Why to Refrain From Making Decisions When You're Anxious


While it may be easy to share your life with your partner, it may not always be so easy to share a bed. Despite the amount of love that you may have for each other, having sleep issues and poor habits at bedtime can have a huge impact on one's life during the day. These habits may drive a wedge between you and your significant other.

Many people may encourage you to go with your gut when deciding on an important decision. However, it may be difficult to follow your gut if you are anxious about making a decision that could possibly have an effect on your long-term goals.

Have you ever been faced with a decision that you had to make quickly or you had pressure on you to make the correct decision on the first try? Perhaps you have had to make a decision that would make a long-term impact on your life or a goal that you are trying to achieve. Having anxiety can actually hold you back from making proper decisions, which has been seen through various studies.

Researchers have actually found that making decisions while you are anxious can actually inhibit your ability to really listen to and follow your intuition.

Intuitive decision making refers to decisions that are able to come effortlessly and without too much consideration. These are small things that you decide on throughout the day that probably have very little impact on your life. You actually use this type of decision making on a regular basis without even realizing it. However, if you are anxious, you are likely to make a poor decision or possibly not make a decision at all.

This link between anxiety and poor decision making has been tested with a random selection of 111 assigned participants who were split into three groups: those who are anxious, neutral and optimistic. The results showed that people who are anxious when making a decision often do not make the best decisions to benefit their wellbeing.

In order to get the subjects into their assigned mood, they showed the people in the groups various images to help induce feelings of anxiety, optimism, or neither. For example, they would highlight the fact that everyone's future is uncertain to the group who was supposed to feel anxious or that they cannot be sure that their neighborhoods are safe.

The positive mood group was exposed to cheerier things such as personal achievement and relationships that they may have with friends or family.

Participants measured their mood by filling out survey questionnaires three times throughout the study to determine their existing anxiety levels. They did this the first time before their mood was manipulated, once after, and a final time at the end of the experiment.

Participants measured their intuition by self-reported their natural tendency to trust their gut and then were tested by completing a word-association task using their gut to determine their answers. They would then report the level to which they trusted their instincts.

The study found that those who were put in the anxious group had a much more difficult time using their intuition to finish the task at hand compared to the participants in the other groups.

This supports previous research that shows that being anxious can make it difficult to assess all of your options and make proper decisions. This shows that having anxiety makes us pessimistic, less confident, risk-averse, and less likely to choose the safest, routine, decision.