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Analysis Paralysis

A lot of people have been reaching out to me lately feeling like they’re stuck in a quagmire of indecision. For some, it’s how to navigate the struggles of a romantic relationship. For others, it’s whether to leave the security of a job that doesn’t bring fulfillment, or how to find one that brings both.

If you are wrestling with uncertainty, take heart. It’s going around.

Where people seem to get stuck is “analysis paralysis”, where their minds spin so rapidly as they try to weigh the possibilities that they can no longer think logically much less make an effective decision. This frantic mental pace can lead to a number of somatic responses like an upset stomach or shaking hands, light-headedness or sleeplessness.

So what do you do when you’re presented with a ton of options and you can’t decide what’s best? Or worse, when it’s a binary option of either yes or no, and you have no way of knowing which option will bring you happiness?

The first step is to manage your body’s needs, to address any physical responses to the stress of indecision that might be affecting you. Ensure that the food you eat is as nourishing as possible, so that your brain gets the nutrients it needs to operate at full capacity. You might limit stimulants like caffeine and sugar, which can trigger an adrenal response and make your body think it’s in fight or flight.

Most importantly, breathe. Long, slow, deep breaths will remind your body that it’s not actually in danger, and will also get your brain the oxygen it needs to flourish.

Then, when you’re feeling calm and relaxed, the options you face will be more clear and not as daunting. You can address each of the possibilities and consider their merit. Maybe list out the pros and cons, or the hopes and fears that are attached. Writing things down so you can look at them in the physical world is really helpful because they’re no longer swirling around your head in the abstract.

But sometimes that’s still not enough to find the right answer. That’s when it’s time to reach out to your support system, like friends, loved ones, or a professional who can talk you through it and help you find the solution you seek.

When clients come to me in that situation I work with them to develop their “inner compass” which is a way to communicate more directly with your psyche (subconscious, higher self) to identify the choices and activities that will bring you happiness that is truly sustainable. If this is something you’d like to learn more about please feel free to reach out, or to read about it in my books.

Sometimes all it takes is knowing that there is a way out of the quagmire of indecision, a way to break the paralysis that has felt crippling. The truth you seek is available to you. Listen. Trust. Breathe. You’ve got this!


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