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Anxiety and Decision Making: Strategies for Overcoming Indecision

What Is The Relationship Between Anxiety and Decision Making?


Decisions decisions… being faced with decisions can stir up anxiety, and anxiety can make it difficult to make decisions. It’s a lose-lose situation either way. The relationship between decision-making and anxiety works both ways. 

Having to make even a simple decision can leave you in a paralysed state, cause excess stress and create physical uncomfortableness in your body. The culprit is usually anxiety. It is safe to say that everybody’s anxiety has a different personality and different characteristics, and most definitely can be the cause of your indecisiveness. Being self-aware of this direct link between anxiety and making decisions is the initial step to moving forward and treating anxiety.

The way anxiety works is that it is your brain’s way of perceiving a potential threat. So, when presented with a decision to make, anxiety pushes for you to make the safest choice. Anxiety decreases activity in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC), which is the part of the brain responsible for processing thoughts and decision-making. 


Advice On The Symptoms Of Anxiety Caused By Decision Making


Anxiety can cause various symptoms, especially when it comes to making decisions. It can cause you to make quick choices without considering all the information to avoid the anxiety or hinder your ability to decide. 

There are plenty of reasons our decisions can cause anxiety.

Fear of making the wrong choice: What if I make the wrong choice? The pressure to make the “right” choice can feel overwhelming, and you might feel anxious about making decisions that could lead to negative outcomes or regret. 

Feeling overwhelmed by choices: Having a wide variety of choices sounds like a dream, right? Well for people with anxiety it very well can be their worst nightmare. The sheer number of options available can lead to decision fatigue and anxiety about making the best decision among other countless possibilities. 

Lack of confidence: Low self-esteem or confidence can cause you to undermine or second guess your ability to make decisions confidently. Doubting your own judgment or feeling inadequate can increase anxiety and make decision-making more challenging.

Fear of disappointing others: The pressure to want to have everybody like you and like the decisions you make can influence your decisions to be based off what you believe other people will like, known as ‘people pleasing.’ The fear of other people’s opinions of your decisions creates anxiety and conflict in your own mind because you are putting other people before yourself.

An overload of anxiety can impact your potential to make any decision, resulting in avoidance of the decision itself. Imagine standing in the middle of a train station, and you can either get on the train to the left of you or to the right of you. Being faced with such a decision causes you so much anxiety that you end up standing still whilst both trains leave the station. You’ve missed your train. Now, not deciding at all has also resulted in even more anxiety—a lose-lose-lose situation. 


This strenuous relationship between anxiety and decision-making can negatively affect your day-to-day life.


How Anxiety Counselling Can Support You With Strategies For Managing Your Anxiety.


Anxiety is one of the most common reasons people seek counselling. Working with a therapist can help you overcome anxiety through different therapeutic methods. 

  • Private anxiety therapy can provide you with the tools for building confidence in your decision-making.
  • Seeking private help for anxiety can reduce your stress levels.
  • A calmer mind can process information with more clarity and can enhance your decision-making abilities. 

With private anxiety counselling, you will receive personalised support in a safe setting where you can openly explore and work on your anxiety. With anxiety counselling, a trained therapist works with clients on developing effective coping strategies that are suited to their needs. 

There is flexibility around scheduling appointments, giving you timely access to care and a wide range of therapeutic treatments available, allowing you to find an approach that works well for you. A supportive and non-judgemental environment is created so individuals can gain valuable insights into their thought patterns, build resilience, work to experience relief from their anxiety symptoms and look deeper into their feelings about making decisions. 


What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?


Cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety is used by counsellors to help people understand where the anxiety is coming from and what the cause is. 

The aim is to help you understand your negative thoughts and feelings by rationalising them. With the therapist, you will learn how to change these negative thought patterns so you can apply these changes in your daily life, which in turn will reduce your anxiety and improve your decision-making. 




Mindfulness can be really beneficial in helping to ease anxiety by teaching you to be fully present in the moment.

This allows you to observe your anxious thoughts but also reduce them by focusing on the present sensations and the environment around you. 

Therapists will help you practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation and deep breathing, which can better control your physiological responses to stress, thereby reducing the intensity of your anxiety symptoms.

If you would like to enquire about a qualified therapist for stress and anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact My Solution Well-being. One of our experienced anxiety counsellors will gladly assist you and answer any questions. 

Written By Ria Kaur 



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By MSWB Team on 22/03/2024 in Resources

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