I believe that we are stressed since we are held responsible for everything. After years of living in north america, I came to this believe that the main strategic move is to mirror responsibility of any actions to the people simply by giving the options. Ironically, we are sometimes responsible to make decisions while we have partial or no information and expertise. For example, to buy a health-related product, there are so many options and facts in favour and against them. Facts that are not well understood for people who are not in the field, even if they read them all. However, wether we understand it or not, we have to make a decision and we have to be responsible for our choice. The problem is more severe when it comes to books, magazines, news, music, or movies! Choosing between any of those materials would change our lives in one way or the other! So, we are forced to choose, however, we don’t have enough time, resources, knowledge, or power to falsify the information we get from them.
Even more horribly, sometimes we are found responsible for others’ faults! Just to give an example, imagine you have a membership willing to cancel. You go there asking to cancel your membership; however, the person forgets to give you some paper which shows the termination of your membership and you have no idea such a form exists. After a while, you notice that you are still being charged by the store. When you make a phone call asking why, you will be told that they have no record of cancelation! Although someone else forgot to do his/her job carefully, you will be responsible for all the trouble you go through and you will be the person who has to pay! So, you feel stressed, you feel angry, and you feel helpless.
That is a general rule here! If a mistake has taken place, someone has to be held responsible, and the whole law system is deliberately changed such that, that special someone is yourself. So we are to blame for everything, so we are stressed to make right choice no matter whether we understand options or not! All these are diabolically hidden under the cover of freedom! Freedom of choice only makes sense if enough information is given and understood for distinguishing among various options. There have been two ways to hide the required information. Before the wide-spread technology access, we had limited access to the information, while nowadays this task is done by trivializing the information. I should say the second one is worse and more stressful!
Continuous decision-making about everything has other severe mental effects, too. For example, the analytical part of the brain is practicing more while the intuitional part of the brain is less valued. Consequently, we are forced to use all of our senses and our brain to customize our options, so there is no time left for other human things! Moreover, we are so busy thinking about “what”s such that we totally forget “why”s. We spend a lot of time on how to earn more money, but we have not time to think why we need that much money! Psychologically, it is hard to decide among too many options, and we think by having more money we can buy more of our options (instead of deciding among them).
There is also a related TED talk which I encourage you all to watch: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html