Strategies to Ensure Effective Decision Making in a Crisis


Strategies to Ensure Effective Decision Making in a Crisis

The Brain in Crisis

When confronted with stress, uncertainty and potential risk of the future, the human brain is going to want to make decisions, and not always the best ones. Understanding the science behind how the brain react to stressful situations, we can use it to our advantage.

When our brain is under extreme stress, the primitive portions take over and switch to threat-sensitive mode (i.e. “flight, flight, or freeze” response). The prefrontal cortex – the part that controls those vital higher functions we rely on for more complex thinking, reasoning, and decision-making – takes a back seat. You can read more about it in my previous article :

The good news is there are steps you can take to be a better decision-maker in emergencies.

Calming the Brain in Crisis

Fortunately, there are strategies for calming the crisis response, thereby giving the prefrontal cortex back control (which gives us access to big picture thinking, creativity and risk taking).

  • Sufficient sleep (i.e. 7 – 8 hours each day)
  • Healthy natural diet
  • Exercise
  • Getting some sunlight (i.e.Vitamin D)
  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises (e.g. breathing through your dantien)
  • Journaling
  • Music
  • Tapping (EFT)
  • Practice gratitude
  • Have some Fun or Humour
  • A reasonable schedule (finding the right balance)
  • Looking outwards (e.g. helping others, giving back, etc)
  • Connecting with people

Avoid things that increase anxiety and stress

Here are several things that do not help us calm, and can amplify anxiety:

  • The news
  • Overindulgence
  • Focusing on your weakness and insecurities
  • Not having boundaries
  • Trying to be perfect
  • Focusing on things you can’t control


We can implement these strategies for ourselves to help us make effective decisions in crisis.


For more information about leadership coaching and getting support, please contact Samuel at


Samuel, the Managing Director and Founder of BEACON, is a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach, NewField coach and Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with International Coach Federation (ICF).

As an Executive Coach, he helps companies to develop their high potential and to continuously develop current executives’ leadership skills so as to ensure company continued success and profitability. He support new managers and senior executives become effective leaders.