A new study says that higher levels of anxiety can lead to poor decision-making. Decision-making depends on proper functioning of specific neurons within sub regions of the prefrontal cortex. It plays an important role in long term planning, consequences, risk and reward, and the regulation of emotions. A study published in the journal of neuroscience found that anxiety suppresses the general spontaneity of the PFC. If the area of the brain that executes our decision making is not functioning properly we are more likely to make poor decisions. This can be bad because poor decisions can lead to bad situations, which may get you stuck in a rut of poor decision-making.
The area responsible for decision-making is not fully developed until the age of 25. Working against us, the brain is also more prone to anxiety during adolescence and early adulthood. This may account for some of our early poor decision-making. The latest research has shown that helping to manage anxiety can lead to better decision-making. Managing anxiety can be a difficult thing to do. Many people struggle their whole lives without relief.
This video is most relevant at 4:10 but the whole video is educational.
People who have a general anxiety disorder tend to experience anxiety for a period longer than 6 months and have trouble pin-pointing exactly what is causing the anxiety. Everyone experiences some form of anxiety during their life but there are things you can do to avoid anxious situations and help to avoid poor decision making.
One thing is trying to decipher what is actually causing your anxiety. If you tend to feel anxious when you put off tests or projects, start them earlier and work slowly until they are due. If it is a certain situation or place that gives you anxiety try to avoid that place or create coping methods.
You can avoid making poor decisions by monitoring your anxiety. If you feel yourself getting stressed and you know you have important decisions to make, de-stress before making those decisions. This will allow you to address the decisions with a clear mind, likely avoiding a poor decision.
Regardless of how hard we try, we are going to make poor decisions at some point in our lives but avoiding making decisions while stressed and anxious will decrease that likelihood.
Here is a very cheesy video that gives suggestions on how to lower stress and anxiety and what those are.
This is a really good video for most of the decision making, problem solving, algorithms, heuristics, and biases.