Do you forget things when you are under stress? For example, you don’t remember where you left the car keys when you are late for a meeting, do you? Nothing creates memory gaps like stress does!


A 2010 study, for example, showed that chronic stress reduces our spatial memory, which helps us remember places and objects in them, such as car keys.


Researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered that there is a link between stress hormone (cortisol) and short-term memory loss. The results of their study showed that cortisol reduces synapses (the connections between neurons) in the prefrontal cortex of animals, in the area of the brain where our short-term memory is located.

But there is a difference between how to process long-term work stress, for example, and the stress of a car crash. Research suggests that low levels of anxiety may affect our ability to remember, while situations of very high anxiety levels may on the contrary strengthen our learning process.

While on the one hand, however, moments of acute stress can help the brain to record traumatic moments (remembrances that are stored in an area of the brain responsible for survival and that will act as a defense mechanism against future trauma), a high level of continued stress over time can have devastating effects.


Stress and information processing

Neuroscientists at the University of California Berkeley have discovered that chronic stress can create long-term changes in the brain. Stress increases the development of white matter, which helps transmit messages across the brain, but at the same time reduces the number of neurons that support information processing.

Neuroscientists report that this imbalance can have negative effects on our brain’s ability to communicate with itself. This may even make us more vulnerable to the development of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, chronic depression, bipolarism, compulsive obsessive disorder, etc….

Berkeley researchers believe that the results of their study may explain why young people who are soon exposed to chronic stress show greater learning difficulties, are more prone to anxiety and other mood disorders.


What to do against stress

To reduce these harmful effects of stress, it is advisable to identify and reduce the causes of stress. Having a healthy and varied diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and practicing mindfulness are undoubtedly activities that help.

The Mindfulness Lab proposed by Neocogita as part of the NeuroEmpowerment programme has an impact on the stress management capacity of the participants in the company. The goal is to reduce perceived stress and anxiety, resulting in increased mental well-being.

Stress can damage our cognitive functions, but with the right activities the brain heals.

See how Mindfulness can help you and your team members fight stress and anxiety levels, or contact Neocogita to have more information on how to start a Mindfulness Lab for your company!