We have a lot of decisions to make in our lives:
- Where to live,
- what job to pursue,
- what flavor coffee to drink.
Some are obviously more serious than others, but regardless of the frivolity of some choices, we still are constantly making selections on a daily basis. And when we’re unsure, it’s hard to feel confident that we’ve made the right one.
Research suggests that when we’re always making decisions, we may suffer from what is known as decision fatigue, the New York Times reported in 2011. The more decisions you make throughout the day, the more mentally exhausted your brain becomes.
However, there are some choices that are just simply worth it.
Choosing to be happy.
Lately I feel I have been walking around PRETENDING to be happy. I’ve just had a lot going on. I spend countless hours in the pursuit of happiness, whether it’s chasing my dreams or chasing greatness at work. The good news is it may not be all that complicated: Studies suggest that happiness is a choice that we have control over. In other words, our joy doesn’t always lie within our jobs or material possessions (in fact, research shows money doesn’t buy happiness over the longterm). So I guess my “fake it ’til you make it” attitude will pay off some say.
Opting to unplug.
In today’s world, having our phones with us is about as natural as breathing (and when we don’t have them, panic sets in). Last Friday my phone died. At first I was a little freaked out, then I took a deep breath and thought, “wait-if anything happens at work they may need me to wait until Monday to fix it?” Trust me on this one: You’ll never regret taking a little digital timeout every now and then. When we disconnect from our screens, we’re improving our well-being. Additionally, too much tech can make you feel lonely, affect your sleep and even lead to physical symptoms, like headaches. SEE CELL PHONE ETIQUETTE
Selecting kindness over rudeness.
It’s easy to grumble at someone on a crowded train or brush off someone in need as you pass them by, but chances are you won’t regret it if you extend a little compassion. You don’t have to spend hours volunteering if that’s not your thing (although research suggests there are serious benefits to performing charitable acts). Even just a small, generous act — like holding the door for someone — can make a world of difference. Research shows that kindness makes us happy and happiness makes us kind in return. Sounds like a pretty positive (and powerful) cycle.
Deciding to treat yourself the way you treat your friends.
PSA: You are amazing. We might not always believe in ourselves, but research suggest that if we did, we’d be a whole lot better off. Accepting ourselves has been shown to make us happier and healthier, so maybe it’s time to start seeing yourself the way you see your loved ones. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” The other day my wife had to face a few challenges. She came home and was so worried about others she was not taking care of herself. I had to remind her to treat herself like she treats her friends.
Choosing to smile at that stranger.
Admit it: There’s this sense of gratification that comes when you exchange the most human of smiles with someone. According to a 2012 study, smiling at a stranger can give us a greater sense of connection. Not to mention just the simple act of smiling can lift our moods when we’re feeling a little blue. You won’t regret flashing those pearly whites. (unless of course the other person calls the cops)
Opting to say “no.”
We live in a culture of perpetual busyness — and because we’re always on the go, we feel strange when we’re not. However, when you look back on your life, are you going to regret the times you gave yourself a little break? Probably not. In fact, as small business coach Margalit Ward explains in a HuffPost blog, we’re saying yes to life by learning to say no a little more often. “So what does learning to say NO really mean? It means committing to living a more authentic and conscious life,” she wrote. “A life that I create based on honoring myself, accepting myself, and saying yes to the truth of my heart.”