Written by Vandana Brahmasa under Dr. Anu Goel for merinews.com – 5 June, 2013
People may be indecisive for various reasons, but when the inability to make decisions becomes persistent, it can lead to negative life experiences or be indicative of an underlying mental health problem.
One common reason for indecisiveness is the need for certainty – the need for being one hundred percent sure of the correctness or accuracy of the decision. While this desire for certainty is laudable in various situations, it has the potential for becoming an irrational obsession which triggers excessive worrying. One can also trace the root of indecisiveness to lack of self-trust and self-confidence. Lacking the confidence for making the right decision poses as a deterrent to decision making, and more often than not, leads to no decision being made at all. Avoidance tactics like procrastination are frequently employed by indecisive people.
Rather than possessing a set of symptoms itself, indecisiveness may be considered as a symptom of underlying psychological conditions such as depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One of the most important things to remember while experiencing difficulty in decision making is the negative impact of perfectionism.
In our quest to get things absolutely right, we end up taking a lot of stress and inordinate amount of worry. Not only does the need for perfection complicate even simple decisions, it tends to leave the person dissatisfied and worried about the validity of the decision. Also important is ‘trusting your gut’. In the face of multiple choices and options, one tends to feel overwhelmed which affects the ability to make decisions. In such a situation, one might consider trusting the gut feeling or instinct. Neurologist Antonio Demasio (1980) discovered that emotions too play a vital role in decision making.
Sometimes making smaller, less important decisions can equip one with the necessary confidence to tackle larger, more important decisions. As cognitive-behavior therapist Nando Pelusi suggests, it is important to slowly progress to decisions requiring greater risks.