Going the distance

Strong emotions can lead to poor decisions

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. August 8, 2012

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

I'd like to share an insight from a reader. When we're angry, frustrated or tired, we know it's not a good time to make decisions. We've all heard the advice to "sleep on it" before making a decision. But it's just as important to take time to deliberate when there are strong positive emotions like joy and exuberance.

When you're on a high because of some achievement or recognition, it's easy to get swept away and believe that you're invincible. It's important to let the feelings of euphoria subside and then move forward.

I'm reminded of the following story that was shared with me by a prominent leader from Mayo Clinic. During the Roman Empire when a conquering general was escorted into the city in his chariot, he would be surrounded by cheering and adoring masses. Crouched in the bottom of the chariot, we're told, was a slave whose job it was to remind the hero that his moment of adulation and glory would pass. Likewise, we need to remind ourselves that our moment in the sun is fleeting.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

3 Comments Posted

Aug. 08, 2012