Micro-decisions made through panic
You may not decide to have panic in your life but you can decide to get rid of it.
Do you think you own your decision making processes?
How many decisions do you make every day?
The answer is mind boggling really. We make in excess of 10,000 decisions every day. Everything you do requires a decision to be made. I have tried to think of the most innocuous decisions we may make on daily basis.
How much do you load on a particular spoonful of food?
At what point do you get out of bed to go to the bathroom?
How long do you brush your teeth for?
How much to do you fill your cup?
What time do you leave for work?
I hope I have made my point. Fortunately most of these decisions are fully automatic, but they are still decisions because there are options in each case. We take our decision making for granted and generally pay no attention to it at all. Until, of course, something goes wrong. When that happens we’re left with a puzzling situation where we often feel we don’t know what is happening.
Many of the bigger decisions we make are a balancing act between competing needs and wants. But even then the actual thought processes are unconscious. They are below the level of awareness. It often feels that the choice is presented and we stand there waiting for the answer to pop into our mind.
Where do you want to eat….umm….I don’t know, maybe….err…yeah lets go to…..
The complex mental calculations take place in the background and the answer presents itself, just like magic.
The real problem comes when you try to take control over the automatic decision making process and try to think rationally about it. You can’t really do that successfully because your conscious mind can’t manage the complexity of the things that need to be included in a decisions.
I think that one of the main reasons that the system might go awry is when fear is experienced.
Fear is the supreme attention grabber. Fear is like an armed police officer pointing a gun at your head and shouting in your ear ‘don’t move or I’ll shoot. ‘ You would most probably be rooted to the spot, maybe unable to move a muscle, dreading that the pumping of your heart doesn’t constitute a movement to him.
Fear is a terrible shock that creeps up and goes BANG in your ear. When the BANG is big enough, when the shock is great enough, when the surprise is unexpected enough; then your brain may well decide that you need to really pay attention to what is going on here before something really fatal happens.
At this point your brain gets you to scrutinise all major decisions for their riskiness. If you still don’t feel safe then it gets you to look at smaller decisions as well. In the end you may feel that you can’t do anything with ease any more and that even small decisions carry to much risk. This is when you start making decisions based on fear…and that is never a good thing to do.
Fear is a useful emotion when it is caused by things that are external/outside of you. But when fear is created by mis-perceptions and bias, when it is caused by the fear of going to the supermarket or the fear of riding on a bus then it is not at all useful. When fear is internally generated that makes it deeply unhelpful.
Panic is the supreme expression of misplaced fear. Panic won’t usually go away by itself it needs a conscious decision to delete it. I have created Panic Pit Stop to provide all the tools and resources you need to support your decision to delete panic from your life forever.