How Stress Affects Our Memory and Ways to Deal with It
We can all agree that the human brain is quite amazing. It weighs more than 3 pounds and it produces so much energy that it is actually capable to power a light bulb of low voltage.
Pretty amazing, right? Also, the human brain has the capability of cellular growth during the entire life, and this is known by the name neuroplasticity. But like everything else, it has flaws, one of them is the stress response.
When it comes to the stress response, you should understand that it is necessary for the survival of humans.
Just think about it, without stress response people wouldn’t bother protecting themselves at all.
One example of how that would be problematic is in the following situation: ”You see a car coming your way, and you don’t react, due to lack of stress response, and this is the end.”
Yes, the stress response also known by the name fight or flight response has been good for humans during evolution, but it also contains some kinks.
Sometimes we cannot really tell the difference when it comes to perceived and real threats. Is this too confusing to you? To understand things better, read on.
The Link Between Brain Function and Stress
You should know that the human body and brain aren’t actually made to sustain a persistent state of alert.
So, in a situation of high alert, almost all your energy is being redirected to your muscles and brain, and then cortisol which is a stress hormone is fueling them. An excessive amount of this hormone is bad for the brain, to be more precise for the hippocampus.
This hormone can kill and damage cells found in this part of the brain, which is responsible for the retrieval of memories that are long-term and the production of new memories. So, can stress affect our memory?
Yes, but it is not that serious.
The Truth About Stress
The truth is that moderate stress might be beneficial for both mental and physical health.
For mental stress, proper stress might ward off depression and boredom. Moreover, the right amount of stress might fine-tune the neural networks of the brain, therefore helping improve cognitive performance.
For physical health, suitable stress levels might exert us physically when needed. The truth is that people shouldn’t try to abolish or avoid stress, but you should make efforts to strengthen cognitive abilities.
Simple Ways to Improve Cognition and Memory
#1 Be Active and Exercise
The benefits of exercising are beyond incredible. You should also know that there are great benefits for the brain from this as well.
How? Well, moderate exercise raises the blood flow to the brain, protects the brain’s cells, and boosts the overall mood. Also, it stimulates neuron growth which is also known as neurogenesis.
#2 Do Your Best to Sharpen Your Focus
You should try to focus on only one task at a time. You should do this with everything, when you are cleaning the house, don’t think about other stuff, just focus just on cleaning.
When you talk on the phone, focus on the conversation you are having don’t wash the dishes at the same time. Why is this good? Because in this way you can help your memory power and mindfulness.
When it comes to the human brain, you should know that it contains entrenched negativity bias. That means that people direct most of their attention onto the bad things in comparison to the good ones.
With meditation, you can have control over this and rewire your brain to be in a more positive state.
#4 Consume Foods That Boost Your Brain
Yes, you can boost your memory with the right foods. What you should do is consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Such foods are salmon and walnuts. Also, there are other foods that can help you improve your cognition.
Those foods are whole grains, legumes, cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli, and blueberries.
Make sure to add these foods to your diet on a daily basis.
Always use repetition. As you probably know repetition is the mother of learning. And this is the best method to encode information into the human brain. Repeat important information to yourself, and you will surely remember them.
Did you know about the link between stress and our brain? Now that you know you will easily deal with it.