Recently I noticed I seem to be afraid of my own decisions. When I make a decision I cannot take back, I get some kind of anxiety attack — I’m almost in tears. Even small decisions set me off. For example, I went home to study rather than accept an invitation to study with a friend at school because I was feeling a bit tired. Halfway home I started regretting this decisions deeply. I think this fear has something to do with me not wanting to miss out on life, experiences and opportunities. This is really beginning to mess up my life. I find I’m making decisions based on fear of future regret. Can you give any insight on this? Any help will be appreciated.
I am going to suggest two things to you: first, I suggest working on managing your own anxiety; and, second, I suggest changing your self talk.
Managing your own anxiety
Anxiety is a physical experience, so it is important for you to get in touch with what is happening physically. When you feel yourself becoming anxious, take a few deep breaths, feel your feet on the ground, and focus on slowing your heart down. Do this for about 30 seconds to a minute.
You may want to purchase an audio relaxation CD to do once a day. This will create a habit of deep relaxation which will replace your body’s current habit of anxiety. There are also relaxation exercises and scripts that can be found on-line. If you have an audio recorder, you can record them and play them back to yourself.
Changing your self-talk
Start paying close attention to how you speak to yourself. How often is it positive? How often is it negative? When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts such as “I shouldn’t have done that” or “I’m messing up my life”, say “Stop! This is not serving me!” and replace it with a thought that is more positive (and more realistic), such as “my life is abundant and full of opportunities” or “I am a good person with good friends” or “I am aloud to take breaks and I need downtime”, or “my decisions have positive consequences (then remind yourself of a few)”
I suggest writing out a list of positive affirmations so you have them handy when you need them.
Tina Cowan, Masters Intern