How Anxiety Affects Decision Making? – Anxiety and Decision Making

Have you ever felt your thoughts getting mixed up and your heart racing like anything?  Is someone whom you have a crush on? Are you sure? Or it’s the anxiety you are having?

It might be possible you might be having “Anxiety. Most people ignore e for a long time, and it directly affects people’s mental health. Everyone experiences anxiety at some time in their life. Anxiety about your career, your family, your friends, your relationship, or anything which is connected with you. Anxiety makes it quite difficult for someone to make hard and valuable decisions.

So first, let’s understand what anxiety actually is? 

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease; the body’s natural response to stress, such as worry or fear, can be mild or severe. Anxiety is a feeling of fear about future events. On the first day of school, giving a speech, the first date, exam, going to a job interview may cause most people to feel fearful and nervous.

Anxiety and Decision Making – fear of future events

Anxiety is a word used to describe some dread that you feel upon thinking of a threat or a thought of things going upside down for you in the future.

Anxiety usually precedes a decision; thoughts of its impact on your life, whether negative or positive, comes to mind. If the decisions are wrong, things are going to get hard. And when the decisions are right, it turns out that you have been worrying for no reason.

How Anxiety Affects Decision Making?
When you have a lot of anxiety, you actually have trouble making decisions. Based on medicine research, Anxiety Disrupts the Decision-Making Regions of the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC). Then people can have deficits in emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility, and the control of behavior.

You may experience anxiety for a short period of time, but it also may be there for longer and can get you stuck with it. There are rare cases where it can take control of your life, a bad influence on your ability to eat and sleep, concentrate, and the way you live your life. This may become an obstacle and stop you from making necessary decisions and actions and affect your mental and physical health.

Most of the time, in anxiety, we try to avoid situations. And breaking the cycle of avoiding things can be hard.

As I said earlier, anxiety may result in irregular and fast thumping of your heart, uncontrolled breathing, feeling frozen to the spot, dizziness, heavy perspiration, and lack of focus and attention to work on anything at all.

These things happen because our body senses fear and send blood to our muscles, increase sugar in the blood, and enhance the ability to focus on the situation. That is how your body responds to an emergency identified as a possible threat by your mind. 

Some people also call this a panic attack

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Things affecting your decision making in anxiety

1 ) Considering too few options vs. overthinking.

According to research, 80% of people in the USA are suffering from anxiety and complained that they are having difficulty making decisions. Anxiety plays a major role in decision making. It affects the ability to make a good decision.

For example, a person with anxiety is unhappy in their job and is thinking of quitting. But when It comes to quitting the job, he has to weigh many factors, such as how he will make money after that, pay the bills and make it for a living, where will he find the new job. All these factors give one anxiety and make them questions their decision.

While making small decisions, some people find themselves going through many options to pursue the best one. On the contrary, while making major decisions, your anxiety might overwhelm you to such an extent that you find yourself doubting a decision unceasingly. Still, you are too confused emotionally to carefully evaluate the options at hand. For example, you want to look for the best college to pursue a graduate degree, and you have been thinking about it at length, but you don’t put your thoughts into action. And while actually looking at them, you might find yourself looking at a lot lesser options to choose from because you started late. The issue with this method is that you can get worse results of going too fast and thinking too much.

2) Your concerns.

When you are anxious, you feel like nothing is going to go your way. It is helpful when it leads to a reasonable worry to mind, but it can also result in being too afraid of those worries and not wanting to open up about them to anyone. People who usually get anxious may fear that they might get a rejection; they feel uneasy talking about a problem that makes them anxious. It can be about important decisions related to well-being, financial affairs, education, etc.

When you feel nervous to voice your concerns, you forego opportunities to give you some assurance. Sometimes, it makes someone else anxious because if they knew it before, they might finish it. Anxious people always think of how a situation might deviate from its course, and it is a real advantage for them.

Since we now know what anxiety is and how it affects our decision-making ability, let’s look at some tips to boost decision-making skills and get better results even in anxiety.

Overcoming Know your anxiety

Ever heard about exposure therapy? 

In exposure theory, you get out of your comfort zone to do things that you don’t do, which means do what you are avoiding for a longer period of time and confront the things which make you anxious for a short spell time; this will help your brain to reprogram itself to see that the things that set off your anxiety are not real threats and help bring down your anxiety levels in the long run.

