Study: Stress Is Impeding Your Intuition

October 30, 2017

11:30 am

There’s no two ways around it: building a startup is stressful. Raising capital takes time, building an audience takes work, and putting it altogether is enough to make your anxiety-riddled brain crack under the pressure. To make matters worse, study after study has shown that stress is a hugely productivity drain, sucking the useful hours of the day more than Netflix or Facebook ever could. And unfortunately, that’s not all it does.

According to research published on Sage Journals, stress also impedes your intuitive decision making skills. All those snap decisions that work out, all those instantaneous ideas that move the project forward, all those strokes of genius that come when your in the shower are hindered by being anxious about your project.

“Intuitive decisions arise effortlessly from an unconscious, associative coherence detection process,” wrote Carina Remmers and Thea Zander, the authors of the study. “Hereby, they guide people adaptively through everyday life decision making. When people are anxious, however, they often make poor decisions or no decision at all.”

By observing 111 healthy participants in three different moods (anxious, neutral, and positive) perform semantic coherence tasks to test their intuition. And, unfortunately, those that were feeling stressed didn’t do too well.

“The current findings show that anxious participants showed impaired intuitive performance compared to participants of the positive and neutral mood groups,” they wrote.

This, in so many words, is bad. As any seasoned entrepreneur knows, trusting your gut is one of the most valuable assets a burgeoning founder can have. With dozens of snap decisions arising every single day, a lack of intuition can have dire consequences for the future of your company. Plus, with stress contributing to poor mental health overall, it could have dire consequences for your well-being as well.

Read more about avoiding stress at TechCo

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at

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