woman in bad mood making decisions about the future

Why You Shouldn’t Make Decisions When You’re In a Bad Mood

Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC

By Contributor Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC

Ever regretted a decision that you made when you were hurt, angry or fearful?  One of those decisions that you were not proud of or did not turn out so well and you wondered ‘what was I thinking’?  The reason we make bad decisions when we are in a bad mood is actually all about our thinking. 

The fact that you are in a low mood – feeling pressured, stressed or frustrated means that your thinking is off base in the first place.  Our feelings come from our thinking in the moment and when you are anxious, you won’t see any situation clearly.  Your perception is thrown off by memories, worries or misreading the issue at hand.  Low moods cloud understanding and inhibit your ability to see things with present moment clarity.  It’s like being in a glass elevator stopped on the basement level and you can’t see the ‘light of day’. 

If you find yourself in reaction mode or feeling pressured to make a decision, remember, you don’t have to decide or respond in that moment.  Give yourself some time and space to return to a better state of mind so that you can assess the situation with greater clarity and reason.  

Here are some strategies you can experiment with: 

  1. Call a time out for yourself and tell the other person you need some space. 
  2. Give yourself time to consider – “I’ll think about it and get back to you tomorrow”.
  3. Remove yourself from the situation completely, go for a walk, a drive in your car or take a nap.  All these activities work to clear away intense thinking.
  4. Don’t accept pressure or pressure yourself to make a decision even if there is a “decide today to get the discount offer” on the table.
  5. Look for a good feeling place from which to make a decision or response.  
A woman negotiating

We all possess inner wisdom that is there to guide us to making the best decisions for ourselves and others.  This wisdom emerges as insight and intuition, but it needs space to do so in our minds.  When we are in busy, stressful over-reactive thinking, that deeper knowing is shut out.  It’s like listening to radio static rather than dialing in to clear reception.     

If you believe that you need to make a decision to take the pressure off yourself – you may feel temporary relief, however, distress may resurface when the consequences of a poor decision begin to surface.  There is no rush, give yourself space and time, it will be worth it in the long run.  Decide when you are ready and feel at peace with your decision.  It will be a better decision and more beneficial in the long run. 

A woman negotiating
Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC
About the Author

Marlene Cameron, MBA, CFA, CPC is an award-winning business coach who helps busy entrepreneurs and executives have less on their minds so that they have greater clarity, make better decisions and are more productive and profitable.  She created the Decision Clarity Advantage that helps owners and leaders realize the personal and financial freedom that a successful business affords.  Her three-day off-site coaching intensives show inquiring CEO’s how to achieve extraordinary clarity in order to create exponential growth in their businesses. Visit Marlene on her website and learn more about her services.

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