Second Guessers Question Their Way to Depression


Second guessers phootYou surely know someone like this or maybe that someone is you. Second guessers research and research decisions before hesitantly stepping forward, only to wonder whether they made the right one. 

Psychologists call them maximizers or those that have trouble committing to everything from buying a new dishwasher to choosing a spouse. They contemplate their decisions and are never contented in the one they made. It turns out this lack of contentment causes depression. It’s the inability to be able to enjoy what you already have while constantly thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.

Joyce Ehrlinger, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University has been researching maximizers and their opposite, satisficers to see their mental outcomes. Her research is published in the peer reviewed journal, Personality and Individual Difference. The paper was coauthored by Erin Sparks and Richard Eibach and reported on Science Daily.

Satisficers, unlike maximizers, make a decision and then are contented with the decision they made. They seem to end up much happier than maximizers. Because maximizers are less committed to the choices that they make, they are often less happy with their lives, according to the study

Finding Contentment

Finding contentment is a key to happiness. Without it, you’re constantly using energy to focus outside of yourself, rather than on what you’re currently doing. In the book, The Geography of Bliss, the author, Eric Weiner proves time and time again that the key to happiness is being able to live with what you have and make the best of it. It’s the ability to notice the best of life rather than the worst of life and live in the present moment.

While it’s important to be thoughtful and thorough with the decisions you make, it’s also important to have enough confidence in them to be able to move on. It’s like those people that move time and time again and are never fully committed to the community that they live in. It’s great to explore, but at the same time, joy comes from sinking your roots down and calling a place or a decision home. 

Photo: Thinkstock

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.









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