How Stress Helps You Make Better Decisions

jessi therrien

A guest post by by VISTA Health Solutions.

Too much stress may cause panic and confusion. It may also lead to health problems like cardiovascular disease and anxiety. Dealing with stress is certainly challenging but it has many rewards. Perhaps we’re too caught up with the negative side of stress that we fail to see its positive side. For one thing, that feeling of being pressured actually helps you make better decisions. Here’s how:

Limits your options
Having too many options can cause confusion. Stress removes nuances from a given situation and helps narrow your focus. This allows you to break a problem down to its bare essentials, making you see things almost in black and white. In addition, some people might regret their decision if they dwell on the other options they didn’t take, a potentially counter-productive behavior. The right amount of stress helps narrow down your options helping you make better decisions.

Makes you focus on the rewards
When you are under stress, the decisions you make are more likely to be fueled by the prospect of reward rather than just avoiding failure or punishment. When we focus on the positive side of things, we tend to make choices that help us improve our quality of life instead of just simply maintaining our status quo. Focusing on the rewards might just be the push you need, especially if you’re likely to imagine the negative outcome of your decisions.

Encourages you to take risks (at least for men)
Studies show that stress has different effects on men and women. Men tend to take risks while women are likely to be more conservative. Taking risks does have its down side especially if you are considering potentially harmful activities. But it can also lead to us to take productive risks. Going for broke helps you make decisions that yield high rewards. Going for broke can help you make life-changing decisions because self-preservation is no longer your main concern.

This article was contributed by VISTA Health Solutions. For more information visit

Now apply your learning to a decision you need to make using one of our weighted decision matrix templates.

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