While on holiday recently, I listened to a few of Michael Mosley’s podcasts – “Just One Thing” – tips to live healthier and happier lives.
He did a special episode on Happiness with Rangan Chatterjee.

Rangan gave five practical tips for living a happy life and I especially liked his tip about choice. While we tend to think of choice as a good thing, too much choice can be stressful.He advised that we could

“simplify life by making fewer decisions and eliminate choice wherever you can”, to avoid ‘micro-stress doses’”.

I love this concept of micro-stress doses – I seem to have a lot of these every day, especially around making decisions.

Some years ago we lived in Egypt for three years and I found in the supermarkets there was far less choice than we are accustomed to in the developed world. If I wanted to buy Cheddar cheese, it was easy – there was just one brand with only one variety. When I came back to the UK, I found myself in a supermarket being completely overwhelmed by the range of Cheddar cheeses on sale and not able to make a decision.

In this episode of Phil Agnew’s Nudge podcast, Phil Agnew discusses evidence that retailers sometimes sell less when there is too much choice. So it’s not always good business either.

My personality style, Synthesiser, means I like to consider all options before making decisions, to ensure I get the best result. But this can be time-consuming and isn’t always necessary. And it can cause stress, not only for me when I can’t make up my mind, but also for the people around me.

Sometimes I wish I was more like the Mobiliser, who can make quick decisions without thinking through all the options.

What’s your approach to making decisions? And how do you avoid being overwhelmed by too much choice?