In a recent review of studies in the journal Current Direction in Psychological Science, psychologists found that when people make decisions under stress they focus more on the positive outcomes than the negative. This means people don’t always properly weigh their big decisions.
Photo by stuartpilbrow.
Making any decision can cause stress, but big decisions require a lot of thought and proper weighing of the options. An article in Science Daily explains:
This means when people under stress are making a difficult decision, they may pay more attention to the upsides of the alternatives they’re considering and less to the downsides. So someone who’s deciding whether to take a new job and is feeling stressed by the decision might weigh the increase in salary more heavily than the worse commute.
Being aware of this can help you think through your decisions. In the example above, it means weighing your options on a deeper level. For instance, if a job has an increase in salary but a longer commute, you can add up the cost of time and petrol, subtract it from the salary and make your decision from there. You can also use a decision-making tool like a pro/con list to better weigh decisions and remind yourself of the important negatives. recognising that stress is changing how you’re weighing decisions can help you make better ones in the long run.
Stress Changes How People Make Decisions [Science Daily]