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Where Are Your Choices Leading You?

Hey there! I'm Asta, a second-year psychology student at the University of Jyväskylä. I'm a psychology major and a trainee at Aatos Health. I chose to study psychology as I'm interested in the human mind and human behavior. I applied to Aatos as this offers me a chance to combine my interests in work and organizational psychology, mental health promotion, and even business. I'm really excited to see where Aatos is going!

What breakfast did you eat this morning? Did you go to work by bus or by bike? Every day, we make both significant and insignificant choices. Life could be pictured as full of crossroads in which we choose whether to go in one direction or another.

It might also be possible that we are so accustomed to always choosing in a certain way that we don’t even recognise the possibility to choose otherwise. However, the ability to stop to consider our options at these crossroads gives us an opportunity to make more meaningful choices.

Nowadays, I spend most of my days at home as my studies have been online for a while. Many courses need to be completed fully independently, which means students have to take much more responsibility of his/her studies and timetables.

When there is no external pressure or clear timetables, you have to construct the contents of your days on your own. You have to make choices. I can confidently say my number of daily choices has risen over the past year.

These choices may concern at what time you are going to set your alarm for the next morning, how many hours you are going to study in a day, what kinds of breaks you are going to take during the day, if you're going to exercise, or at what time you are going to bed. Even though I'm talking from the perspective of a student, these types of decisions aren’t necessarily unique to students.

When faced with a new choice, it would be useful to stop to think for a moment whether the choice is a long-term or a short-term solution. As an example, if I postpone my school work by one day, it doesn’t necessarily lead to a personal crisis, but if I make the same short-term decision several days in a row, I might find myself a lot more stressed right before my deadlines than if I had done my work on time.

Similarly, staying on the couch for one night instead of going for a run isn’t a bad decision as such, but in the long run, making these kinds of decisions can undermine one’s well-being.

It can sometimes be useful to choose not to do something. Occasionally, one can live under psychological strain and feel a diminishing of psychological resources. During times like these, it is important to be aware of how you are feeling and sometimes deliberately decide not to do something, if necessary.

For students, this could mean taking fewer courses, and for people in the workforce, this could possibly mean avoiding working overtime. These decisions to not do something could support one’s overall well-being for example by leaving more time to recover.

How should you support your own well-being? I propose that you pick at least one day this week to think about the situations in which you make choices and to which direction these choices are leading you; are your choices moving you toward, or away from, better well-being?

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