How many choices do you make each day or each week? Probably several hundred, maybe a thousand. Some important and some less important. There are choices we want to make with never being chosen because of ambivalence and because of the fear of the consequences of choosing. This can lead to extremely unnecessary stress and make you significantly less efficient. There is an art of choosing.
Why is it so difficult to make a choice?
Decision anxiety is a natural reaction when the choices are big or have major consequences for our lives. It becomes a kind of warning signal. But as decisions become more affecting, everyday decision anxiety affects more and more. We are stressed that we do not have time to get into all the new info that completely crashes over us.
A study in ambivalence
There has been a study showing our behavior, when we get too many choices of something.
A table with tastings of marmalade was exhibited in a grocery store to look at how many customers stopped by to sample and how many who also chose to buy jam with them.
We first presented 24 different flavors of jam and on the second occasion only 6 flavors.
It turned out that more people stopped at the table when there were 24 different varieties. In fact, just over 60% The corresponding figure, when there were 6 varieties was about 40%.
That sounds good, doesn’t it? The thing is, when the buying behavior was measured. Hold the hat now. When 24 varieties were presented, only 3% of people bought and when it was exhibited only 6 varieties increased sales to 30% !?
We are programmed to take the easiest route here in life. Everything to save energy and to survive.
Decision making takes place in two different parts of the brain. Partly in the reptile brain, which has the task of responding quickly to external threats, whether it is a lion or a colleague. When the reptile brain has a grip on us, we do not make the most considered decisions we can. We choose the solution that gives the fastest reward.
We also choose with our emotions. We are governed by fears, but also by rewards. We want to increase enjoyment as much as possible and minimize discomfort. The other part we use when making decisions is the boiler room. It’s the smartest part of the brain. Instead of reacting instinctively, it helps us reflect on what we intend to do. When we use the forehead lobby, we can put things into perspective, by looking back on our past experiences and directly comparing them to the situation we are in when making our decisions, and can then also consider what the consequences of our intended decision will be.
Learn to choose which decisions are important and which are not
Trying to avoid the decisions that are not necessary is a way to cure decision anxiety, but not all decisions can be skipped. Sometimes you still have to make the choice, even though it feels tough. You have to pay your bills, although you may rather want to buy something that you have long wanted and then you may end up in conflict with what is most important, even though you know that paying the rent is more important than that thing.
As long as you let this happen, the decision anxiety becomes a suffering. It shows up as soon as you have to choose something, even when the decisions are small, the anxiety comes as an automatic reaction.
Trying to avoid the decisions that are not necessary is a way to cure decision anxiety, but not all decisions can be skipped. Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns, even if the gut feeling does not agree.
Therefore, start small
- If you often end up in decision anxiety, you have to practice making decisions even when it does not feel good. The problematic decision anxiety is all about it – that whatever you choose, it feels wrong. Start with the small choices, after a while.
- If you often end up in decision anxiety, you have to practice making decisions even when it does not feel good. The problematic decision anxiety is all about it – that whatever you choose, it feels wrong. Start with the small choices, after a while you will get used to your emotions and start to trust your decisions.
- Limit your choices. Choose the most important choices for the day and select a maximum of three and ignore the rest.
- Decide a time! Set a deadline for when the decision must be made. After that, you will live with the choice you have made without thinking back on what you could have done differently. It may feel tough at first, but soon you will notice that the anxiety is dropping.
- Skip your gut feeling! Decision anxiety is just that, the gut feeling tells you and it doesn’t feel good no matter what decision you make. Exercise to make decisions no matter what your stomach tells you to do.
- How did it last? Look back at your previous decisions. A decision that you know you did well What was it that made that particular decision successful?
- Stick to your decisions! It is a good way to relieve anxiety in the long run. Sometimes you have to worry and live with the anxiety.
- Choose your battles! If you didn’t plan on changing car or home insurance until you saw an advertisement in the newspaper or on the internet for other options. Stop letting yourself be controlled by external influences.
- Call a friend! Talk through and make your decision with a friend. Talk to several if you must, but remember that these are just advisors. Listen and then make the decision on your own.
Now you know how to deal with your decision anxiety
Hopefully you now know more about how we humans work in decision-making situations and realize that knowing about this phenomenon, facilitates your life and provides you with energy and allows you to produce more with better focus and with more energy.
Take this advice and give them a humble chance. Maybe you win something to try.
If you want to comment on any of the above, you are very welcome to do so. I am grateful for all input. Positive as negative.