By Kacie Mitterando, LMSW
From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep we are faced with a multitude of choices. In fact, some research has even shown that each and every one of us makes roughly 35,000 decisions a day. When broken down that equals 2,000 decisions an hour and even further… one decision every two seconds (1). Hopefully, on the majority of these days the choices are decently simple, which is why we don’t notice we are making them. What will I wear to work today? What will I eat for lunch? Do I want to workout in the morning or at night? Other times these choices can be much more difficult, these are the choices we seem plagued with and find ourselves thinking about often. Do I want to stay in this relationship? Is it time for me to move on from my place of employment? Do I continue to rent or do I purchase a home?
Research shows that decision-making, will power and self-control are all similar concepts in the sense that they can be fatigued. Essentially, this means that we each have a limit to the amount of decisions we are successfully able to make in a day. For some this may be 35,001 and for others this may be 34,000. Picture your decisions as a glass full of water and each time you take a sip, you begin to deplete your cup. Once all of the water is drained, there isn’t anywhere else to tap into, unless of course your cup is refilled. This may help explain why you feel extra exhausted after coming home from a long day at work in back-to-back meetings and also explains why many successful entrepreneurs, such as Mark Zuckerberg, wear the same outfit every day- to save his decision making ability for tougher and more important tasks (2).
This brings me to a tough decision that many of us face each day, the decision to heal from our emotional struggles when we sense our defense mechanisms, particularly denial kicking in during emotional pain.
Denial is normal.
Defense mechanisms are there to protect us and when you think about it intensely, they illustrate the true beauty and intelligence of the mind as it goes to such lengths to keep us emotionally safe. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are using them.
Switching from denial to emotional healing:
1. Acting as though a painful situation did not exist and discounting your feelings:
Sometimes it can be easier to deny a heartbreak or stressful situation at work than to face the challenge head on. However, honoring your pain and facing the facts of hurt are a pivotal piece in eliminating any unhappiness you may be experiencing.
2. Allow this to teach you:
If denial is taking over during a stressful or emotionally painful situation, we take away from the powerful lessons that we may learn from it. While getting through the messy part of facing our fears or hurt can be excruciatingly difficult, asking yourself what this situation can teach you can allow you to grow in ways that may have not been possible.
3. Punishing yourself and shoving the feelings deeper:
Remember that it is OK to take a break when things become difficult. While it is important to always do your best, it is equally important to remember that your best changes from day to day. Punishing yourself will only dig a deeper hole of emotional pain.
4. Reach out to support systems:
Remind yourself of the people in your life that are positive supports and you can count on. Make a list of these people with their phone numbers if needed. The key to this is keeping track of those in your life who are positive. A piece of emotional healing may be facing those in your life who are not having a positive impact. In denial, we may continue a friendship or romantic relationship, or even pretend that all is well. However, to emotionally heal we must make the shift to healthy relationships.
Are you struggling with emotional healing? We understand. Schedule a 15-minute phone consultation with us today.
1. How Many Decisions Do We Make Each Day? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stretching-theory/201809/how-many-decisions-do-we-make-each-day
2. Mesh, J. (n.d.). We Make 35K Decisions a Day-Here's How To Beat Decision Fatigue. Retrieved from https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/we-make-35k-decisions-a-day-heres-how-to-beat-decision-fatigue/