Why You Should Never Make Big Decisions When You’re Emotional

Fate and coincidence will not happen without our self decisions. Decisions, no matter how trivial they can be, have an impact on every person’s life. Although you cannot make the best decisions all the time, you could at least avoid the worst ones instead.

But did you know that you make most of the wrong and most dangerous decisions when you are at the peak of emotional outbursts? As per Dr. Antonio Damasio, an emotional response is the only way an organism can survive in a fluctuating environment. However, you must learn and know why you must never make big decisions while being emotional through this article.

How Emotions Affect Decision-Making

According to the James-Lounge theory, emotions are neurophysical changes in your body caused by external stimuli, formed by blood flow, heart rate, hormones, and even digestion changes. Emotions can also overpower your senses and functions, making you prone to poor decisions.

Although conscious decisions can have an emotional involvement degree (intuition or gut feelings), here are the most intense emotions that can affect decision-making.

  • Anger: As this emotion is a fear-based self-defense mechanism, you can make riskier decisions when irritated.
  • Fear: can decrease the possibility of making risk-averse choices as you are anxious about something, but it often leads to issues in the long run.
  • Sadness: Melancholy may lead to improved critical thinking, but grief has an adverse effect.
  • Happiness: Although being happy does not affect risky behavior, it can speed up the decision-making process, leading to rash conclusions.

Why Avoid Making Decisions When You’re Emotional

As humans are emotional beings, it is hard to evade various emotional outbursts, especially when significant external sources become involved. Here are the reasons why you must avoid making decisions at the peak of emotions.

1. There is a 90% chance that you’ll make a wrong decision.

You cannot think appropriately during an emotional state as your mind is too preoccupied, leading to irrational actions.

2. You will have regrets.

Wrong decisions lead to regrets as there are matters that you cannot take back. No matter how much you want to turn back to that crucial moment, it is all in vain.

3. You might get used to it.

If a wrong decision ruined a situation in your life, you might become angry again and commit another move to cover that mistake. Thus, you are making a decision based on your emotions once again.

What You Can Do When You’re Emotional

Are you wondering why leaders and managers always make rational decisions? Some professions, like secret agents, have the training to hone and make split-second decisions. Most of these pros believe that the best way to react during a flustering situation is not to respond and pause to think. 

1. Emotions are inevitable; control your response instead

Fear, anger, sadness, shame, and happiness are instantaneous emotions, which may arise depending on your body’s condition. During an emotional outburst, think what you can do with those signals:

  • How will you respond?
  • Do those emotions have the final decision, or do you channel them into a more constructive matter?
  • Do those emotions par with the reality of the situation?
  • Do you let others speak to those emotions’ credibility, or maybe how you are also partly responsible?

2. Reframe your emotions rather than ignoring them

Like how you avoid misery, you might have also been ignoring your emotions, suppressing your feelings, whitewashing unpleasant memories and emotional baggage, or blaming others. However,you can address these pressing issues in your life in other ways.

Although it is inevitable to recall memories, feelings, and emotions, you can always reform them into something that can motivate and improve you. Remember: those matters don’t control nor define you and your life as they are merely passersby. Life is full of variables, so you can look forward to a new path and make better decisions to avoid the same mistakes.


Emotions are inevitable, so control your response instead. Think. Reflect. Apply. Reframe your feelings and actions instead of ignoring them. Although you cannot go back to the past, snap back to the present to avoid losing your future.

Wait for your physical symptoms to subside and clear your mind first. Finally, check the pros and cons of the probable decisions you have in mind.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)MANUELA LENZEN is a philosopher and writer in Bielefeld, & Author(S), A. (2005, April 01). Feeling Our Emotions. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/feeling-our-emotions/

Amir, H. (2020, July 12). The Best Way to Make Decisions When You’re Emotional – Is to Not Make Them. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://www.psychreg.org/decisions-when-emotional/

Coleman, A., & Snarey, J. (1970, January 01). James-Lange Theory of Emotion. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-0-387-79061-9_3146

Habib, M., Cassotti, M., Moutier, S., Houdé, O., & Borst, G. (2015, March 10). Fear and anger have opposite effects on risk-seeking in the gain frame. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354239/

Weirick, J. (2018, September 22). Why You Should Never Make Big Decisions When You’re Emotional. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://medium.com/@johnweirick/why-you-should-never-make-big-decisions-when-youre-emotional-5747a5df96e3

Tan, C., By, -, Chinkee Tan https://chinkeetan.com/Chinkee Tan is a top Filipino motivational speaker, Tan, C., & Chinkee Tan is a top Filipino motivational speaker. (2015, December 22). Never Make a Decision When You’re Emotional. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/never-make-a-decision-when-youre-emotional/

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