How To Stop Fear & Anxiety From Clouding Decision Making In Times Of Crisis

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How To Stop Fear & Anxiety From Clouding Decision Making In Times Of Crisis

The pandemic of COVID-19 has stirred hysteria. Driven by fear and frenzy, it’s a time when you're confronted with making challenging decisions and too often… you follow suit observing others.

This is a metaphor for how fear guides you in many other areas of your life. Maybe in your love and relationships, or your work. Maybe with your kids. Maybe it’s just within your whole life.

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Fear is a form of self-sabotage that is often at the root of unhappiness, confusion, and anxiety.

The methods by which you make decisions can either wreak havoc on your life or move you forward in a positive direction creating happiness and peace.

Is your inner negative self-talk in the driver’s seat?

Your mind is your best friend, but it’s also your worst enemy. If you find yourself in doubt when making decisions, it’s important to be able to separate out the negative self-talk (your inner judge) from your inner wisdom.

When you aren’t clear on what you want, it’s easy to be pulled in many directions and get lost in the rabbit hole of indecision.

At some point, if you don’t make up your mind, someone else will make it up for you. Your inner judge may be the first, then comes secondary internal saboteurs, and then maybe society, family, or well-meaning friends.

These include decisions around your romantic life, financial life, social life, parenting, health and fitness, life vision, who and what to believe, how to vote… The list is endless.

Being in a crossroads of indecision will lead to feeling confused, anxious, disappointed, stressed, or angry. And when you are in that state, it’s a sure sign your inner judge's perspective is in control — especially in a time of crisis

It’s easy to get stuck when trying to make the right decision.

Before you go into a shame spiral, remember if you find yourself stuck or aren’t where you want to be at this point in your life, it’s probably not your fault.

And in the context of what’s going on now in the world, making a decision can induce paralyzing anxiety.

Identifying your values is key.

If you're unclear on what you want and how to proceed in these turbulent times, the best place to start is with identifying what your values are.

Without having a strong sense of what you value, you may unintentionally make a decision that goes against your value system that you don’t even know exists.

The concept of values can sound cliché, but they are your roadmap. Once you know them, it can often feel like having an “aha” moment — and making decisions becomes crystal clear.

If you find it hard to make a decision, try some of the following suggestions to rediscover and reevaluate your values:

  • How do you identify spiritually?
  • What aspects of life are non-negotiable?
  • What aspects are your must-haves?
  • What are your top-five necessary lifestyle requirements?
  • Do you work to live or live to work?
  • If you had a whole day to yourself and unlimited money, what would you do?

Make sure your list is about the values you currently have — don't include aspirational values. 

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While making a decision becomes tricky, falling back on your values can make all of the difference.

You may wonder how come you didn’t have this list before. 

Making decisions, especially tough ones, takes energy.

It’s hard to make decisions at times because of the energy it drains from your body and spirit.

There is something called "decision fatigue," or "decision burnout."

When you find yourself at that fork in the road and unsure too many times during the day, even if it’s about something as simple as ordering a meal at a restaurant, you exhaust yourself.

All of that back-and-forth, around and around in your head takes more out of you than just moving forward.

What causes decision fatigue?

Decision fatigue is caused by being forced to make too many decisions over a fixed period of time.

On a daily basis, your mental energy can become drained, from the effort spent weighing all the various positives, negatives, and trade-offs on what outcome you choose.

Once your mental energy is depleted, it’s even harder to think straight.

It’s not uncommon for people with decision fatigue to end up taking the path of least resistance or even go into “shutdown” mode.

This results in no or poor choices and an accelerated sense of anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and anger, all reinforcing that stuck or stalled place which is really frustrating.

Here are 3 tips to avoid decision fatigue — especially when making big decisions.

1. Listen to your heart.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of logical reasoning.

There's a time and place to prioritize logic. When it comes to making a decision, listening to your heart or your gut is the best way to make decisions based on what you truly want.

Making decisions based on what society wants or what logical reasoning tells you is usually correlated with what someone else wants.

The more you follow your heart, the easier it gets. Your intuition works the same way. The more often you follow it, the more often It speaks to you.

When you're in a flow of being connected to your higher guidance, you don’t have to worry about doing anything external to figure out what choice to make — because you’ll know you can always go within.

2. Sleep on it.

It’s common to “sleep on it” when being tasked to make a decision. This speaks to the significance of stepping away from stimulus and giving yourself some space to breathe and connect to your higher guidance.

Take a run, go to yoga, or create literal space in your home by cleaning and decluttering.

Having a clear space and clear mind helps you make decisions from a grounded state of mind, allowing you to choose what you want instead of choosing at random from panic.

3. Lead from a calm place.

If you take the proper steps to make a decision and feel confident that the decision came from the right place, then you won’t have to worry about second-guessing your decision.

When you make a decision at random or under pressure, there's a much greater likelihood you'll second-guess yourself.

When you're crystal clear about your choice, you can avoid expending more time and energy reversing the choice and making a new one.

While you move through the pandemic deciphering so much unknown, making efficient decisions from a calm place is crucial.

The better able you're to make decisions at this time, the easier it will be to hang in there until this passes.

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Jacqueline Neuwirth is a Certified Life Coach, CPCC, and Master Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner. She helps people find love, heal from toxic relationships, boost confidence, and improve relationships.

This article was originally published at Jacquelline Neuwirth. Reprinted with permission from the author.