Having a stress full day?
To top it off you’ve gotten a sudden case of forgetfulness?
Stress and memory, it’s all connected. When you’re under stress, one of the first things to wander off, so to speak is your memory, along with your keys…and important documents…and remembering to call your mum…or pick up milk… This adds more pressure onto the original stress. Before you know it the day has turned into one big ball of stress. Oh and just for kicks your emotions have joined in on the fun and are running rampant!
Not surprisingly, stress impacts your memory, and emotions all at once. The two areas of the brain affected by stress are the hippocampus, (factual part of the brain), and the amygdala, (very emotional creature). Under stress the neurons firing to the hippocampus become extremely weak, and are instead firing at full strength to the amygdala.
This means under stress our brain has a hard time processing factual information and instead will rely heavily on the emotions that your experiencing.
For example; Your under stress and can’t find your keys, ‘when your husband points to the keys sitting on the table’, instead of taking note of the keys on the table, your brain instead focuses on your emotional experience, such as ‘the look’ your husband just gave you as he pointed to the keys, that makes you feel like an idiot. The factual part of the message, ‘keys on table’ has been lost altogether but your emotional wifi, so to speak has just connected with a strong signal, and now you’re an emotional volcano about to erupt.
So, what can you do?
Next time you’re under stress. Stop, take a moment, take a breathe, inhale for 7 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds. It will take you a few breathes to get to the 7 seconds in/out. Really focus on your breathing. Do this for at least 5 breathes. This forces your mind to focus on something else and basically disconnecting your emotional wifi. Like anything, the more your practice this the better you’ll get.
And remember your brain is wired to focus in on and respond to any emotional messaging that you may get from those around you. When stress is up so too is your emotional wifi.