Do you ever get so anxious about the future that you have difficulty making decisions, which ultimately contributes to your unhappiness because you’re indecisive? Trust me, I’ve been there too. Aside from being inundated with information as soon as you wake up and forced to decide on the simplest things to the most enormous dilemmas, making decisions can be scary. You’ve probably thought, What if I make the wrong decision and it ruins everything? I’ll tell you a little secret: no “right” answer exists.
Once you make a decision, you have the power to move forward from it. Although it’s always a good idea to be intentional and thoughtful when making decisions, trying not to let choices overwhelm you is essential. When faced with challenging decisions, becoming overwhelmed and confused can be defined as decision paralysis or analysis paralysis, which essentially means the inability to make decisions. To make a thoughtful decision, people may consider pros and cons, several detailed pieces of information, and potential outcomes, and even survey others for their opinion, which can cause additional anxiety and confusion. Decision and analysis paralysis can hinder your progress with moving forward in all aspects of your life, keeping you stuck in your head with your thoughts – zapping our joy and peace of mind.
According to VeryWell, analysis paralysis feels like stress due to your racing thoughts and inability to make any decisions when you need to. While you’re in that state, you can feel exhausted and significantly overwhelmed. You may experience stress-related symptoms such as:
- Ruminating thoughts
- Rapid heart rate
- Shallow breathing
- Loss of sleep
- Disinterest in making a decision
- Lack of productivity
- Inability to focus
While everyone can be subjected to decision paralysis, others are more prone to the state.
People who often think in “black or white” terms, like strictly good or bad, all or nothing, can be conflicted when a decision doesn’t fit one category.
Perfectionists pride themselves on being careful, intentional, and thoughtful regarding their lives and critical decisions. But this approach can lead them to a complicated space when faced with decisions about love, relationships, future goals, career, or family. There are always unknown variables that affect any decision.
People-pleasers tend to sacrifice themselves to make others around them feel happy, even when they are visibly uncomfortable or unhappy. When they are expected to make a decision that may impact others, the weight of the choice can feel heavy and unbearable.
Lack of Confidence
Many people need more confidence when making decisions, which can be due to not having experience making choices on their own or having previously experienced the pain of making a poor choice beforehand.
How to Limit Decision and Analysis Paralysis
If you have analysis paralysis, it is crucial to understand that you can slow down decision-making and limit ruminating thoughts by taking it one step at a time and controlling your pace. We have the agency to curate our own choices.
Become aware: Take a moment to pause and recognize what’s happening by being in tune with your body. Notice any discomfort and decide to take a deep breath or rest.
Lean into flexibility: Give yourself daily reminders that it’s okay to be flexible and imperfect. At times, our fear of an unsavory outcome can feel permanent, and that’s not the case.
Stop asking for other’s opinions: Remember that you’re a capable human adult who can make decisions that work for you independently. Choose to stop asking people what they think or what they might do. The answer is within you.