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How Mindfulness Improves Decision-making

Your inner workings can influence your decisions

Everywhere you look, mindfulness meditation is touted as a wonder drug. Meditation can supposedly support weight loss, lower stress levels, increase attention and reduce anxiety. But there’s one benefit that I think many people overlook—being mindful makes you a much better decision-maker.

Two years ago, I went to a 10-day silent retreat in Ladakh, India. The retreat center was akin to a monastery, located in a scenic panorama of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 12,000 feet. Insects enjoyed undisturbed existence in our dormitories, protected by our oath not to harm any living being. The schedule was also ruthless: First meditation sessions began at 4.30 a.m., and the days lasted until 10.30 p.m.

What must sound as the most grueling of days from the outside ended up being some of the most meaningful days on the inside. I learned that my mind is hardly ever still. Instead, thoughts just come up. Ruminations, emotions, memories seem to pop up out of nowhere, mostly unsolicited and untriggered. When you’re meditating, you can’t decide what to think next, and you can’t choose not to think at all.

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