Extreme Stress and Rationalization: How Strains Impairs Our Conclusions
Anyone who has ever made a decision when in a stressful situation can probably tell you that stress and your ability to rationalize don’t always go hand-in-hand; oftentimes, the worst decisions are those that we make under pressure. So how can we learn to see through the haze of stress and make decisions that are smart, sound, and well thought out?
1. Wait it Out
One tip for combatting the urge to make poor decisions when you’re feeling stressed is to simply wait it out. That is, don’t make a decision until you’re feeling calm and like yourself again. This might mean waiting a day or two, or even giving yourself 30 minutes to breathe, take a walk, and get your bearings.
2. Run it By Someone Else
Another option for beating the temptation to make a bad decision under stress is to run your options by someone else who is in a calm state of mind, and whose opinions you generally trust to be sound and rational. Running a potential decision by someone else can help to ensure that the decision you’re making is logical – if you trust the person, they should give you honest feedback.
3. Make a Choice and Stick With It
This may sound contrary to the first point, and it is – however, sometimes you don’t have time to wait to make a decision. Which means that you should take a few seconds to weigh the drawbacks and benefits of all of your options, take a deep breath, run it by a trusted confidant, and then make a choice and stick with it. Faltering between two decisions will wear you out more, and isn’t how to achieve your goal.
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