October 2006

Beat Barriers to Good Decision Making

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You are required to make many decisions, big and small, every day. While you can’t remove every obstacle in your path, you avoid the roadblocks that are under your control. Here’s how:

Roadblock #1: Diet
Skipping meals or not getting the right nutrients can cloud thinking. Boost brainpower by eating several small meals per day. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and refuel with high-fiber snacks such as dried apricots, baby carrots, bananas or whole-grain wafers. Avoid carbohydrate-laden and high-sugar foods that can make you feel sluggish later on. Opt instead for a lean protein serving at lunch, such as chicken, fish, tofu or sugar-free yogurt.

Roadblock #2: Stress
Chronic stress can make you forgetful and unable to make decisions. Manage stress by practicing relaxation techniques; for example, take several deep breaths and picture yourself in a peaceful setting. Get regular exercise and plenty of sleep to help step up your stress resistance.

Roadblock #3: Alcohol or Drug Use
Alcohol and drugs have both short- and long-term effects on decision making. If you think you have an alcohol or drug problem, get help. Talk to your doctor or look in the Yellow Pages under “alcoholism.” Fact: It only takes a small amount of alcohol to impair judgment. Avoid alcohol if you’ll be driving, using machinery or doing other tasks that require a clear head.

Roadblock #4: Poor Health
Many health issues can impair decision making. For example, Type II “adult onset” diabetes can cause mental confusion; depression can render a person unable to make decisions and even physical problems such as headaches or back pain can affect a person mentally. Get regular checkups from a medical professional, and talk with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that affect your daily life.

Copyright Oakstone Wellness Publishing

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