How to Reduce the Stress of Decision Making

Everyday we are faced with countless decisions to make. A lot of these are minor such as what am I going to make my family for dinner tonight. We often have to deal with major decisions such as should I leave my job to start a business or should I leave my current relationship. If there is one thing that is common to every person on the planet is having to make decisions.

These decisions often cause a lot of anxiety and stress. I have seen people who stress out over seemingly simple things such as what clothes to wear to work or what to make for dinner tonight and the next night. In fact, decision fatigue is now a recognized condition that affects many people. So how do avoid decision fatigue while being able to make the right decisions?

The first thing is to recognize the difference between minor and major decisions. Minor decisions are things I have already mentioned whereas major decisions are usually life changing such as selling your house and moving across the country. We want to save our energy for the major decisions and make the minor decisions effortlessly. So how do we take the stress out of minor decisions?

We do this through minimizing choices and through planning. I can illustrate this through an example. If you stress out about how to feed your family then you should plan out your weekly menu in advance. You do this by taking your family’s dietary preferences into account and picking out at least 4 different meals that you can prepare, if your family is okay with the same meal on two different occasions in the same week, or more if they want more variety. There are numerous sites online that are available to help with meal planning with recipes. In fact, there are sites that are tailored towards quick, convenient and healthy meals. 

The key to removing the stress from minor decisions is to plan ahead and not leave the decision till the day that you already need to know your choice. There are many professionals who limit their work clothing to only 2 to 4 outfits which they cycle through to eliminate this decision from their daily routine. The importance of eliminating the effort from minor decisions is so that you can save your energy for the major decisions that we all have to face at various points in our lives.

In my next post I will discuss how to approach the major decisions that we all will face throughout our lives.

Nauman Naeem MD

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