Health & Fitness

Reboot your mindset: combat decision paralysis with these small steps

When making simple everyday decisions, do you end up stressed, exhausted and second-guessing yourself? You're not just wishy-washy - there's a reason for the anxiety

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There are indecisive people who mull over what to have for lunch, and then there's decision paralysis - the complete lack of ability to decide. Take for instance finding the sheer number of food choices around your office so overwhelming that you end up driving back home for the tried-and-tested in your neighbourhood. Maybe you get that anxious when making simple, everyday decisions. Maybe you're sick and tired of wasting all your energy on this. Chill - here's how you can take action: 


1. Start a journal

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"Write down your thought process and what you're feeling as you struggle with making decisions," says Camille Ko, a counsellor trained in cognitive behavioural therapy. "From there, you can establish patterns that help you find out what could be the root of the issue that's causing you anxiety." Some decisions will always cause more stress than others, so seeing your thoughts in black and white will help you identify your triggers. 


2. Try something new 

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Lose the security blanket of sticking to your usual options. "People who are anxious tend to be more rigid, because they fear stepping out of their comfort zone and making the wrong decision," says Vyda S. Chai, a clinical psychologist at Think Psychological Services. "Challenge yourself by trying one new thing a week, and keep practicing." This will help recalibrate your fear of the unknown. 


3. Download mindfulness apps

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When your anxiety becomes overwhelming, you don't realise how disproportionate it is. Staying mindful reminds you to think of what actually matters, and to look at what benefits you. Meditative apps such as Calm can guide you through mindfulness exercises. 


4. Add structure to your day 

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You might find that you don't have as many problems making decisions when you follow a system of processes that guide you. Like at work! Enforcing structure or a series of steps can help ease the strain when your mind is too crowded with options. 


This story was originally published in September 2018 issue of Her World.