How to make better decisions under pressure.
3 min read
12 Mar 2020

How many times have you walked away from a conversation or looked back on a stressful situation either minutes or hours after the critical moment only to think “WHY did I say X, not Y”, “I should have done this”.  You had “reaction remorse”.

80% of our decisions are intuitive, gut reactions and we tend to default to our own least effortful way of thinking about things. Neither of these promote “good” decision making under pressure. Stress shifts the priority and bandwidth for processing things away from our prefrontal cortex – or logical, rational, creative, empathetic part – and into our emotional centre … we will tend to “think” with our survival hat on.

Taking a few deep breaths can take us out of panic mode and into a more relaxed state, as well as buying us a bit of time and space to respond, but how do we re-engage the best part of our brain in a hurry?


One of the UK’s leading fire fighters, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, was so intrigued by how we can improve our decision making under pressure (for obvious reasons!) she did a PhD in behavioural neuroscience to find answers. Her solution – ask yourself these 3 questions

“What do I want to achieve?  What do I expect to happen as a result?  How do the benefits outweigh the risks?”

These are great questions because they

  • Channel attention and focus to what is most important and the underlying goal.
  • Encourage active risk/reward assessment not just in the moment, but for the future (which usually holds less weight than now)
  • Look for alternatives to our defaults and assumptions
  • Foster creativity
  • Inspire action
  • Don’t seek to blame or judge (try to avoid questions that start with why) so don’t start a downward thinking spiral

Asking almost any question will force your more deliberate, rational brain back on line … its not something your emotional brain is that good at!  But this is a helpful structure to think about when coming up with your own questions.

A good way of finding questions that work for you is to turn “reaction remorse” in to an opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up with “coulda, woulda, shoulda” thinking. Instead, take a moment to come up with a question that would trigger a better decision, one that moves you closer to what is most important or the end goal.

Some of my favourite questions may be surprising, but they catalyse interaction between my intuitive and thoughtful thinking

  • “What would be another way of seeing this”
  • “What if my assumptions aren’t 100% correct?”
  • “How would the best person I know (my superhero) look at this”
  • “In a week’s time, what will I consider the most important outcome?”
  • “What is really at stake here?” 
  • “How will I know if this has been a success?”

What questions could you ask yourself under-pressure or in times of stress to take you closer to a “good decision”, to what is most important in the moment and longer-term. 

How could you practice asking questions under pressure, even on small things, so it becomes easier to do in moments of high stress. 

Share some of your favourite questions below.

You can read more about Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, and her book “The Heat of the Moment”, here



    1. Heather

      Cryptosporidium infectionCyclic vomiting syndromeCyclospora infectionDengue feverDiabetes insipidusDiabetic comaDiabetic
      GastroparesisDiabetic ketoacidosisDiabetic neuropathyDiabetic neuropathy
      and dietary supplementsTypes of diabetic neuropathyDiverticulitisDoes family history put my toddler at risk of eosinophilic
      esophagitis? shelf
      life of viagra

    2. Adelaida

      Alternatively, a single large dose of a medication given intravenously. viagra generic uk

    3. Landon

      The use of hard illicit drugs will increase under a “decriminalized” system because marijuana use leads to experimentation with harder
      drugs. generic viagra online

    4. Eulah

      For Lacy Sanford, this year has resurrected allergies she hasn’t experienced since she was a kid.

      order viagra online usa pfizer viagra online pharmacy

    5. Sheri

      It is not entirely clear whether this association is causal, and some researchers have been known to disagree with this view.
      can i buy viagra online with a prescription
      buying viagra online in usa

    6. Jack

      Donations are processed and acknowledged by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
      Center, a registered 501 c 3 in the Commonwealth of
      Massachusetts. cheapest viagra

    7. JivhPrack

      comprar viagra andorra online viagra supplies uk viagra na hartinfarct

    8. Nancy

      Generic viagra united states generic sildenafil cost usa

    9. Cheryle

      Sildenafil for sale australia
      purchase viagra without prescription

    10. Harlan

      Viagra on the web viagra generic without prescription

    11. Dorothea

      Viagra 500mg tablet where to buy
      viagra in singapore

    12. Fmsgweest

      safest website to buy viagra viagra da banco how to get viagra for women

    13. Fdbvbiads

      sildenafil 50mg brand name how to viagra 150 mg generic viagra

    14. Fbsbweest

      average viagra dosage viagra de japones viagra eladГі kecskemГ©t

    15. Fqfweest

      research paper on a person disertation college essays personal narrative

    16. KwgdTync

      hot to write a research paper college essay expert writing a good college essay

    17. Fgsbiads

      write my assignment buy paper online essay writer services

    18. Fsfweest

      materials and methods in research paper application essay assignment solver

    19. Fnrhweest

      viagra usage viagra 4 packs canada pharmacy viagra

    20. Ftghweest

      critical thinking essay writing random assignments help write essay online

    21. Free Adult Web Cam
    22. Bernard

      What can i take to enhance cialis side effects of cialis

    23. Fbsbweest

      generic cialis from india viamedic cialis cialis black

    24. Darrell

      Viagra side effects is viagra over the counter

    25. KhthTync

      rx pharmacy coupons cheap rx ed drugs

    26. Lokuweest

      texas state board of pharmacy canada drugs mexican pharmacy online

    27. JlloPrack

      canadian online pharmacy medical pharmacy canadian pharmacy generic viagra

    28. mayory

      20 mg viagra price
      best tadalafil
      buying estrace cream online Aroni Emumb



    1. cialis 10mg - cialis 10mg cialis 10mg
    2. best online place to get cialis - best online place to get cialis best online place to get cialis
    3. pfizer viagra over the counter - pfizer viagra over the counter pfizer viagra over the counter
    4. viagra pumpink seed - viagra pumpink seed viagra pumpink seed
    5. side effects for cialis - side effects for cialis side effects for cialis
    6. compair prices on viagra - compair prices on viagra compair prices on viagra
    7. when to take cialis before sex - when to take cialis before sex when to take cialis before sex
    8. female takes viagra - female takes viagra female takes viagra

    Submit a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Embrace Stress course

    Over the years, as an ambitious employee, team focused manager and supportive friend, I developed a deep understanding of the challenges and pressures that we all face not only day to day but also in our long-term  health, happiness and career development.

    Read more