“We’re so much more than we think we are. We are so much more than just this little bundle of obsessions going on in our head. And that’s a beautiful thing to discover.”
– Poet and translator David Hinton talks about rewilding our minds.
Avoid The Default Effect
When faced with choices, we humans tend to go for the default option. This is known as the default effect, and it doesn’t always bode well. We can default to eating unhealthy food or staying in jobs that stress us out because choosing something else takes effort and risk.
So, how do you break free of the default effect?
- Be aware of your own thoughts (aka, metacognition). Journaling can help.
- Practice deliberate decision-making. Train your brain by switching up your choices, even for little things.
- Imagine the future. Consider where you are and where you want to go. Regular reviews (like your end-of-month Panda Planner review) are a great tool for this.
You can also use the default effect to your advantage by designing your environment to make the default option the healthy one. We’ll explore some ways to do that in upcoming issues, so stay tuned!
Become a Confident Decision-Maker
Speaking of decisions, the default effect is just one of the challenges we face in making good ones. Turns out there are many reasons why humans suck at making the best choices. But don’t worry – we’re all in this together.
Here are some ways to become a more confident decision-maker:
- For practical or financial decisions, try writing out an objective pros-and-cons list.
- Otherwise, try a rule-based approach – i.e. doing what’s right regardless of the cost.
- Don’t stay in a state of hesitation. Make a decision, even if it’s a hard one. Says Inverse, “Once you do make a hard decision, your brain adjusts its preferences — meaning you’re more likely to be able to make another hard decision in the future.”
How do you feel about your decision-making capabilities? Check out more tips here.
Emily Henderson, Stylist, TV Personality & New York Times Bestselling Author
“When I make healthy choices I’m mentally and physically much happier, which produces a better parent, a better leader, and a more supportive partner,” says Emily Henderson. Here’s her morning routine:
- Wakes without an alarm at 6-6.30 am.
- Gets coffee, then takes the dogs for a 3-mile walk (the “most important thing” she does for herself all day). “I have my coffee, a podcast, two adorable pups, and rain or shine I truly love it.”
- Does 20 mins of Peloton or strength training. “Yes, the walk would be considered enough, but I’ve found if I also push myself a little more then MAN I’m feeling good.”
- Takes a cold shower or ice bath. “I’m telling you – it’s a guaranteed dopamine burst for 3-4 hours.”
- Gets dressed and starts work by 9.
Why it works:
- Waking up naturally avoids sleep inertia and leaves you less tired.
- Walking, pets and podcasts are all great – but most importantly, Emily is doing what she loves.
- Morning workouts boost energy, mood and focus.
- Ice baths have research-backed benefits – if you can handle the cold! 🥶
“This might not be doable for a lot of people,” says Emily, “so please don’t compare or think I’m telling you this is the best/only way to be ‘healthy’.” Right on Emily, we should always experiment to find what works for us. How are you feeling about your morning routine?