Increase Your Happiness by Limiting Choices!

This headline certainly sounds paradoxical. But consider that, not so long ago, there was only one telephone company option, and the phone you rented from that company never broke.

All the choices available nowadays -- VoIP, cellular phones, cable phones and traditional land-line services -- offer more freedom than ever before, but may exact quite a cost on our collective psyches, says psychologist Barry Schwartz in the compelling video linked below.

Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, believes, rightly, that the "freedom of choice" afforded to us by all these options escalates our expectations, and therefore introduces indecision and unhappiness into the equation.

TED April 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comment:

A great example cited by Dr. Schwartz of how the dizzying array of choices can harm your health is, no doubt, a familiar one to most of you: The deluge of prescription drug ads aimed specifically at you that prompt you to call your doctors about this "latest and best" option, with no thought whatsoever about the consequences.

Of course, it is my hope that the information you receive on this site provides you a far higher level of skepticism to question their ads.

However, the article premise surrounds the question, "Is happiness in limited choices?" A simple confirmation of this principle can be attained by taking a stroll around your corner grocery store some day and counting the number of brands of cookies or salad dressings from which to choose. You'll be surprised.

In fact, Dr. Schwartz argues this explosion of choices may be a significant contributor to the explosion of depression and suicide throughout the world, because people living in the Western world typically have high expectations for a given experience, and usually find fault with themselves about the decisions they make.

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