How to make decisions when you are depressed?


Decision-making has always been an integral part of our day-to-day life. Multiple Internet sources suggest that an individual makes about 35000-decision everyday, and approximately 200 decisions about what to eat everyday.

Depressive disorders can make decision making extremely overwhelming and strenuous exercise, almost feeling nauseated. Many psychologists believe that mental health disorders diminish cognitive functions, including decision making, rational and logical thinking.

Depression generally is associated with low mood, feeling sad, unusual sleeping patterns for eg, sleeping too much or sleeping to little. Depression also significantly impacts the appetite. Both sleep and food has very strong correlations to cognitive abilities. And therefore indecisiveness is mostly accompanied with depressive disorders.

Unfortunately, indecisiveness in depression is not only about major decisions but also about minor things like what to eat, when to eat, when to sleep, when to get out of bed etc.

Most people suffering from depression complain about lack of energy and inability to focus, and both these can be due to lack of sleep, change in appetite etc. It like the chicken and the egg story, and more like a vicious trap that one falls into.

Here are a few things that to can help counter indecisiveness during depressive phase.

1. Avoid Major Decisions

Depression effects one’s complete being, including the mind and the body. With a deep sense of dread, sadness and hopelessness, it not only impedes cognitive abilities but also affect ones self-confidence, therefore self-doubting ones decision-making.

Its good to postpone if not avoid decision making during the depressive phase, especially a major one. Regret is seen common in depression, and hence avoiding a major decision-making can help dodge regret.

2. Shared decision-making

Share you problem with friends, family or anyone who is trustworthy. Seek opinion to gather diverse perspective about the decision matter.

Decision-making is more of an intuitive process, although we consider logics and justifications before decision-making, depression tends to impair both intuition and cognitive ability.

Therefore involving others in the decision making process or letting others decide for you could be favorable.

3. Simplify Life by following daily routine

Following a routine everyday can be enormously beneficial, it not only reduces the decision making but also helps streamline the day.

Routines help as it provides a sense of certainty for the day and can also be fruitful in keeping the anxieties at bay.

4. Break it into small action steps

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and worked up, start by writing and breaking in smaller parts.

Use a sequential approach and make a step-by-step action plan. Being able to visually see the steps and actionable offers a sense of certainty.

5. Seek therapy

Another way of combatting indecisiveness is to seek cognitive behavior therapy.

Cognitive therapies can help you navigate through the decision making process, and also empowers with useful tools and techniques that can be used otherwise too.

6. Flip a coin

As stupid as it may sound, but its great trick, of course not for a major decision, but anything that’s needs to be addressed quickly and is not very consequential in nature.

It’s an easy way to decide, when the brain is doesn’t seem to co-operate.

7. Acknowledge your first instinct

Research studies believe our first thought is always the best one, and is a good practice to acknowledge and listen to our gut feeling.

Although, depression tends to make listening to our inner voice very difficult. The whispering of our inner voice seems very feeble, as it’s usually clouded by self-doubt. But when you hear the gut talk to you, it’s a great practice to action on it.

8. Perspective Shift

Depression often has a negative effect on one’s self-esteem. An interesting way to decision making is to make a perspective shift and think what would “he/she” do in this situation.

It’s like imagining someone else (whom you know well) in the situation and gaining insights on their way of resolving the problem.

Decision making with or without depression needs practice, and also needs plenty of positive self-talk. Worrying incessantly about making day-to-day decision is common with depression; however following routine is great way to ease indecisiveness.

Also Read: 5 Simple Daily Habits to Adopt Today to Make Yourself More Productive

As one starts making smaller decisions, it builds self-confidence, besides also builds mental patterns towards effective decision-making and problem solving. The more we practice the better and easier it gets.

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