When Anxiety Makes You Second-Guess Every Decision

March 1, 2022 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

One of the hardest things that I have found about dealing with anxiety is the second-guessing that happens when making decisions. It becomes so hard to make decisions because I find myself wondering if it's the right choice or the wrong choice. Then, when I make a decision, I second-guess it and question whether I should have made a different choice. The problem with that is, even if I had made a different choice, I would still question that one anyway. As a result, my thoughts will spin out of control, and my anxiety will overtake my logical thought process.

When you are perpetually anxious, even the smallest decisions can seem like major obstacles. I think this tends to happen because, with anxiety, there are often expectations of yourself that you feel you just can't reach. And so, when it comes to making decisions, you envision that every choice you make is somehow still below these standards. As a result of that, you then end up beating yourself up for not doing the right thing, no matter the choice you make. It is almost a validation of the fears and worries that anxiety draws our focus to.

How You Can Stop Second-Guessing Decisions When You're Anxious

When you are often anxious, it is important to figure out how to build confidence with decisions you make so that you do not end up in a cycle of excessive worry and feeling overwhelmed. When I continuously question my decisions as a chronically anxious person, it does nothing but increase my anxiety and intensify the symptoms that I normally feel.

So what can you do to feel less anxious about decisions you make? I have found that it is important for me to follow these steps:

  1. First, I need to slow down and take a deep breath. Many times, when I am anxious about a decision that needs to be made, my mind feels chaotic. When my mind feels chaotic, my body follows suit, and so I will feel physical symptoms of anxiety that make me feel worse. Slowing down to take deep breaths calms my system and helps to ground me.
  2. Then, I try to analyze where my anxiety is really coming from. Sometimes, it is not from the actual decision that I need to make, but it is rooted in something else. So, the emotions and resulting psychological and physical symptoms are not even associated with the decision I need to make. Taking a close look at my anxiety -- sometimes through the use of journaling or talking to someone I trust -- can sometimes be helpful for separating the two.
  3. Lastly, depending on the decision that needs to be made, I will try to let my gut guide me in deciding what I want to do. With anxiety, it can be hard to listen to gut feelings, but sometimes I have to trust my gut and listen to what I want instead of trying to avoid confronting things that I don't want to do.

When you have a hard time making decisions because of your anxiety, try these steps to help you process your thoughts. If there are strategies you use to help you arrive at a decision, share them in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2022, March 1). When Anxiety Makes You Second-Guess Every Decision, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 23 from

Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

Jodi CANOVA-Moore
March, 2 2022 at 1:08 pm

My bipolar 2 is well managed, & towards the spring & summer I am able to reduce what I take or actually stop taking a medication or 2 : with my medication prescriber & therapist’s go for it attitude. However I know myself & they know me well enough if that would not be advantageous at the time. My real issue is NOT SLEEPING. I have been on every single sleep medication & adjunct medications… which gets me 2- 2 & 1/2 hours of sleep after taking an hour to fall asleep. Is my brain still in overdrive & cannot slow down no matter what ??? I am physically very active and rarely sit down during the day. My exercise should help tire me out/ but I guess it doesn’t. The medication I use for the amount of sleep I do get is Vistaril ( an antihistamine) and this used to be my PRN: I asked my prescriber if we could use just this PRN(since everything has failed) but double the dose from 50 mgs to 100 mgs. Am I really that darn anxious (???) I didn’t/ don’t think so: but I feel stuck not getting a good nights sleep. Any suggestions ?

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