Recent research from University of Sheffield shows that we can protect ourselves from the “to hell with it” effect with “if-then” decisions:
You’re probably familiar with what could be called the ‘to hell with it’ effect. It’s when (as demonstrated by lots of research) a bad mood causes us to take risky decisions or engage in risky behaviour. Like when you’re feeling down and you drive home dangerously fast or go out and get drunk. Now a team led by Thomas Webb at the University of Sheffield says that we can protect ourselves from this effect by forming ‘if-then’ implementation decisions in advance. These are self-made plans which state that if a certain situation occurs, then I will respond in a pre-specified way.
After two studies designed to specifically put people in a bad mood, the findings suggest:
[P]eople can strategically avoid the detrimental effect of unpleasant mood and arousal on risk taking by forming implementation intentions directed at controlling either the experience of mood or risky behaviour.
If “to hell with it” crosses your mind, then beware.