Do you have analysis paralysis?
Imagine you're out to eat with a bunch of friends. After everyone's arrived, the whole group starts ordering food. Everyone seems set on what they want to order, but when it's your turn, you just freeze. Even though you've been ruminating over the menu for a while now, you're torn about what to order. You start to panic, unsure of what to choose, and everybody impatiently waiting for you only adds fuel to the fire. Ultimately, you just give in and order the first thing you can read off the menu without giving it a second thought.
If that's something you've experienced, you may have analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis is a form of overthinking where you spend considerable time researching all available options to ensure you make the best possible decision. But as a result of overanalysing the situation, it's easy to fall into an endless loop of rumination and ultimately become unable to decide. As a result of being stuck in a state of analysis paralysis, a person may feel anxiety, inability to focus, fatigue, and a rapid heart rate.
Overthinking and analysis paralysis can affect all decisions a person makes, from the most trivial to the most high-stakes ones. Thus, something as simple as choosing a drink to get or what to wear could become crippling issues to grasp. Ultimately analysis paralysis can wreak havoc on a person's performance academically, at work, or at any task that requires a bit of thought and effort.
You may be inclined to ask why a person would develop this condition. According to specialists, the roots of analysis paralysis and overthinking are more or less the same. So, a person who tends to overthink and overcomplicate matters will almost inevitably become paralysed by the weight of making decisions.
However, certain traits may influence people to be stuck in analysis paralysis. Perfectionists struggle to make choices as they fear they'll make a bad decision. On the other hand, people pleasers may find difficulty making choices that may not sit well with others, even if it's best for themselves. Additionally, people with very rigid, structured styles of thinking and those who lack self-esteem and confidence commonly fall victim to overthinking and analysis paralysis.
So, is there a way out of this? Well, if there's a will, there's a way. The first step in beating analysis paralysis is to recognise it. After identifying when you become paralyzed by overthinking, you can start to coax yourself out of it. It also helps to make small choices quickly so that you don't have the chance to overthink it. Even though it's easier said than done, getting to the bottom of your overthinking problem can also work wonders for analysis paralysis.
At the end of the day, it's important to remember that no decision is perfect, and it's ok to make mistakes. Through self-acceptance kindness, and trusting our instincts, we can try overcoming analysis paralysis and make confident, informed decisions with more ease.
1. Clarke Ma, J. (2022). What Is Analysis Paralysis? Verywell Mind.
2. Raypole, C. (2020, April 27). How to Beat 'Analysis Paralysis' and Make All the Decisions.
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