Centre for Confidence and Well-being

Skip to content

Reducing Anxiety by Restricting Choices

We live in a world with many options. We have to make choices about what to buy or where to eat, which means that we are missing out on other opportunities.

Making choices can become stressful, especially for maximisers. Maximisers want to get the best possible outcome from their decision; they will examine every possible option before making a choice.  This type of decision making leads maximisers to feelings of regret and depression.  Regret and depression arise because our world has multiple options.  Scanning all options is not physically possible, so the maximiser can be left feeling that there was a better option which they have missed out on.  

Satisfiers, those who accept things as 'good enough', fare better when making decisions.  Satisficers are happy to settle on a decision when they find something which is 'good enough'.  They are not affected by added options, so the many choices have less of a negative effect on them because they know they have made a choice which they are satisfied with.  Next time you are out shopping think about 'is this good enough' and not 'is this the best or most perfect choice'.  You could support local shops that have smaller ranges to choose from, therefore helping you make choosing simpler. 

(Schwarz et al, 2002. 'Maximizing versus satisficing: Happiness is a matter of choice.)

 
Centre Events Previous Centre Events External Events Carol's Talks