The Role Stress Has on Memory and Learning
Throughout life, we experience events that create stress and cause long-lasting effects on our bodies. These stressors play a crucial role in how the brain functions, affecting different processes, such as the ability to learn and memorize new information. Understanding how stress impacts our brains can help us avoid bad learning environments and find support to put our mind at ease.
The Connection Between Learning and Memory
When we learn something new, our brains take time to process the information until we can understand and act on it. Memory is our ability to take a new skill or piece of knowledge and store it so that we can later utilize what we know. These systems of the mind are vital to our growth and development as humans. As we grow older and require more skills to survive without the help of our parents and mentors.
The use of these two aspects of learning may come in various strengths, such as a person may quickly understand new information but have trouble retaining it, or vice-versa. Certain events like too much stress will cause your memory and learning to falter.
Learning While Stressed
In settings such as school, numerous situations may stress us out, including homework, tests, and deadlines. When we learn in a stressful state, it isn't easy to focus or comprehend new information. Stress causes the nervous system to produce chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol makes the brain use more sugars that it pushes through the bloodstream. This puts the mind into an overloaded state, making it harder to understand new concepts.
Stress is a constant threat in learning environments, even more so for people with learning difficulties and younger students.
Difficulty Retrieving Memories
Stress also plays a role in impairing memory retrieval. You will find it difficult to remember essential details if you were stressed when you learned them. As mentioned earlier, our bodies release chemicals and hormones in response to stressors that not only affect learning but also our memorization and memory process. In order to retain a piece of knowledge, the brain must be calm and focused. A harried, distracted brain won't hold on to the complexities of new information.
When stressed, our minds focus on immediate needs and survival, which splits our focus and decreases our chance of memory retention. Ill-formed memories will not last as long as memories created in an enjoyable and supportive environment. It will also become challenging to build on any information from these memories to broaden and expand our skills and knowledge in the future.
We are encouraged to maintain healthy, low levels of stress to guarantee a more productive time learning and a sound memory moving forward. Using natural products such as homeopathic anxiety supplements can help manage stress, quiet the brain, establish balance, and improve memory and learning.