Last updated on: September 22, 2019 ~
Making decisions with anxiety or ADHD is one of the most challenging aspects of life.
If you’re prone to overthink basic decisions in your life, or if you frequently find yourself stuck in extreme analysis paralysis, then this article can help you out tremendously.
But, just as a small warning: I’m the type of person who wants to reach the end game of life without any regrets whatsoever.
So if you’re unapologetically interested in living the best life possible – keep on reading…
The Problem with Making Decisions with Anxiety
One of the most unfortunate aspects of living with anxiety is constantly worrying what other people think about you.
To people with anxiety, worrying what other people think is essentially ingrained in your brain.
You don’t want friends to think you’re weird. You don’t want family members to question your lifestyle. Most of the time, it probably seems like you’re dedicating your life to other people rather than actually living for yourself.
These are all normal problems that people with anxiety and ADHD experience.
The Reality Check You Must Wake Up To
The reality that you need to wake up to is that you have to start making decisions that benefit you over the long-term.
“But ADHD Boss, isn’t it selfish to focus on making decisions that benefit me? What about my friends and family members? What will they think of me?”
Here’s the truth about making decisions with anxiety:
If you don’t look out for your own best interests, then no one else will.
Yes, there is absolutely such a thing as creating win-win situations in life, too. There are many ways to create win-win situations that benefit everyone (yourself, family, friends, the universe). If you read some of Stephen Covey’s books, you can learn all about the importance of creating interdependent relationships and benefiting from win-win situations.
But for the most part, people with anxiety spend far too much time worrying about other people’s needs when they make decisions. This is why people with anxiety and ADHD need to start focusing on making decisions that benefit themselves over the long-term.
Because, it’s healthy to admit that you have needs that must be prioritized. I realized this while reading books like The Way of the Superior Man and No More Mr. Nice Guy (both books are extremely applicable to women just as much as men).
So, start making decisions that benefit your life over the long-term.
Once you start to prioritize your own needs, you’ll ironically put yourself in a much better position to help other people too.
Now that you understand the overall goal of making decisions with anxiety, just keep reading to see my my 5 strategies for making sound decisions with anxiety…
Strategy 1. Always take the more audacious path in life
If you look up the definition of audacity, you’ll find that the term essentially means a willingness to take bold risks.
Now, you might be wondering why I would advise people with anxiety to take more bold risks…
I say this because it’s hard to live life with regrets when you choose a path in life that’s challenging, fulfilling and truly in your own best interest.
If you make an audacious decision, and your decision “fails” for whatever reason, you’ll always know that you at least lived life on your own terms.
If you always play it safe in life, and make decisions that are founded in scarcity, there’s a chance that you will always wonder what could’ve happened if you had lived more boldly.
Remember that resources are abundant in the modern age. While the news media constantly shows signs of doom and gloom, the opposite is actually true.
It’s the news’ job to make you anxious & angry. Underlying scientific, economic, education & conflict trends are positive. Stay optimistic.
– Naval Ravikant
There are no limits as to what you can accomplish today. Remember to think big, and make exciting decisions that work well for you over the span of a lifetime.
Strategy 2. Think long-term
I’ve found that the best way to think long-term is to imagine yourself at 80 years old looking back at the life that you’ve lived.
Yes, you actually need to visualize your 80 year old self to make the most of this mental exercise.
Think about your wrinkly old self. You might not look amazing. But, what kind of life will you have lived? That’s the real question that’s worth pondering.
No matter your current age, you can visualize a new future for yourself right this second, and start making decisions that gradually creep towards the future outcome that you imagine for your life.
Strategy 3. Help yourself first then help other people
Helping yourself first is admittedly very hard for people with anxiety.
But, by making a commitment to make decisions that prioritize your own well-being above all else, you’ll find yourself in a much better position to tackle life’s various other challenges.
I don’t normally recite cliches. But, the old saying about flying on an airplane is a really good one to remember:
If you’re flying on an airplane, and the airplane loses air pressure in the cabin, oxygen masks drop from the ceiling. Then, you’re instructed to put your oxygen mask on first before helping other people with their oxygen masks.
So, this little rule about flying on airplanes applies to all other aspects of life, too.
You have to help yourself before you can help other people. This isn’t about being a jerk. Instead, this is just a healthy rule of life that everyone benefits from.
Strategy 4. Use the Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM) for big decisions
Making a big decision in life can be so overwhelming to the point that it becomes difficult to even figure out how to weigh your various options.
For example, if you’re trying to decide whether you should move across the country, accept a promotion, purchase a home, or make any other major life decision – how are you supposed to know the right decision to make?
Well, the good news is that you can use a Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM) to decide on a path for your future.
The WADM is a simple formula that helps you determine the best option for any decision that you need to make.
I really love using the WADM because it quantifies the decision-making process, rather than forcing you to rely on your emotions to make irrational decisions (which is how humans naturally make decisions).
I recommend using HelpMyDecision to take advantage of a free and easy WADM “decision service” that helps you make clear decisions for your life.
Strategy 5. Trust your gut instinct
At the end of the day, your gut instinct is the most powerful “compass” that you have for navigating the confusing arena of life.
By the way, did you know that the health of your gut can actually influence your decision-making ability?
That’s right. If your gut isn’t healthy, there’s a decent chance that your unhealthy gut is contributing to your anxiety symptoms and clouded judgment.
There’s a powerful connection between your gut and mental health that most people still don’t know about.
This is why I frequently recommend using probiotics as a natural alternative to Xanax and similar anxiety medications.
Take care of your gut, have faith in your instincts, and you’ll rarely go wrong.