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How Making Fast Decisions Can Reduce Your Anxiety - Self-development
How Making Fast Decisions Can Reduce Your Anxiety - Self-development

Video: How Making Fast Decisions Can Reduce Your Anxiety - Self-development

Video: How Making Fast Decisions Can Reduce Your Anxiety - Self-development
Video: How to make faster decisions | The Way We Work, a TED series 2023, December

Many people seeking psychological help for anxiety also complain about difficulty making decisions. Anxiety sufferers are often prone to perfectionism, which plays a significant role in situations of choice

When faced with many alternatives, perfectionists want to be sure they are on the right track. It is completely normal and even useful to analyze possible options. And each of us sooner or later reaches the threshold, after which, after thinking everything thoroughly, makes a choice in favor of one of the options. Even without being one hundred percent sure of the result.

People with high anxiety have a high confidence threshold. They do not want to make a choice until they are absolutely sure that it is the right decision. Except in situations where the outcome is clear, it is unrealistic to expect 100% certainty of success. And that is precisely why this process can last indefinitely, the so-called "analysis paralysis" occurs in a person.

As with any type of anxiety, the picture unfolds as follows: short-term avoidance increases anxiety in the long run. Anything you do to try to ease the anxiety when it occurs creates more experiences the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. After short-term resistance, your brain learns that anxiety is a great defense mechanism.

Let's say an anxious person is unhappy at his job and is considering quitting. Many factors come to mind that need to be taken into account, for example, how much money the job brings, how much colleagues are liked, what are the prospects for finding a better job, etc.

Uncertainty can be a trigger for anxiety. Such a decision is not obvious, and it is not clear which choice is the correct one to make. When your brain senses your insecurity, it perceives it as danger and signals it, using anxiety as a warning. He will try to rid you of this supposedly dangerous ambiguity by commanding: "Try to weigh everything and decide!"

To do this, we use various methods - we endlessly analyze the situation (this is anxiety), consult with friends or search for information on an exciting topic on the Internet. In doing these actions, we find encouraging answers to our questions and gain hope that a one hundred percent solution can be found. This reduces our anxiety for a while. Not for long, because anxiety will manifest itself with renewed vigor as soon as we return to thoughts about a situation in which a decision was never made.

This often happens about five seconds after we find encouraging information

The brain says, "This is all great, but how can I be sure?" or "There is no 100% guarantee, let's continue to analyze until we are absolutely convinced!" This starts a new cycle.

What should be done? Look to exposure therapy (a type of cognitive-behavioral approach) that has a strong evidence base for anxiety therapy. This method suggests doing the opposite of short-term avoidance, that is, deliberately meeting with it and doing what makes you anxious in the short term. In this way, your brain is rewired and no longer perceives the need to make a decision as something dangerous, which reduces anxiety in the long term.

The best anxiety therapy in a situation of choice is to make faster decisions

When you need to decide, try to keep your analysis as concise as possible. So much so that it can seem risky. Then make a decision and act, even if you're not sure it's right.

As soon as you do this, and it doesn't lead to anything terrible, your brain knows that the situation of choice is not really dangerous. The next time in a different situation, you will worry a little less. After many repetitions in different circumstances, you will feel lighter and easier, and you will experience less and less anxiety.

It is difficult for us to decide to take the first step for fear of making a mistake and making the wrong decision. If doubts bother you, calculate how much time you have already spent trying to analyze everything in the world before making a decision. This is usually tens, if not hundreds of hours. If you've already spent hundreds of hours pondering your choice, will 101 help you? Will you become more confident? Do you think that a decision made one hundred hours later will be very different from one made one hour later? Or in ten minutes? Unlikely.

Learning to make quicker choices, even if it seems very risky, will make you feel freer. As if they got rid of an incredibly burdensome burden that did not bring any benefit. Even if you feel scared at first, spending less time pondering your choice will make you feel relieved

Try it yourself and see the power of making quick decisions!

  • By Michael Stein
  • Translation by Yana Tsyplakova