Anxiety and Decision Making

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A recent study has shown that people who have anxiety – which is a lot of those of us with ADHD – can also have difficulty making decisions, especially when you are anxious.

As I understand it, when you are anxious, it triggers neurons in your brain that block other neurons from being able to choose between two or more things, thus blocking your ability to make a decision.

The good news is now that scientists have uncovered this fact, they can work on better and more effective treatments for anxiety.

Until that happens, here are some tips for managing your anxiety and making better decisions.

    First, realize that if you’re anxious, you’re going to have a hard time making a decision. You might want to hold off on anything important until you can calm down.

    If that’s not possible, you may want to get the opinion of one or two people that you trust. Remember, though, that all you are seeking is an opinion; listen to it and make your own decision.

    Allowing others to make decisions for you gives them control over your life and gives you an excuse to blame someone else if things go wrong. Don’t let that happen; take control. It’s OK to make mistakes.

    Arm yourself with whatever information you need to decide. Set limits, however. Endlessly seeking more and more information is avoiding having to make a decision.

    Keep things in perspective. You are most likely not making life or death decisions. Jump out there and commit one way or another.

    Remember that there is an eraser on your pencil and a delete button on your computer. Very few things are written in stone. If you see that you’ve made a poor decision, learn from it and take steps to correct it.

    Stop trying to be perfect. No one is.

    Realize that procrastination is a way to avoid making a decision. You feel less than confident in your ability to make a wise decision and so you put it off.

    Learn coping techniques for your anxiety. Try deep breathing exercises, a little meditation, or even a distraction. Pop a strong tasting mint in your mouth, or carry some oil of peppermint or other essential oil with a scent that will wake you up. Step away from the situation for a wile, with a definite plan to revisit within 24 hours.

    Finally, keep track of your successes. Think back to when you made a good decision, even if it was only what to have for lunch. Start collecting your successes and you will see that you really can make a decision, and a smart one at that!

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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