A major obstacle to making effective and authentic decisions is the overwhelm that can result from fixating – ironically – on making the right decision.
As we consider the pros and cons of all the choices we have and their possible consequences, our minds quickly become saturated with noise. Invariably, we second guess ourselves as we hone in on a potential decision and find ourselves returning to square one – again.
Let’s talk about a different way of making decisions. One that reduces the clutter, grounds you in your authentic core, reduces the fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision and gives you access to your inner wisdom that brings clarity… stream of consciousness writing.
Stream of consciousness writing is a method that allows your thoughts to flow onto paper without any conscious structure. It’s a form of free-flow writing that captures your inner monologue as it unfolds, reflecting the continuous stream of thoughts, feelings, and ideas that pass through your mind.
The idea is to resist the default setting most of us have of judging our own thoughts as soon as they emerge. Focus your mind only on the words as you write them on the paper. Stop yourself from thinking ahead or reflecting on what you previously wrote. It is ok if you find yourself doing this, simply keep bringing yourself back to the present and the words coming onto the paper in the now.
When you are ready to stop, resist the urge to read what you wrote down. This only puts you back into a place of self-judgment. If you gained clarity, great, reflect on that! If not, don’t worry. Give yourself space to let things unfold by focusing on another task, doing some exercise or sleeping on it. Trust that clarity will come, like for example two days later when you’re having a shower or driving along listening to your favourite Spotify playlist.
Stream of consciousness writing is most beneficial when done regularly and many of my clients have it as a daily practice. However, engaging in this technique ad-hoc can be just as powerful in helping you make authentic decisions quickly. Not only that, it has the power to reduce stress and rumination, unlock creative expression and reveal missing insights to help you connect the dots that need connecting.
Stream of Consciousness Method
- Focus your mind only on the words as you write them on the paper.
- Resist thinking ahead or reflecting on what you previously wrote.
- When you are ready to stop, don’t read what you wrote down.
- Reflect on the clarity gained or trust that clarity will come with space.