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Stress = Bad Decisions ….what can you do?

Do you feel stress leads to bad decisions?

Several recent studies show that stress impairs our ability to make decisions. When we feel stressed, we go into fight-flight-freeze mode. In this state, we really feel like we’re being chased by a lion, even if the “danger” looming is just the stress of everyday life like being time pressured (ie several tight deadlines), full plate (ie too many projects or  meetings), and/or an ill family member.

Oren Frank, Co-Founder and CEO, Talkspace shares five guidelines to help people make better decision. 1. Address Mental health head-on; 2.Walk the talk: be an example of work-life balance;3. Don’t focus only on  “just getting it done.”; 4. Provide opportunities for creativity, inspiration and plenty of fun; and 5.Encourage open communication.

These are good, but I feel we can do even better. We should be addressing the importance of  mental wellness throughout the entire life span. Beginning with  our children, continuing  to reinforce it in our daycares,  schools, workplaces as well as with our seniors.

Below is my expanded version of Frank’s 5 guidelines to help people make better decisions.

1. Address stress and mental wellness head-on.

One in five people people report mental health challenges. Plus stress can cause severe physical health problems like heart and stroke.

According to the CDC, employee mental health issues are costing U.S. businesses about 200 million workdays and $190 billion each year. Not only are employees suffering, but stress is also costing companies their bottom line.

Let your family, friends and employees know that mental health is as much of a priority as physical health. . Make the workplace a zone of mental health awareness.

2. Walk the talk: be an example of work-life balance.

Stress is inevitable! Whether you are a preschooler being away from your parents for the first time, or a grade four student feeling the need   ‘fit in’ , or junior high student being peer pressured to try illegal drugs, high school student trying to figure out what post secondary school to attend or a parent trying to raise a child or two or three, or a CEO leading an international organization.

The key, no matter your age or title, is to create a culture of mental wellness and to lead by example.

Frans gives this  example. If you don’t want your employees to arrive at dawn, stay till dusk, and subsist on caffeine and sad-desk-lunches, then you need to avoid these behaviors yourself. Make sure to take daily breaks and vacations. Let your employees know about your personal interests and pursuits outside work. Show that you’re just as vulnerable to stress as anyone else by pointing out your own tools for stress-management.

3. Focus on Quality; not quantity ( “just getting it done”)

Allow for quality.

As a mother of three, I recall when my children were young learning how to tie their shoes and it felt like it was taking a half hour  to get out the door. They would tie it, then it would fall undone, they’d do it again and again until it was done correctly. On an ideal day, I would have budgeted in this extra time and remained calm vs rushing them out the door with me tying up the shoes for them.

Remind your self and those in your environment (like your home, school or organization) of it’s unique values and reinforce them. This is the concept or organizations posting their mission and value to ensure people incorporate them into their daily practices. Some School’s post their values/rule. At home you can post your values or a vision board to help remind you what is really important.

Recall, stress-fueled decisions are not our best ones. If you create an environment (home, school or organization culture) that prizes efficiency and productivity above all else, then you will be contributing to increasing stress of all those in you environment.

4. Provide opportunities for creativity, inspiration and plenty of fun.

Try to find creative ways to motivate and inspire the people in your environments (home,school and work) rather  than pressure them.

At home life is not all work and no fun. Maybe try something new like cooking or baking together, exploring the great outdoors, trying a new activity together, visiting a museum or inviting a new guest over.

Similarly at school and work, try something new to spark learning and team building. Invite guest speakers to talk about mental wellness, facilitators like yoga instructors to share tools and techniques that aid in creating a feeling of mental wellness. Host professional development workshops, Lunch ‘N Learns. Encourage continuous learning and team building events.


Show the people  in your environment (home, school and/or organization) you care about them as an individual. Ask  and listen to them about their interests and dreams.

For the past few decades research has shown  happy employees are more productive. When you feel valued , you will do better (at home, school, work and serve in our community).

5. Encourage open communication.

Research shows to improve any relationship and outcome, whether that is at home,  at school or in the workplace, open communication is the key. If people feel they can ask questions, this results in better outcomes. In one study it even showed a significant improvement of tasks and assignments being completed better quality. If people feel afraid to ask questions, they will not clarify what needs to be completed and how to achieve the desired quality.

The most recent Work and Wellbeing survey published in 2016 by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that less than half of the 1,501 surveyed workers felt they worked for an organization that prioritized their well-being. Yet, as many as 1 in 3 workers reported chronic stress on the job. There is a clear disconnect between the reality of employee needs and employers’ awareness of them.

Encourage and give the people in your life the green-light to ask questions, share concerns. If people feel valued and heard, they are more likely to do better work. Verse if they are worried about getting into trouble or disappointing.

Stress will always be apart of life. However, we ideally do not want to be the ones to increase others stress (in our home, school or work).

If stress become more than just a good way to motivate you to get tasks done, and it is prolonged, I strongly encourage you to seek help.


Innovative Wellness offers a proactive peer lead program called Body Brain Balance that shares effective tools and techniques for those who are feeling overwhelmed, worried, or stressed. We now offer this to:

  1. Families
  2. Parents
  3. Schools
  4. Workplaces


Our team knows the value or investing in mental wellness to improve ones well-being, and quality of life.

Contact us today for more information.