Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue?
From the time we are babies, we love to have choices in our lives – (Remember those toys with all the different buttons and dials?) As we get older, the choices can become more difficult – “What should I choose as a career? Where should I live?” Then there are everyday choices like what food to buy, what to wear, and which shows to watch. When we have too few choices, data shows we are less happy and less healthy. However, we can reach a point of saturation where too many choices actually makes it harder to decide, causing us to waste time and energy and sometimes causing us to avoid making the decision altogether! This “decision fatigue” drains our energy and hurts our wellbeing.
In today’s world we have more choices than ever-before from the type of cereal we buy to the features we want on our car. So what can we do? We can remember having many options doesn’t mean we need to spend more time filtering through to find the best, but instead there are many choices that are “good enough.” Once we make a choice, we need to move on and not second-guess ourselves. We can try to avoid putting ourselves in situations that require us to make many decisions around the same time. We can also prepare ourselves when we know we have many decisions to make (ex. Picking out the perfect carpet for the living room!) by being well-rested, relaxed, and having eaten a healthy meal ahead of time. You may laugh at the mention of food, but when our brains are busy trying to make choices, they quickly use up the available glucose. So if we are hungry, we not only end up grumpy and stressed – we may regret our decisions. Hmmm . . . Maybe that’s why you aren’t happy with the carpet in the living room!