It’s hard to think clearly when you’re under stress. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise, adrenaline and cortisol flood your body, and your survival instincts kick in — all of which interfere with decision making. To avoid making bad decisions when you’re stressed, pay careful attention to your physical symptoms.
We all have an inner “lookout” that helps us monitor our reactions. Tap into that part of your mind and look for physical sensations or emotions that indicate your stress level is rising:
- a tightness in your stomach
- a feeling of anxiety or panic.
By noticing these reactions, you can hold yourself back from acting rashly. For example, when you get an annoying email, and you notice that you’re irritated, you can hold off on replying until you’ve calmed down. Use your “lookout” to recognize these impulses before you act on them.