upset. Definitely not a good time to cut your hair.
  • Don’t make decisions when in the middle of loud noise and/or chaos. The only decision to make is how can you get out of that situation.
  • Important decisions should be made earlier in the day. Of course!

There is a lot more sage advice available. However, one crucial piece of wisdom is glaringly absent. Nothing I read said anything about listening to your heart.

After all the information gathering, consulting with friends and experts, and consideration (also called mulling), decision making comes down to what do we truly want. And that answer, my friends, is in the heart, not the head or the gut.

Yes, I know that many people, including stockbrokers, call it a “gut decision.” The only decision that comes from the gut is when to eat. Other than that, I don’t know of anyone who consults their GI tract on what to wear, or where to go on vacation or what car to buy.

It is an interesting dichotomy that we give so much power and credit to the brain in our use of language. For example, we say: “I’ll think about that;” or, “I came to a decision.” Both examples refer to a logical process.

Making decisions from the truth of your Heart

Ultimately, we all rely on the truth of our hearts, even though we may not acknowledge or understand that as being our process. As you may know, this is also called intuition.

Intentionally coming to an understanding from the heart is so much less stressful and more accurate than straining our computers (brains). We know in our hearts without external information or other people’s opinions. We know what looks good, feels right, satisfies us and makes us truly happy. We know what is for our highest and best in love and only love.

Our brains figure things out and put the puzzle pieces together. Brains like that. They are designed for that. Our hearts sit and wait patiently for our brains to do their thing. Finally, when the brain gets overwhelmed, it dumps all the information on the heart, ostensibly saying, “You take this and make the decision. I’m overwhelmed.” That’s because the brain has done its job. It is time for the brain to rest, stop working and celebrate a job well done. Gathering information is an important part of the process.

The heart can now take over because it is the voice of the soul and knows our highest truth in love and only love. The heart gives us answers through the emotional body/feeling and the physical body/feeling. When we feel good about something, it’s right. If we don’t, it’s wrong.

This is a simplification of the process. There are many things that could adversely affect our hearing the heart, such as karma, addiction, fear, old programing, or other things better discussed at another time.

Making decisions with the heart is NOT a thinking experience, which can cause stress and overwhelm. We call it overthinking and that equals “decision fatigue.” Why? Because when we utilize only the brain, we and it get tired. The brain by itself simply doesn’t have the ability or information to make decisions that are expressions of love to self. Only the heart can do that.

Just as the body knows what to eat for optimal health and energy, the heart knows what is for our highest and best in true happiness. That in turn energizes and motivates us. We may not always like the answer, but we know it is true.

Example: You desperately want to take that trip you’ve been saving for and planning for so long but begin to hear that voice inside that says don’t go. When you ask yourself and listen to your heart, you get a definite NO. You take that trip anyway. It’s miserable, things go terribly wrong so you cut it short. If you had listened to your heart, you could have taken the trip when the energy and conditions were right. Then you would have had a most magnificent time. I’m sure you have your own experience of this scenario.

The heart holds your wisdom —your connection to all that is, the Universe, Mother Earth, Spirit and the truth for your highest and best.

So too, synchronicity comes from being in the heart, not luck or happenstance. When we live in synchronicity, we are listening to our hearts and, therefore, are in the flow.

Unfortunately, often we don’t stay in the flow because life gets easy, and we forget about the challenges and lessons. We fall back into struggle. It is in contrast that we learn. When we get uncomfortable enough, we start to listen again and to simply be. With that, we return to the flow and life again becomes easier and more fun.

There are very few rules in my classes because we’re always learning and growing, and we learn best from our own experiences. However, the #1 rule is: “I don’t know,” is not allowed because you do know. I ask that my students switch to, “I need to be with that question and get back to you.”

How to quiet your mind and hear your Heart 

How does this work? Being with the question may look like sitting in meditation or walking in nature or any other way you clear the mind chatter so that you can hear your heart. In fact, that’s the point of meditation—to clear the obstacles that prevent you from hearing your heart.

From time to time, we may try to drown out the noise and chaos with drugs, alcohol, sex, food, TV or other ways of not being present with oneself. And it will work in the moment.

However, in the long term, not so much. Because the truth of the heart has not been listened to, avoidance ultimately leads to stress and unhappiness. It therefore creates decision fatigue.

I love a glass of wine from time to time, but it is meditation and nature that truly bring peace and happiness. The quiet of the morning allows us to hear our hearts and make decisions that we trust. It is listening to music that brings revelation to the soul. It is chanting that removes the chaos that leads to understanding.

This New Year (today is Samhain, New Year north of the equator) gift yourself with finding and practicing the ways that allow you to hear your heart. Take that walk or join a meditation group or simply sit on your porch without your phone. You can have more peace, joy and energy and forever give up decision fatigue.

Happy Samhain! Let’s all banish decision fatigue this New Year! And to our friends in the South, Happy Beltane. May you also banish decision fatigue!