Have you ever thought about the cost of NOT making a decision?
I don’t mean the cost in dollars (although that may matter a lot).
I’m talking about all the mental energy and angst we cause ourselves when we don’t make a decision.
How much are all those unmade decisions adding to our overwhelm?
I have a friend who does not like to make decisions. She will hem and haw about what vacuum cleaner to buy for months. She’ll spend hours on the internet researching, not make a decision, forget about the research she did last time, repeat the research, and still not make a purchase.
This is over a vacuum cleaner! It’s just not worth the time and mental gymnastics!
Indecisiveness can be annoying and time consuming.
Making decisions is part of the executive function carried out by the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The ability to make decisions means that you must be able to see into the future, as well, because you need to see the implications of each course of action you might follow.
Low emotional stability can clearly impact a person’ overall ability to make decisions, because you’re constantly anxious about making mistakes and always questioning yourself.
Considering we make hundreds of decisions a day, that’s a lot of mental turmoil!
There is even a fear of making decisions called decidophobia!
So how do we end the angst, make the decisions and then move on?
These six tips come from an article in the Huffington Post and are geared to making more rational (i.e. less emotional) decisions:
Think of yourself as a fly on the wall. Remove yourself from he situation and think of yourself as an outside observer
Stay in the present and cut your losses. This helps avoid making bad decisions based on the time and energy you’re already put into something.
Think in another language. Obviously not for everyone, but it removes a lot of the emotional connection you might have when you think in your native tongue.
Cultivate your emotional intelligence. This helps keep emotions from influencing unrelated decisions, both anxiety and stress (negative emotions) and excitement (positive).
Consider your environment. Turns out bright lights amplify emotions, so turn them down or off.
Take a moment. Just a fraction of a second enables the brain to focus on the most relevant information.
It’s nice to think we can make all rational decisions, but unrealistic in some cases. Lack of emotional intelligence may be the strongest factor in causing you to be stuck on even small decisions. Psychology Today offers up these 5 Ways to Get Out of the Indecisiveness Trap:
Understand your own emotions and your strengths and weaknesses. Communicate to others how you are feeling.
Be aware of the feelings of others and how you can maintain good relationships
Be adaptable so you can cope flexibly with everyday problems
Manage your stress so you can cope with stressful situations while controlling your emotions
Be generally optimistic in your outlook