Why Worry Leads to Indecision

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • Worry is triggered for different but often overlapping reasons. Things in life occur that tell you there is a problem that needs solving, or a task that must be finished, and invariably there is the looming possibility of a bad outcome. If the issue is avoided, the worry continues, but if successfully confronted the worry subsides - at least for a time. The key word here is ’problem’. Situations that cause worry are problem situations and while worriers seem especially good at defining problems they are less effective at solving them.

    Very often we can trace the issue of poor problem-solving to indecision. For a worrier there may appear too many options to choose from, or they may simply feel unable to decide on something, even though the answer is right in front of them. The question then is why are worriers so indecisive?

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    The answer to the question isn't easy. For a start it may be due to the fact that worriers are born that way. Their brains may be hard wired to be more cautious and require greater security before a decision is made. In evolutionary terms this could once have been a highly beneficial risk-avoidance strategy that now has evolved into something that has outgrown its usefulness. There is no direct evidence that the brains of worriers are physically different to non-worriers, except perhaps that we can detect some differences in brain wave patterns.

    So is the answer closer to home? Imagine being brought up in a home where high demands are made of your behavior and achievements and the level of disapproval is high if you fail to live up to expectations. Isn't it feasible that your level of risk taking gives way to higher levels of caution? You try your very best not to make mistakes, to achieve a degree of perfection, always get the answer right and to attain results at the highest possible level. By doing this you decrease the chances of disapproving comments or facial expressions and perhaps increase the likelihood of praise. It becomes a powerful incentive to behave with caution, but when decisions do need to be made quickly the problems of indecision begin.

    Worry occupies the space between problem identification and problem solving. Daily life is full of problems, some minor and others not. It's the failure to make decisions and act on them that leads to worry so anything that reduces this helps.

Published On: November 05, 2013