Good Mood is Not Good for Making Big Decisions

November 19, 2015

really good mood People often assume that there are no discernable benefits to having or being in a bad mood. However, each mood, good and bad alike, has very specific effects that can help or hinder your decisions or tasks you have to undertake.

Most of us would agree that bad mood steers us to recall more negative events and shifts our attention on us rather than the external world – the “poor me” syndrome. Conversely, good mood boosts our recall of more positive events and makes us more likely to embrace the external world – the “summer of love” syndrome.

However, there are many more effects of both moods that you may be underestimating. For example, in relation to work, when we are in a positive mood we tend not to be as absorbed in what we do, which makes us less conscientious in the office. In contrast, negative mood makes us more immersed or engaged at work.

Here are most common and specific effects of both moods:

Negative mood:

  • Drives you to look for a potential danger or threat
  • Steers you toward recalling and remembering more negative events
  • Boosts your logical and chronological information processing skills and concentration on details
  • Makes you more critical and rational
  • Encourages you to analyze more carefully all the details of the situation; makes you over-analytical
  • Promotes deductive (slower) thinking, which is a decision-making process where we make choices based upon the results of past choices and their results
  • Improves your discernment and judgment, which results in you making fewer errors
  • Shifts your attention on you rather than external things
  • Opens you up to relate to strong arguments only
  • Makes you more absorbed at work

Positive mood:

  • Gives you a sense of security and safety
  • Boosts your recall of more positive events
  • Encourages quick mode of information processing and decision-making
  • Favors fast decision making over accuracy, which leads to you making more errors
  • Shifts your attention on external matters
  • Makes you succumb to strong and weak arguments equally, which is not helpful in making important decisions
  • Underestimates how difficult things will be
  • Makes you less conscientious at work

Having inspected them now, ask yourself if you should be making key decisions when you are in a good or bad mood? And please share any experience you have with your moods.





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