Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue?

Are you aware that actually is such a term?  Scientists have discovered a phenomenon which looks at one’s ability to make accurate decisions over the course of day to day life.  It comes from the exhaustive work of making these decisions in succession and the toll it takes on your brain as a result.

In the old days, we used to just call it OVERWHELM.  The state at which logical thinking and reasoning has escaped us, and we lose control of the world around us because we feel as though we no longer have toe ability to make a logical decision.

As much as the outside world may program us to think in a certain way, it is our own inner capacity to analyze a situation and determine if it will be the proper direction to follow.  So, in many cases, we simply retreat and do nothing as a form of defense from making a mistake.

Freud actually categorized this a long time ago, and recently studies have been done to expand on this theory.  Freud found that we as human beings have “a finite store of mental energy to spend on self control.

When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. When they forced themselves to remain stoic during a tearjerker movie, afterward they gave up more quickly on lab tasks requiring self-discipline, like working on a geometry puzzle or squeezing a hand-grip exerciser. Willpower turned out to be more than a folk concept or a metaphor. It really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted. The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation. To study the process of ego depletion, researchers concentrated initially on acts involving self-control ­— the kind of self-discipline popularly associated with willpower, like resisting a bowl of ice cream. They weren’t concerned with routine decision-making, like choosing between chocolate and vanilla, a mental process that they assumed was quite distinct and much less strenuous. Intuitively, the chocolate-vanilla choice didn’t appear to require willpower.

For a real-world test of their theory, the lab’s researchers went into that great modern arena of decision making: the suburban mall. They interviewed shoppers about their experiences in the stores that day and then asked them to solve some simple arithmetic problems. The researchers politely asked them to do as many as possible but said they could quit at any time. Sure enough, the shoppers who had already made the most decisions in the stores gave up the quickest on the math problems. When you shop till you drop, your willpower drops, too.

More to come…

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