Dealing with “Stuckness” – Tips For Making Decisions In Times of Overwhelm

Stuckness, choices and overwhelm

Inevitably at some time in our lives we will experience “stuckness” – the state when we feel overwhelmed by choice. It could be we have to choose between to equally bad choices (the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’) or two equally positive choices. Alternatively we can be swamped by too many choices. It could also be that we need to take action to generate choices. So how do we break out of a state of “stuckness”? Here are some suggestions to help to create a shift.

Dealing With basic survival needs in decision making

We are better equipped to make decisions if we are fed, watered and rested. So making sure you eat healthily when the temptation is to hit the junk food.  Drink some water when you’re more inclined to reach for the coffee. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. A little fresh air such as walk in the park can do wonders to clear the head. Exercises has also been shown to boost cognitive abilities. In short, look after yourself and your body and a clearer mind will follow. All of these are the basic building blocks for dealing with mental fatigue as well a basis for building confidence.

Dealing with unfamiliarity in decision making

Just asking two simple questions can help to create a shift in perspective when faced with choices. It does help if one of your core values is learning. Do you like to try new experiences? Will the choices ahead contribute to your personal or professional development? When experience demands on my time presented as ‘opportunities’ from other people I always asked these questions. Of course, I try to help whenever I can, but sometimes I just need to set my own priorities. This sets me up for the next tool.

Apply the ‘Absolutely Yes’ or ‘No’ Rule

If I’m trying to deal with competing demands on my time I ask the question ‘Do I want/need to do this, ‘absolutely yes’ or ‘no’? If I can’t say ‘absolutely yes’ then it’s automatically ‘no’. Sometimes I need to ask myself ‘am I just saying no because I’m scared or because it’s a challenge or a new experience?’. This helps me to make sure I’m just  saying ‘no’ out of fear. Often the difference between fear and excitement is about perception.This brings me to the next tool.

Which choices best match my core values?

Having a sense of my values helps with decision making. Two of my values are ‘learning’ and ‘making a difference’. Knowing your values can help to eliminate some choices and increase the attractiveness of others. Your values are a statement of ‘what you stand for’ in life. Linking goals and values means that we gain a lot of intrinsic motivation to complete them.

And finally if all else fails. . .

Toss a coin

If you are faced with two equally compelling (or repellent) choices then just toss a coin and try one out. Really commit to the decision and put effort into it to make it work for you.

So there you have a few coaching techniques and a few personal insights to clear a sense of ‘stuckness’.

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