741 - How Stress Affects Your Memory

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In this episode, we look at how stress affects your memory. Get excited, because this is Tiny Leaps, Big Changes.

Welcome to another episode of Tiny Leaps, Big Changes where I share research-backed strategies you can use, to get more out of your life. My name is Gregg Clunis.

The Research:

Martina Piefke and Katharina Glienke published a paper in 2017 titled The Effects of Stress on Prospective Memory: A Systematic Review where they look at the effects of stress on what’s called prospective memory.

  • Prospective memory is defined as the ability to remember to carry out intended actions in the future
  • So basically…

What They Found:

“The present review demonstrates that a short acute stressor may have enhancing effects on PM in healthy humans, depending on the characteristics of the stressor and the type of PM.”

  • According to the study, time-based PM, that is, things that you have a limited amount of time to carry out, are more vulnerable to the negative effects of stress.
  • Event-based PM is less vulnerable.
  • They believe this may be due to the increased cognitive load required for time-based PM.
  • It’s worth noting that they found the opposite reaction in people suffering from PTSD
  • So what’s the point here?
  • Well, this study shows that there can be positive effects of acute stressors in life.
  • This particular study shows that short-lived acute stress can improve memory in relationship to the future, but it implies that there are even more benefits to it

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t be afraid of stress
  • Don’t give in to the flight part of the fight or flight response
  • Stress can be beneficial in the right circumstances and leaning in to it can actually improve your results and performance
  • Maybe there is an argument to be made to use stress as a superpower at times
  • Obviously chronic stress and extreme stress are different subjects. Like all things, stress isn’t always good or bad. Try embracing it from time to time.

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