This is an article on the impact of stress on decision making. It will discuss how the psychological state of the person can influence their decision making, and how this can be counteracted to make better decisions.
Stress is the body’s response to an external force that puts pressure on its system, whether it be physical or mental. The psychological effects of stress are often more debilitating than the physical effects, but both can have a detrimental effect on your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. The body’s reaction to stress is not unlike its reaction to danger. The adrenal gland floods the body with adrenaline, which increases blood pressure and boosts energy levels. While this prepares the body for action (such as fight or flight), it takes time for the body to return to normal afterwards, leaving some people feeling fatigued and unable to concentrate. This is where decision-making comes in. A stressful environment, such as one which is highly competitive, can increase the likelihood that you will make rash decisions or become indecisive. This often occurs because the mind becomes clouded by competing ideas and emotions, making it difficult to decide on anything. For example, if you are under stress you may find yourself thinking about something else, only to realise that you have made a decision without realising it. This can be dangerous when making large purchases, where you risk acting emotionally rather than rationally. An example would be buying a house purely because you could not bear to lose out on a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to buy a home. In order to counteract these effects, it is important to keep away from stressful environments, take regular breaks from your work, and maintain a good diet and exercise routine. Although these may seem obvious lifestyle changes, it is often a lack of time or motivation that prevents people from doing so. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that can help increase your concentration and focus even in the most stressful environments. These include making lists, keeping a diary, setting small goals, and leaving work at work.