Last week, I went through a particularly stressful situation that left me distressed, unable to sleep for a few days.
Looking back at the series of events now, I realise that the stress was not caused by the situation itself but by my indecision on how best to face the situation.
We all go through many stressful times in our lives, normally these situations are not too nerve-wracking in and of themselves, but our inability to decide how best to react towards them make them very stressful.
For example, let’s say you’re a student at university and you have failed your exams. You’re in distress, but this situation becomes harmful when you are unable to respond to your failure in a clear and positive way. You could say to yourself, ‘Okay, I failed…what is next? What are my options?’ You should pray istikhara prayer, and perhaps speak with an advisor or family.
When your mind becomes cluttered and anxious, thinking about a situation over and over and over again and the 1001 possibilities, you become stressed. If you make up your mind, however, you will find yourself much more relaxed because now your mind does not have to process the infinite possibilities, but can focus on the decision you have made and how to move forward.
Honestly, after my experience last week, I realised that an indecisive mind can become torturous, so here are five simple steps when you are faced with such situations:
1. Realise the world is not over and everything won’t stop/start at this decision, life will go on.
2. List your options and think objectively by considering what is the best and worst that could happen.
3. Take shura by asking your (wise and trusted) friends, your family members, and others. Be careful though not to be swayed one way or another with their opinion, simply keep their advice in mind.
4. Pray Istikhara on the options available to you and see which ones you are most comfortable with and which would please Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) the most.
5. Make up your mind and decide! Once you’ve intended a decision, take actions towards fulfilling that choice. Since you prayed istikhara, then if your decision was good you’ll see that fulfilling it becomes easy. If that decision was not good for you, then things would be made difficult for you and you’d turn away from it.
May Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) protect us from the evil of indecision and bless us with wisdom and peace of mind. Ameen.