Some people place a high value on thinking things out carefully before making a decision.
And these people analyze so much that they get paralyzed by it. Why not just individuals but also groups, committees, and teams get sick.
Many factors contribute to this problem, including people who are ill-equipped to handle the challenge at hand and those who are insatiably curious despite knowing full well that perfect information just does not exist.
If that were the case, the lowest-level employee would have looked up the applicable policies and procedures instead of passing the buck to the next level up.
Some people are paralyzed by all the available choices because they can only imagine the worst-case scenarios and give up before making a decision. Some of them aren’t cut out to be leaders because they have trouble with ambiguity and uncertainty.
Who among us has not been part of a group that debated a problem indefinitely without ever settling on a solution?
Is there a way to combat overthinking and move forward?
Rather than relying solely on the results of your analysis, put more faith in the decision-making procedure itself. Get some space between yourself and the issue at hand, and look at it from afar before returning to it.
Most people spend their time thinking about their options before making a decision, especially if it’s a big one. This is to be expected.
But what if the scales don’t seem to balance when you try to determine the best course of action? As a result of overanalyzing the available options, you wind up making no choice at all.
Is it a familiar tune? Analysis paralysis is a term for this state of overthinking.
If you suffer from analysis paralysis, you may spend an inordinate amount of time considering your options.
This occurs even when making choices as seemingly insignificant as which microwave to buy or which cake to buy at the bakery.
Fear of making the wrong choice persists even after weighing the benefits and drawbacks of major options, such as whether to accept a job offer.
You get yourself in a never-ending cycle of “what if this, what if that” thoughts until you feel too overwhelmed to make a decision.
The tension caused by analysis paralysis is real. However, the 10 suggestions provided below can assist you in controlling this way of thinking and putting an end to the cycle of constant overanalysis.
It’s wise to weigh the consequences of major decisions before making them.
Is it possible to distinguish between sound decision making and paralysis by analysis?
It’s natural to feel confused when confronted with so many potential solutions and asked to pick the best one.
If you think all of your choices are good, weighing them all equally can make it impossible to choose.
If you struggle to make decisions, it can assist to examine why that is.
Did you make a choice in the past that turned out poorly? Because of the impact of that experience, you may have problems putting your faith in your own judgment at this juncture.
Perhaps you’re concerned that people will look down on you because of the decisions you make.
You may also be concerned that making the “wrong” choice would damage your career or personal connections. (Deciding on something that will have an impact on other people can feel especially daunting.)
On occasion, everyone struggles with making a choice.
But if you’re trapped doing extensive research and analysis before making even the smallest choice, then understanding why this happens is the first step toward breaking the cycle.
If you have trouble settling on a course of action without a lot of thought, try deciding things without giving yourself much time to process them.
While the prospect of doing so may strike fear into your heart at first, with practice it will become second nature.
You should “test your ability to make quick decisions in small ways,” as Botnick suggests. Specifically, consider the following examples:
Do not consult Yelp or other rating sites while deciding where to eat tonight.
Don’t try to persuade yourself out of buying the name-brand cereal when you really want it.
Go for a stroll without any particular destination in mind. Put your trust in your feet.
Instead than spending an hour deliberating what to watch on Netflix, just pick the first show that interests you.
In other words, “you might feel some anxiety, but allow it to flow through you,” as Botnick advises. To paraphrase, “let yourself play with the idea that quick, decisive actions with small consequences might have fun, even revelatory results.”
Making a lot of little judgments can make you feel more confident making the big ones.
Sometimes it seems like more time is needed to think of the proper solution. However, it is possible to do injury by thinking too much.
Analysis paralysis, as Botnick explains it, “can affect the nervous system and increase overall anxiety,” which in turn can cause symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress, high blood pressure, or panic attacks.
If you spend a lot of time thinking about choices, you could find it difficult to concentrate on other things, including schoolwork, work, or even your personal life.
Putting time constraints on your decision-making process can be an effective strategy. Give yourself a week to make up your mind, and schedule some time for reflection every day.
