Fewer Options can Lead to Less Stress


The Power of Limiting Options….

Do you get to the middle of the day and feel absolutely exhausted? What about when you get home from a long day at work? Is the only thing you want to do is sit down in front of the TV with a beer, unwind and just get by until the weekend? For years, that is exactly how I felt. The highlight of my day was collapsing on the couch and watching a mind numbing television show with a beer in one hand and some chocolate in the other.

Over the last few years I have developed an interest in how food impacts my energy levels, mood, sleep and overall health. I have experimented with a number of different changes and I definitely experienced some improvements in those areas.

However, I still felt like I had too many choices around what to eat, when to eat it and I would treat myself to a binge day or days every so often, telling myself that “I deserved it”. In May of 2015, after a little bit of research I decided to become a vegan!

I never thought I could ever give up meat or dairy but I decided I would try it for a 30 day period. After a couple of weeks I noticed a huge paradigm shift in many aspects of my life. All the cravings I had for certain foods were gone completely and I lost interest in the foods that I thought I needed and deserved. During this shift I started to sleep better, my energy levels improved, I started thinking clearer and I no longer had any anxiety or decision fatigue about what to eat.

I can no longer ever imagine going back to eating the way I did, which would have been considered extremely healthy by many people’s standards. I believe many would view this as a huge sacrifice and that I am depriving myself of life’s little luxuries. I see it as a decision that aligns with what is important to me in my life. Do I want to be exhausted at the end of each day, with no energy for anything except changing the channel and raising a bottle to my mouth? Or, do I want to be exercising, reading and interacting with loved ones when I get home from a long day? I definitely choose the latter and I know that this would not be possible if I did not make the DECISION to eliminate many foods from my diet and reduce my options. It is definitely not a sacrifice when I have no desire to eat those foods and I know now how they negatively impact my stomach and my mood when I do.

There is no doubt that I feel great because my body is getting the nutrition that it was craving but I also believe that mentally I feel better because I have fewer options. We are led to believe that having more options in life is a good thing. I believe that this is true up to a point, but it has me thinking that reducing my options in other areas of life would ease decision fatigue and free up even more energy.

Recently my wife and I switched from cable to Sling TV, so we went from having a 1000 channel options to about 12! We no longer practice the art of channel surfing and only watch what we really care to watch. The TV isn’t on in the evening now anymore, and you are more likely to find us blogging, reading, stretching and even talking with one another after the kids go to bed!

We accumulate so much over the course of our lives and it appears that general western society aided with powerful advertising campaigns would lead us to believe that this is a good thing. I am now at a point in my life where I could buy anything I wanted within reason due to our savings and a good credit score, but I know now that it does not bring me anymore happiness. I believe for me, more options equals more anxiety and that my path to an enlightened and enjoyable life will come by eliminating many of the options I currently have in certain areas of my life.

I finally see the wisdom in the saying that “less is more”. Becoming a vegan helped me to truly understand this but it could have been anything. I am definitely not saying you need to become a Vegan; that is just what worked from me. It allowed me to see that I could do things I told myself I could not do. It gave me the energy I was looking for and it simplified my life tremendously.

I challenge you to try and eliminate some things from your life that are maybe causing you anxiety or are not helping you create the type of life you desire to lead. Maybe you start by cleaning out a closet or eliminating one food from your diet and see how that feels. You might be surprised by the profound impact it can have on your existence!