We make decisions for ourselves every day of our life. Sometimes they are mundane, like “What’s for breakfast?” and other times they are extraordinary, like “What career path do I take?” There are times when these decisions seem easy, and other times when they feel like the weight of the world. I work with many clients that struggle with anxiety and other mental health disorders that seem to make decision-making even more difficult. I have included some tips below that I have compiled after my work with clients that aim to make decision-making easier or, at least, less stress-inducing.
1. Rank your issue: You can rate your decision on a scale from 1 to 10 on importance level. What you decide to eat for breakfast may be on the 1 or 2 level of importance, and therefore it makes sense to spend less time on making that decision. However, if it is an 8-10 level of importance, it is okay if you take longer to make the decision. Now, this does not mean you can take 4 weeks to make the decision if it is not warranted. Give yourself a realistic timeline to think about it or make your pro/con list. This is mainly to help you put your dilemma into context.
2. Determine your end goal: What do you want your outcome to be? Is it more important for you to get a certain result or just make any decision? It is also important to factor in what values are most important to you as well in this process. This will help you stay true to yourself and keep your eyes on the prize. You will be more likely to get the result you want.
3. No rushing: Unless your decision is due tomorrow, you are allowed to sleep on it. Often our anxiety and stress can cause us to feel rushed or hurry into a decision when it is not necessary. We can make more rational decisions when we are well-rested and get some space from any intrusive thoughts. You may have a more clear-mind and more energy to take on the problem.
4. Picture yourself deciding: Sometimes just picturing yourself deciding in one direction can immediately make you realize which decision is best for you. Close your eyes and walk yourself through the scenario, including what resources or support you will need. It may not be the easiest path, but you have already helped yourself imagine how you can get through it.
5. Confide in one trustworthy person: It may not be beneficial for you to get 10 different opinions as it may cause more stress for you. Find one person that is trustworthy and slightly separated from the issue at hand. They may have a perspective you do not have or offer a point that is important to you to include in your process