Pre-COVID, you were a decision-making queen. Nowadays, thanks to boatloads of uncertainty with everything from the Delta variant to the constant spread of misinformation, it’s a lot more difficult to keep your cool. Should I let my kid go to an indoor playdate? Am I comfortable attending my friend’s wedding? You hem, you haw, you second guess. But it’s only after you’ve made your choice that the rumination really kicks in.
So, how do you cope? This business-related advice from Forbes for combatting the what-ifs is actually quite sage. The next time you start to spiral about a decision, stop and ask yourself a simple question: What’s the very best next step I need to take?
Here’s why this is a healthy tactic: Instead of just replaying the situation over and over again in your head, strategizing about the next step is a much more constructive action. For example, if you’re contemplating the playdate and it’s giving you anxiety, the next step could be to ping the other parent and suggest moving it outdoors for safety. If you’re feeling unsure about the wedding you already RSVPed ‘yes’ to, you could reach out to the bride and groom about the precautions they’re taking as a way to feel better informed about your decision to attend.
This isn’t to say everything you’re spiraling about will come to an immediate halt, but most of the time, overthinking isn’t all that productive. Considering the next step gives you a positive action to take that can help lead to (and create) a different outcome that you feel a lot better about. (The goal.)