Making Choices Can Be Stressful

/ October 10th, 2012/ Posted in Conditions and Diseases / Comments Off on Making Choices Can Be Stressful

Sometimes making simple everyday decisions can bring about a small amount of stress that may accumulate over time. This author looks at this sort of stress in a humorous yet though-provoking way while also suggesting a solution.

The number of ways we can experience stress seems to increase on a daily basis. One unavoidable source of stress is the task of making decisions. I am not referring to the major anxiety that occurs when we agonize over an extremely difficult decision, but the stress created by the shear volume of choices we need to think about constantly. This may not be stomach-churning or ulcer-creating stress, but it takes a toll just the same.

Not long ago, the process of making a decision was much simpler because there were fewer choices to consider. Those days are gone. Choice is on the rise and stress follows close behind.

Take buying a car for instance. Do you ever imagine how many makes and models there are to evaluate before you finally buy the perfect automobile? There was a time when the buyer would have to choose between a Model A and a Model T. Flip a coin and pick a car. After you purchase the car (first you start wondering if it really is the right one!), you get to preset your radio stations. In the ’60s and before, there were five stations that you could program. Eventually it went to 10, then to 15 and even more stations to lock in for your listening convenience. You may as well go back to spinning the dial.

Carl’s Junior, the hamburger chain, uses this concept to sell their particular brand of fast food. Their commercials begin with a close-up of the face of a bewildered looking gentleman. His facial expression grabs your attention. What causes him to look so unusual? You’ve got to know! Finally, they show the scene from behind the man. He looks at the enormous number of cereals available. He is paralyzed by indecision. The announcer says, “Without us, some men would go hungry.”

Indecision keeps us from taking action. When we can’t decide what to do, we feel a loss of control. This leads to stress. Too many of us agonize over decisions that are not worth the trouble. The competition in this world is so powerful that it causes the various manufacturers of goods and services to supply quality product, otherwise they are out of business. Assuming the same price range, one mid-sized car is about as good as the next, one large pizza will taste like another, and a pair of good jeans is a pair of good jeans.

One way to avoid some of the stress that goes with indecisiveness is to go with your first impulse. Remember when you were in school and you had to take multiple-choice tests?

Didn’t your teacher always tell you that your first answer is more likely to be true than your second or third? Try to use this kind of rationale on as many of your smaller decisions as possible. You can help yourself avoid the cumulative effects of this type of stress.


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