Important Decisions – Part Two

Important Decisions – Part Two

by Dr Emma Gray - 27th November, 2014

The first part of this blog reviewed the factors that can interfere with the decision making process, the qualities that are necessary if an individual is to be decisive and what we risk if we are not.

The second part of this blog looks at some practical techniques to optimise our decision making processes and thus protect our self esteem, confidence and mental health.

When we make a decision we often have to tolerate some immediate or short term discomfort as we adjust to the consequent changes and wait to reap the benefits of the decision. A partial awareness of this can interfere with the decision making process, making it difficult to accurately weigh up the pros and cons of the change we are considering.

If this trade off is fully articulated at the outset of the process it can reduce our anxiety and enable us to both to make the best decision that is possible at that point and also tolerate and prepare for any short term disadvantages.

Following the steps below will enable you to fully articulate and assess all aspects and consequence of a decision ensuring that you make the best decision and in a timely manner.

1. Make a list of all of the short term (i.e. days and weeks) advantages of a positive decision

2. Make a list of all of the short term (i.e. days and weeks) disadvantages of a positive decision

3. Make a list of all of the long term (i.e. months and years) advantages of a positive decision

4. Make a list of all of the short term (i.e. months and years) disadvantages of a positive decision

For clarity, arrange your list in a 3×3 grid with column headings ‘Advantages’ and ‘Disadvantages’ and row headings ‘Short term’ and ‘Long term’. For good decisions, that will enhance your psychological and physical well being, the majority of the disadvantages will sit in the short term row and the majority of advantages in the long term row.

To recap the previous part of this article, click below to navigate.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


Read more about my approach to counselling here...


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