Are you the friend who takes all executive decisions on behalf of your group or the one who almost never takes a decision and are notoriously infamous for your indecisiveness? Phew.
I am the latter. If you’re the same, I think we have something we can talk about.
Decision making is taxing. You can wake up and choose what you want to wear but the more decisions you take the more you wane out by the end of the day. Mother always used to say that too many options render you the most confused and I think she was right.
Decision fatigue is the technical term for the depletion of your ability to take subsequent cognitive decisions throughout the day. The part of the brain that takes executive decisions is exhaustive and the tiredness is often mental.
Most days, we don’t realise why standing at an aisle for soft drinks and choosing one when you have a plethora of options is not a particularly fun experience for everyone. What’s infuriating is the fact that many a times, the process of making a decision is itself so taxing that we don't take a decision at all. We think about whether we would want to attend the party we have been planning outfits for all day and then we just end up in bed, exhausted, sad, frustrated because we could not be decisive.
John Riedel and Ralph Colao in a paper published in American Journal of Health Promotion relates decision fatigue with “choice overload” where an individual is so perplexed by the self-regulatory and situational choices that it leads to behavioral and psychological changes that adds to anxiety and other mental health issues. Even though decision fatigue is a relatively new area of interest for healthcare institutes, the mental health aspect of it is yet to be investigated and understood.
I often find myself exhausted after a day that weighs in on my decision making even if it doesn’t include physical exertion. The decisions aren’t even substantial as my journal entries would conclude and that brings with itself guilt and shame. The guilt and shame further manifests into a series of intrusive thoughts and leads to anxiety. One often resorts to a heuristic decision making in such cases and the results are hardly optimal. The failure of a decision taken instigates a need, more severe to be apt and secure about future choices and thus is born a repetitive cycle.
Mental health issues are not black and white, neither are they grey. They are a multitude of colors; a whole spectrum and it is evermore necessary to navigate all.
Many a times, we don’t realise what affects us mentally, so we refrain from helping ourselves or seeking any help.
Mental health issues creep under our bed and often live there until we hold them by the hind and pull them out. It is not necessary for what affects you to have a technical- medical term to it. Not all doors have a push or pull instruction attached. Sometimes, it’s just about going through and not thinking which way would be good. Too long on either side of the door and we’d be left stuck.
Many a times, you figure out what is exhausting you before your therapist can and it’s okay. What’s important is to speak up and let them know what troubles you. If you can’t decide when to talk about it, take this as a sign. Take a deep breath, wear the dress you land your eyes on, go to that party or don't if you cannot, that would be okay too.
Written By - Bhavya Sinha
Book your first therapy session today and let us match you to the right therapist.