Manage Google Apps Anxiety Can Affect Smart Decision-Making, Finds Research

In the course of a single day, one is confronted with numerous choices, including something as simple as deciding to get up early in the morning and how to begin the day. It seems that one is forever taking decisions, some for small things and some for big matters. However, one hardly stops to wonder at how effortlessly one navigates through the sea of life, until he/she hits a roadblock. Mental health problems can hinder one’s ability to handle daily life, especially if left untreated. One such seemingly simple problem is that of anxiety.Researchers have found that anxiety gets in the way of good decision-making. This is because decision-making is a complicated process involving different regions of the brain. During the processing of decisions, the brain goes into an overdrive. It takes into account the various possibilities, weighs the pros and cons, filters out unnecessary data and, finally, arrives at the conclusion.In the ideal situation, the brain will function as it is meant to and come to the best or logical decision in a situation. On the other hand, a person with anxiety will continue to ruminate on the endless possibilities and will end up either being unable to take a decision at all or taking a flawed one.Playing a key role in the decision-making process is the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is located in the cerebrum. The PFC is the brain’s decision maker. It is involved in making long-term plans, understanding rules, problem-solving, etc. It also soothes the amygdala, which senses fear or danger, and activates the body’s fight or flight mechanism. Therefore, it plays a pivotal role in emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility and in controlling behavior.

Impact of anxiety on decision-makingResearchers conducted a study titled, “Anxiety evokes hypofrontality and disrupts rule-relevant encoding by dorsomedial prefrontal cortex neurons,” involving rats to understand the effect on anxiety on the PFC. The rats were either on a placebo or on drugs that caused anxiety. It was seen that rats who had received low dosages of anxiety drugs made more mistakes than rats on placebo. The decision in question concerned a reward of food/sweets.They found that the brain’s capacity to concentrate on the task at hand is significantly reduced when there are distractions. In an ideal situation, one is able to negate these and arrive at the appropriate conclusion. However, when the rats were anxious, the distractions got in the way because there was a numbing down in the PFC. This finding was contrary to the prevalent hypothesis that anxiety caused overstimulation.Prevent anxiety from taking hijacking decisionsSome of the decisions one makes have long-term consequences. Therefore, it is essential to process all decisions carefully. Here are some tips that can help a person battle anxiety and process information correctly:Allow things to take their natural course: Over the years because of one’s life experiences, one often becomes habituated to thinking in a certain way. For instance, the moment one sees a stranger in a dark alley at midnight, one automatically gets into the fight or flight mode. However, if, instead one becomes more aware of what he/ she is actually feeling, and take in the surroundings with more awareness, the response would not be exaggerated, but appropriate.Understanding the root cause: There are many reasons why one could feel anxious or is anxiety prone. While the stress of daily living could cause the onset of anxiety disorder, there are other reasons as well for being terror-struck, including unaddressed past traumas. It is essential to understand the root cause of stress, or trepidations and seek necessary help.Being mindful: It always pays to pay attention to one’s brain’s thinking process. Mindfulness is an ancient art practiced by many people especially monks to increase concentration. Mindfulness strengthens the PFC and makes it easier for the brain to navigate through available information.

Challenging anxiety: The best way to tackle an anxiety is to think that it does not exist. The human brain is one of the most powerful motivators. A challenge or a problem or danger exists only when one feels incompetent or fearful. By getting over those fears through self-help or by the assistance of a psychiatrist, one can distinguish between real and imaginary danger and take action.There are no wrong choices: In case, one feels overwhelmed with anxiety while taking a decision, it is better to realize that good or bad, there are no wrong choices, actually. Even bad decisions when seen in retrospect could be associated with good outcomes, though it only becomes apparent later.Don’t drown in anxiety, help is availableLiving with constant anxiety, incessant worrying and fear is not a great situation to be in. If you or your loved one is feeling overwhelmed with anxious thoughts, don’t wait for them to simply “pass.” They could be an indication of a more serious disorder. However, anxiety can be effectively managed with proper medical care.