Don't Make Decisions When You're Angry...

Don't Make Decisions When You're Angry...

Last update: 28 February, 2016

Our emotions have the ability to influence many of our mental processes. After all, do we learn the same way when we are sad as when we are happy? Do we make the same decisions whether we are in a good or bad mood? The answer, of course, is no!

Interestingly enough, being positive can make you smarter. According to Dr. Julius, an expert who studies anger, all of our emotions exert influence on our way of thinking. They influence our ability to recall memories and also our intelligence. Negative emotions lower our ability to recall memories and positive emotions increase it. But why?

Head or heart?

What guides you? Your sense of reason or your heart? What carries more weight, your brain or your heart? Depending on the situation, there are decisions that we make exclusively with our hearts and decisions that are only made with our brains.

The best we can do is maintain a balance between the two, to unite our brains and hearts in the most effective way. Why? Because there are many times when our feelings and emotions can see things that our rational side can’t. This is why it’s very important to train ourselves to be academically intelligent as well as emotionally intelligent. We need to find that balance, to know when to let our hearts speak up, but also when to let our brains weigh in so that we can make the best decisions.

Emotions and the brain

Negative emotions decrease our ability to reason. This happens because the brain is more focused on the emotional state of sadness or anger that is being felt instead of concentrating on making decisions or finding creative solutions.

Thinking positively improves creativity and clarity in our ideas. This doesn’t mean that we need to feel happy all the time, but we do need to find that balanced state of inner peace and optimism. When our brains aren’t subject to tension, we are able to see things more clearly.

When we are calm and satisfied, we feel more confident. When we are more confident, our learning ability increases. Our brains aren’t subject to tension, stress or fear. By maintaining optimism and a peaceful state, we are able to strengthen our minds.

Anger inhibits our ability to think about anything. We are only able to focus on the anger, what has happened to us, what has been done to us, etc. We aren’t able to think about anything else that isn’t related to our anger and this destroys our ability to make any kind of decision.
Besides anger, fear also consumes much of our brain’s energy. And when our brain is using up energy in a negative emotional state, it doesn’t pay any attention to other cognitive functions. Therefore, if you can control your emotions, you can control your mind.
Rage is the most destructive emotion of the mind. We waste energy when we become angry. Being angry uses up as many as 37 muscles that tense and tighten. In turn, smiling only uses up seven muscles. So, when we have to use more of our muscles, we are spending more of our energy to do so.

As mentioned before, when we are immersed in emotion, we aren’t able to think clearly. We are only able to think through the filter of our emotions. If we are sad, we aren’t going to be able to make the best decision. On the contrary, being happy gives us the ability to think about all of the things we can do, goals we can accomplish, promises we want to keep, but it all could end up being a bit too ambitious to be realistic. When we are able to come down from this emotional extreme, we can operate more realistically and set standards that we can stick to.

So remember, living in a state of emotional extremes isn’t good for our minds. We have to find a middle ground that allows us to feel these emotions without going to extremes. If for some reason we are stuck in an emotional extreme, we need try our best to choose the right path and remember: don’t make decisions when you’re angry and don’t make promises when you’re mad.

We may not be able to avoid feeling bad, but we can control how long we feel that way. We have to make our best effort to overcome these ups and downs. We may be feeling blue, but we don’t have to continue feeling that way. Becoming aware of the fact that our feelings are temporary can change our attitude.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.