Not to be dramatic and so obviously type-a, but meal planning does make me happy. And for a long time I thought I was just a planner that found joy in filling out my attack of the week and watching it all come together. But meal planning can make you happier.
Over time, small choices add up to big stress
I’m listening to a new book on Audible, Happy Mind, Happy Life. The author also has a podcast that my sister turned me on to, Feel Better, Live More. The content is all about happiness and how to hack your life, specifically your mind, to be happy. In the book, there is a chapter called “Eliminate Choice” that deep dives into the stress decision-making cause us. Dr. Rangan Chatterjee says
“We can eliminate stress by reducing the amount of decisions we make…Every time you make an unnecessary choice you’re creating tension and stress in your mind and body…little by little this is taking you closer and closer to your personal stress threshold.”
His solution to eliminating choice was primarily about creating habits (schedules, systems, routines) that allow you to make fewer decisions and go on “autopilot”. And he also talked about reducing the number of choices available so there are fewer options to ruminate on. He talked about only subscribing to one streaming service to tv or reducing the number of podcasts you subscribe to, but all I could think about when he was talking was the difference in the menus at Cheesecake Factory vs. Nonla Burger (a local burger joint in Kalamazoo with a very simple menu, like In-N-Out Burger).
Like most things, he quickly pointed out that how we reduce decision-making is different for everyone, but one of the examples he shares for reducing decision-making is to plan out your meals. Are we shocked I love that?? I was nodding my head and throwing my hands up in the air listening to that while I walked.
The act of meal planning for the week eliminates more than a handful of decisions and many many minutes of thinking and overthinking. It creates clarity for your grocery list. And it’s one less thing to think about and plan each day. You just look at your meal planning notepad hanging on your fridge and you make it!
Meal planning can make us happier 🙂
I’ll report back on the rest of the book, I really love it so far. If this nugget helped you realize you need to start meal planning, check out my Let’s Eat, Let’s Plan notepad to kickstart your new habit!