Try analyzing a decision (whenever you make one) in brief. After that, take that decision and put it into work, even when you doubt it. When everything goes in the right direction, your brain will learn that your decisions are not wrong and threatening, bringing down your anxiety. When you have enough confidence in yourself, you will feel calm while making the next decision. Make it a habit, and your life will get easier, and you will experience less and less anxiety.

Exercise and meditate

Exercise more. Please give it a significant amount of your time. Exercises and meditations require some concentration, and this will help you drive away fear and anxiety. Learning techniques that can help you relax and get rid of mental feelings of dread and anxiety. Just drop your shoulder and take a deep breath, or envision yourself in your comfort zone. Yoga will be very useful in this.

Healthy eating habit

Healthy eating habits can lead to a healthy body that will help you control your nervous system, anoa a healthy heart. It will help to fight anxiety and makes the mind stronger. Try avoiding too much caffeine, as caffeine increases anxiety levels.

Avoid alcohol

People mostly turn to alcohol when they are nervous. It is said that it gives them the courage to speak their heart about the thing they are afraid to speak. But in the aftermath of consuming alcohol can make them feel even more uneasy and frightened.

Faith/ spirituality

Many people find themselves more relieved when they connect with spirituality; if you feel that something bigger and divine watches over you and feel attached to it, it can help with your anxiety. Mose people who deal with everyday stress turn to their faith for help, and being around people sharing your faith can he overcoming your fear and provide necessary support as required.

If the above self-treatments don’t work for you, then you don’t need to be anxious about it. We still have many other options to help you overcome anxiety. Have faith.

Talking therapies

For some people, it works like magic. They go to counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy; they use computers to complete self-help routine exercises. This therapy helps peoples to regain trust over themselves and improves their decision-making skills.


Many people give suggestions to use Drug treatment to give a great deal of relief in the short run. Relying solely on drugs is not a good model, so it may be beneficial to use a mix of a drug, therapy, and supposed. It can be harmful if one overuses it. And can affect mental health.

But I don’t support this drug system; we will talk about it and not use drugs later on.

Support groups

Support groups are the best because you get to talk with people who have anxiety issues, and you get to learn from them to handle them. It brings people together to talk and hear about the experiences they have in common, give each other advice, and motivate the members to work on their issues and find new ways to deal with them.

You can find one with your doctor or librarian; they know where to find this group.

Now let’s talk about Non-drug ways to deal with anxiety.

Shout it out

Go Wild! Scream at the top of your voice. Yes, you read it write.

Remember when you were a kid, you might be taught how shouting is bad and you must not do it. One must be soft and gentle and channel one inner voice. But as you grow, so do your problems, and following the rules to deal with them must go out of the equation. Yes, now you are having anxiety, break the rules.

But wait!

It doesn’t mean give your anxiety to someone else, so they start feeling anxious as you. We are talking about soundly releasing emotions in a critical environment. Accept that anxiety is normal, and you may experience it in your daily life, and start moving forward. Scream louder, punch through it. Just do what is of help.

Go to sleep

Sometimes the only thing you need in anxiety is just a good night’s sleep. In modern times we are so much indulged in work that our sleep schedule has been broken or changed, and it is one main reason we all are suffering from anxiety. This is one of the reasons why we are not able to make good decisions also. So when in anxiety, give yourself time and try to take some nap in between. If possible, try to sleep for 8 hours.

Learn to say “NO.”

Yes, it’s definitely okay to say no to things that you don’t want to do. You are not bound to do all the things which come to your plate. Sometimes saying NO to things turns out to be the best decision in life. It doesn’t mean that you will not help someone in the future; it’s just you are not available at that particular moment.

Live in the moment

There’s no need to specify this, but live in the moment and apply all of this right now.

All these things will help in overcoming the anxiety. The only thing that matters is how you deal with it. 


Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is an experienced economist and financial analyst from Utah. He has been in finance for nearly two decades, having worked as a senior analyst for Wells Fargo Bank for 19 years. After leaving Wells Fargo Bank in 2014, Daniel began a career as a finance consultant, advising companies and individuals on economic policy, labor relations, and financial management. At, Daniel writes about personal finance topics, value estimation, budgeting strategies, retirement planning, and portfolio diversification. Read more on Daniel Smith's biography page. Contact Daniel:

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