Matta, C. (2013). Our Brain on Stress: Forgetful & Emotional. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 18, 2014


Brain Behavior Under Stress

When we’re stressed, if often feels like everything begins to fall apart. It’s during stressful times that we misplace our keys, forget important events on our calendars, fail to call our mothers on their birthdays and leave important work documents at home.

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Now, in addition to your original stressor, you’re under more pressure because you’re scrambling to find lost keys, dealing with hurt feelings or frantically reconstructing forgotten projects.

And on top of that, when stressed, our emotions are running rampant. That scramble for the keys is anything but calm and a remark from your mother about that missed phone call can send you deep into guilt.

It’s easy to attribute these lapses in memory and emotional intensity to simple overload. When we’re stressed it’s typically at least in part because we’ve got too much going on and we just don’t have the capacity to keep up with everything.

Scientists have known what common sense tells us — that stress has an impact on memory and emotion.  But it’s not just that we have a lot going on and aren’t paying attention. Stress actually has an impact on how the brain processes information and stores memories. And research over the last several decades has pinpointed changes in certain areas of the brain during times of stress.

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