Some of my worst decisions in life have been made from a state on anxiety, fear, or uneasy needfulness.

Take for example having licked my wounds after a business failure, I through myself into the next venture without stepping back to ask if this was what I really wanted.

The anxiety related with the previous failure was weighing heavily on me, and you won't be surprised to learn it did not take off and cost me yet more money.

This article explores the importance of your state, and how when making decisions the wrong state can lead to undesirable results.

The Concept of State

As human beings we experience a range of emotions, and these are usually mixed together like into a complex soup.

Anger, empathy, fear, anxiety, worry, happiness, sadness, love, hate to name just a handful. These emotions are not on/off switches, rather they each lie somewhere on a continuum.

Our state is in continual flux, and whilst influenced by our external environment to a certain extent, it is in large part determined by our breathing, physiology and ultimately our own thinking.

If you consider thought to be like an iceberg, we are only consciously aware of our thinking that lies above the surface, whereas the majority of thinking happens outside of our awareness, yet still continues to have a profound effect on our state.

The big insight for me here is that if you are only aware of your thinking above the waterline, but the majority of your thinking is below and probably effects your state more. Therefore trying to fix a problem without being aware
of below the waterline is less likely to be effective.

Indeed Albert Einstein once said, 'You cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them'.

How To Tell Your Not In a Good State For Making Decisions

Okay, if you've just had an argument or something has left you feeling all emotional, you are probably already aware of how you are feeling. It is in this very moment, you should avoid sending emails or text messages or picking
up the phone, as this is likely to exacerbate the situation or worsen your state.

The key here is there is an uncomfortable feeling, which is your alert that this is not the time to be saying or doing anything of importance that has bearing on your future. Your feelings really are a flag as to your state and the current quality of your thinking.

But what if you're not aware of your thinking and indeed your feelings, what other signs can you watch out for?

Well there are a number of language tells that you are not making your decisions from a desirable state, you may find yourself using them with others and of course in your own self-talk:

* Must
* Have to
* Need to
* I should (not)
* If I don't
* I can't

It's not to say that that you won't say these things, it's more that you'll notice that you are using them far more.

In NLP they are called modal operators of necessity, the other end of the spectrum would be along the lines of:

* It would be nice to
* I'd love to
* I really want to

The importance here is about making decisions and taking action based upon passion, purpose and it feeling the right thing to do, rather than in reaction. This is somewhat akin to the NLP meta program of being motivated by pain or pleasure.

When you are feeling down, stressed, or angry, in fact any state that is leaving you with a bad feeling this is not the best time to make important decisions.

Here are some examples you may be able to relate to:

* If you've just lost money, it is not a good time to make decisions about investing as it colors your attitude to risk

* If you've just broken up with a partner, it is not the best idea to go find someone that same night in a bar

* If you've just had a disagreement with someone, it is not the best time to send them an email or text

Simply put there is a difference between action and reaction, and let your feeling be your guide.

So How Can I Change My State?

Let start by saying what rarely ever works... Focusing on your current less than optimal state. As a mentor once said to me, trying to change your state by focusing all your energy on it is like trying to get rid of a butterfly that's landed
on the palm of your hand by clenching it into a fist and waving it wildly.

You cannot change your state by putting all of your energy and focus into it, I must not be angry, I must not feel sad, I am not scared, etc. This feeds your negative state rather than changes it.

Do something different, and your state will generally follow as they are linked.

So changing the way you are standing, taking deeper but calm breathes, and looking up towards the ceiling or sky will generally cause some shift. As does listening to uplifting music, exercise or laughter.

Yet there is another secret here, left alone for long enough your current state will change by itself, so long as you don't continue to feed it. Merely being aware of your state, and realising that it is somehow stemming from your thinking,
and that we have many thousands of thoughts each day, and a new one is just around the corner, can be comforting.

A Cautionary Note About Changing States

Yes it is true that certain foods such as chocolate or chips, alcohol and drugs can change your state. Some of which will clearly do you more harm than good.

Indeed for instance relying on say large quantities of red wine to change your
state will probably effect your relationships, your ability to sleep, and your waistline.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Wilkin is the Founder and Chief Dreamer at Dream Timeline a site dedicated to bringing free visualization tools to the web such as online vision boards.

Started journey of personal development after a failed business left him licking his wounds. It was on his NLP Master Practitioner course that he had the brain wave of bringing the creating future histories pattern and other techniques to the web.