Today’s Solutions: January 21, 2022

Decision making can be tough, especially when the world around us is feeling rather uncertain. Whether it’s what to do about a tough situation at work or what to order at a restaurant, if you find your anxiety standing in the way of decision making, we have solutions for you. Here are three strategies for overcoming anxiety and making confident decisions.

  1. The happiness test. This strategy is great for small-scale decision making. When it comes to small choices like what to eat, which outfit to wear, what movie to watch, the outcome may be exactly what you want, or you may end up disappointed, but in the long run, it will not have a lasting influence on your personal happiness. Chances are you won’t even remember what you wore to the interview that landed you your dream job. Think about the decision at hand and think about whether the choice you make will legitimately influence you in a week or a month. Putting the scale of the decision in perspective will help you feel more secure about your choice. 
  2. The only option choice. So what happens if the choice has the ability to affect your happiness a month or even a year down the road? Then we move on to option two: the only option choice. In this scenario, look at all your choices and consider what would happen if each one was your only choice. What if this were the only college I was accepted to? What if this was the only place I could go on vacation? If the given option were the only option, would you be happy? Excluding other variables and looking at each option one at a time can help you decipher how you really feel about a decision. 
  3. The cost of quitting. No, we’re not suggesting giving up and ignoring the decision at hand, we’re talking about looking at your opportunity costs. If you went with decision “A,” what would you be giving up in decision “B”? This means analyzing what you would be sacrificing with one choice or another and comparing the two scenarios. It also means remembering that most decisions are not entirely final. Even if you decide on one apartment to rent, your one year lease gives you the opportunity to look for another in 12 months if things aren’t working out. If you made the decision right now, what would happen if it ended up being the wrong choice? Narrowing down your backup options can help make the decision at hand less intimidating. 

We’ve all faced anxiety roadblocks when making decisions. If you’re struggling with indecision, use these strategies to think about your options more pragmatically and remember that we all take some wrong turns in life, but making no turns at all will never get you to your destination.

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