Take use of the downtime to think carefully about your choice; for example, you may make a list of the benefits and drawbacks, conduct research, etc. Once your allotted time is gone (let’s say 30 minutes), you should move on.
Who is the one person who knows you the most intimately?
If you’ve made some choices in the past with mixed results, you can start to question your judgment and worry that everything you do will turn out badly.
To the extent that you can, try to let go of your worries and go on. Instead, you should contemplate how those choices shaped you as a person.
You shouldn’t think of this fresh choice as yet another chance for disappointment. Consider it a chance to discover new things about who you are.
Increase your assurance through…
Motivating yourself with positive self-talk by recalling previous choices that worked out well and reminding yourself that it’s OK to make blunders.
While some people find it natural to follow their gut, others struggle with this. Though, if you give them the chance, your “gut feelings” can lead you to success.
As a rule, instincts have more to do with one’s personal history and feelings than with any kind of logical reasoning.
If you’re the kind to weigh all of your options and pick the best one based on facts and logic, you might be wary of allowing your emotions to take the reins on a major life choice.
Especially when it comes to health and money, decisions should be based on evidence.
Personal considerations, such as whether or not to continue dating someone or where to settle down, require a moment of reflection as well.
It’s important to put some stock in the information provided by your emotions because they are specific to you and the scenario at hand.
Botnick states that there are two primary components to the acceptance process when it comes to analysis paralysis.
The first step is to just sit with the pain. Your brain is demanding that you keep thinking and analyzing, yet this is draining.
Continuing in this line of thinking will only result in increased stress and anxiety.
Give up the search for the “right” solution and accept that you don’t know what it is.
Let’s say you and your significant other are having trouble settling on a romantic setting for your anniversary date. Always keep in mind that there is more than one great setting, but only one ideal one.
Then, despite your discomfort, spend 1 minute picking a spot among the ones you’ve considered.
There! It’s over now.
Here comes the hard part: recognizing your own toughness. It’s alright if your date doesn’t go well and the venue you picked has some issues.
You’ll get over it, and who knows, maybe it’ll even make for a funny story.
Quite often, there will be more than one reasonable course of action available when making a necessary choice in life.
The reality of life is that once you’ve made a decision, you’ll never know how things might have turned out had you made a different one. Uncertainty abounds.
It’s impossible to account for every probable scenario in advance. You can’t learn everything you need to know about what you need right now no matter how much time you spend researching.
There is no way to know the outcome of a decision, and that can be very unsettling. That’s why it’s so crucial to follow your gut and employ other reliable methods of decision making.
Botnick says one symptom of analysis paralysis is ruminating, or turning over and over the same thoughts.
However, this excessive pondering rarely yields any useful insights.
The inability to make a decision, or “paralysis,” is the result of excessively considering options when already feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Although your mind is telling you to “keep thinking,” you should do the exact opposite.
Find something to take your mind off of things and relax you so that you can step back from the situation.
If you want to put off making a choice for a time, distracting yourself with a mental workout could help.
Indulge in an excellent book
Physical activity, yoga or meditation, or simply spending time with loved ones are all great ways to divert your attention from your anxiety.
Maintaining a regular mindfulness practice can help you combat overthinking by teaching you to notice and accept ideas that are distracting or upsetting without judging or rejecting yourself.
Botnick says that anxiousness is the typical cause of analysis paralysis.
It can set you out on a downward spiral of anxious thinking that’s difficult to break on your own.
A therapist can aid you if you’re having trouble breaking the habit of excessive thinking by:
find the root of the problem
Make a move to alter this habit and deal with the stress and depression that contribute to it.
If your indecision is having a negative impact on your relationships, career, or general happiness, it’s time to seek expert help.
Nothing wrong with considering alternatives before settling on a course of action.
However, it can be helpful to examine the causes of your hesitation if you find yourself stuck by it on a regular basis.
Try pushing yourself to be more spontaneous when you’re in a pinch for a decision. Select the course of action that makes the most sense to you and stick to it.
Keep in mind that if one course of action doesn’t yield the desired results, there are plenty of others to explore.