Decision-Making Anxiety and 5 Steps to Make Decisions Easier

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Orlando Counselor Providing Anxiety Relief

Does making decisions give you anxiety? No matter what you decide to do, you are plagued with internal distress? Do you feel stuck in the mud because none of the choices you make seem to be exactly right? Do you agonize over decisions because you are afraid you’ll make the wrong decision? 

Decision-making anxiety causes folks to feel frozen in fear because they can’t seem to land on what is right or they get downright depressed because the fear of making the wrong decision shuts them down and makes it almost impossible to make a move. 

As an anxiety and trauma therapist in Orlando, I help people that struggle with decision-making anxiety. This is a common theme for people that struggle with anxiety.

Think about how many decisions you make in a day. People who struggle with decision-making anxiety struggle with internal conflict and angst. According to Robert Weselyan College, humans make about 35,000 decisions a day. Granted, most of these decisions are minor, like what to eat or wear, which don’t have a significant impact on your life or the life of others. But, for some of us, making these seemingly small decisions are anxiety provoking. One way I help my clients work with this type of anxiety is to understand that it is a manifestation of an internal conflict within yourself. Let me give you an example.

Last weekend, on Sunday, I needed to get some work stuff done and I wanted to spend time with my family because I was out of town the previous week. This conflict created a bit of anxiety and little bit of “mom guilt.” I forged through the discomfort and asked my husband if he would take our child for a few hours on Sunday so I could get my stuff done. He agreed.

When we talked about his plans, he mentioned taking our little one to see family and spending the day at the pool. While I was happy he was willing to take our kiddo for a few hours, I was conflicted, yet again, because his plans sounded fun. There I was, again, plagued with a bit of anxiousness because now I wanted to spend time with the family and not get the work stuff done. I kept thinking, “seriously, I am damned if I do and I am damned if I don’t.”

If this scenario sounds familiar, and you too, tend to do the Cha Cha Cha with guilt and anxiety, follow the steps below to uncover and untangle what is happening on the inside. Following these 5 steps below will lead you on a pathway out of the internal distress.

1. Breathe and Ground Yourself

First, take a deep breath and feel your feet on the ground. When you have an internal conflict, it creates drama, much like what happens in an argument between two people. But, this type of conflict is occurring internally and feels a lot like anxiety, guilt, indecision, or feeling stuck in the mud. Take a deep breath to take the edge off.

2. Be Curious

First it’s important to understand that we all have parts of our personality that have conflicting goals, drives, desires, impulses, needs, and wants. When you feel conflicted, be curious about the different parts of yourself that are wanting or needing something. And by curiosity, I don’t mean judgement. Part of the guilt we experience comes from an internally judging ourselves some part of the as bad or wrong. When we explore with curiosity, we are open and non-judgemental.

Explore the intentions of each part of yourself that has a stance in the internal conflict. Understanding that we have different parts of our personality that have conflicting goals, conflicting drives, and conflicting desires helps allows the guilt and anxiety to melt away. In my case, I had a Part that wanted to spend time with the family and a Part that wanted to get work done.  

3. Validate the Parts

After you’ve taken the time to understand the perspective of each Part that is showing up in the internal conflict, take a moment to validate the need of each Part. In my case, the desire to be with family is valid and makes sense. Equally, the need to take care of business stuff is valid and important. One is not more valid than the other, both are important to me and my family.

4. Make a Choice

The goal here is to make a choice, out of what is in your best interest, rather than to acquiesce to internal fear, guilt, anxiety, or judgment. Making a choice from this place offers empowerment rather than being a slave to guilt and anxiety. 

If I hadn’t taken the time to explore my inner world and parts, I would of acted out of guilt and spent time with the family out of obligation. Instead, after going inside and validating the parts of me that wanted to do different things, I made a decision from an empowered place. I did in fact choose to spend time with my family, but the choice was because I decided that was more important at the time. 

5. Be Kind to Yourself

After you take time to explore your inner world and validate your Parts, take a moment to be kind to yourself. Since you won’t be able to be two places at one time, take a moment to be kind to the part of yourself that has to wait to get their needs met. 

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to meet the needs of my “family driven Part” and my “work driven Part” at the same time and I was aware that the Part of me that wanted to get some work done was going to feel uneasy not attending to work stuff, so I kindly let that Part know that I would make time during the week to get the tasks done.

Decision-making doesn’t have to be as anxiety provoking as you think, once you break it down into easy steps by breathing and grounding yourself, being curious, validating the different parts of you that are at conflict, by making a choice, and being kind to yourself. Next decision you have to make, try this method out and let us know how it helped you! 

Want to learn more about anxiety counseling in Orlando?

Visit my anxiety counseling page or my trauma counseling page.

Or you can send me a message here.

Want to read more on calming anxiety?

Anxiety? Use this Quick Tool to Tame the Runaway Train

Guided Mediation for Anxiety: The Container

Tools for Anxiety: Know your Body, Emotions, and Thoughts

Anxiety Much? Mindfulness to the Rescue

Discerning the Difference between Danger and Discomfort [a tool to calm anxiety]

Lauran is an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counselng in Orlando, FL. She also specializes in helping people heal old broken relationship patterns that keep them from finding, creating, and keeping healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. Lauran uses a down to earth approach infused with cutting-edge therapies that go beyond traditional talking to help clients feel calm in their body and mind and find peace within themselves. Please visit my free Guided Meditations to help you feel settled and calm now.