Category Archives: Tips and Advice

These posts take wisdom gained from cognitive research and apply it to life.

The Psychology Behind Mindfulness

mind-full

You know those nights when you’re lying in bed (for what feels like forever!) and you just cannot fall asleep? All the thoughts about the day and whatever else might be popping into your head are swimming through your mind and keeping you awake…

It turns out mindfulness has been found to help people quiet those thoughts that keep them awake. The practice of mindfulness has been studied for use in treating all kinds of maladies, such as depression and stress as well as for use with patients suffering from physical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, or HIV. This article asserts that it has also been found beneficial in helping with weight loss and maintaining an exercise program. The article also notes the technique’s usefulness in treating symptoms of insomnia and other sleep disturbances. So, the question is, why? And how?

Mindfulness relies on the ability to focus attention on your awareness of the current moment. You allow yourself to be aware of any and all thoughts, feelings, and experiences you may have in order to process them without evaluating them critically. In essence, it relies on the ability to focus attention and maintain enough concentration so that you can seize control of thoughts that enter your awareness (which obviously takes a lot of practice). The more you practice mindfulness, the more you will prime the neural networks required for the process of identifying and acknowledging thoughts without criticizing them. Given all this, it makes sense that the technique might be effective in treating symptoms of insomnia and other sleep disturbances. By shifting the focus of your attention and being more aware of the current moment (instead of whatever thoughts are keeping you awake), you may be able to better control your emotional responses to your thoughts.

The trick to mindfulness is the promotion of increased awareness of thoughts in order to promote better control over emotional responses to them. This is why mindfulness has been used as a treatment for anxiety disorders as well. The ruminative thinking that keeps us awake at night is a major cause of insomnia and also present in many anxiety disorders. The idea is that the ability to acknowledge thoughts in a different way, without driving yourself crazy over them, will ease anxiety (which is caused by this type of thinking). In order to do this, mindfulness encourages a sort of selective attention in which you focus your attention on something such as breathing, instead of rumination.

Okay, that explains why mindfulness is effective. But what types of strategies do people use?

Breathing is only one of many techniques you can use in order to focus your attention and be more aware of what is currently happening. (This short video explains how to do a common breathing exercise called the “4-7-8 Breath.”) Meditation is the technique that is perhaps the most talked about. Movement exercises can also be helpful.

In fact, mindfulness has been shown to have an impact on the functioning of the brain in general. For example, This article says that people who meditate show superior performance on tasks associated with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which deals with tasks related to self-regulation, the ability to direct attention, behavior and suppress immediate responses, and the ability to alternate strategies quickly. These skills are all necessary to exercise mindfulness and you would develop them the more you practice the technique.

In addition, when practiced regularly, mindfulness also leads to a weakening in the “functional connectivity” between the amygdala and the rest of the brain and a strengthening in the “functional connectivity” among areas associated with attention and concentration. So, “mindfulness practice increases one’s ability to recruit higher order, pre-frontal cortex regions in order to down-regulate lower-order brain activity,” Adrienne Taren, a researcher studying mindfulness, says.

So, next time your thoughts keep you awake, maybe consider being more mindful about what you are thinking. Like every other skill, it may take some practice before you start reaping the rewards from practicing mindfulness, but who knows what will happen once you’re able to focus your attention more effectively.

What do you think? Do you practice mindfulness or think it could be useful?

Mindfulness-MindMap

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days

Don’t you just hate it when your significant other tells you no? This step by step how to will teach you how to get your live-in lover to do anything you want them to using a cognitive psychology.  We learned four ways in class to manipulate the simple minds of our significant others (SO) to get them to do anything and everything we want.  We do this using availability, anchoring and adjustment, representativeness, and competence.  The culmination of these cognitive mind games are called heuristics of judgement and decision making. Using these cognitive mind games will spoil you in that, you will always have your way.

Availability can be used by substituting an old memory for a new event.  Let’s say you wanna go to that pirate themed circus ballet coming into town and you need to convince your SO.  You can tell them that it was kinda like that super cool break dance competition you went to last spring or another event that will help them retrieve those previous events.  It’s hard to imagine an abstract event, so giving them a familiar event would increase your chances of getting them to do whatever you want to do!

Anchoring and adjustment can be used by creating an initial judgement (anchoring) but keeping in mind that the individual making the judgement will change that value to how they see fit (adjustment).  While buying tickets for that pirate themed circus ballet coming into town, of course you want good seats.  You could ask your SO, ‘how willing are you to pay $1,000 a seat?’ And according to anchoring and adjustment, aiming for a higher price range will allow for them to make adjustments and say, ‘……maybe $150’ when in reality, the seat you wanted only costed $100, win.  This heuristic works for both anteing up and down.

Representativeness can be used by betting on the fact that your SO isn’t very smart and has poor intuition and judgement.  It’s ok it happens to the best of us, but this time, it works in your favor!  Representativeness is when we judge based upon how much an example resembles (physically) to the category but the possibilities of it being an incorrect representation are under weighed.  For example, getting your SO to get to that pirate themed circus ballet coming into town, you could show them pictures of the performers doing breakdance tricks.  It seems as if those pictures would be a good representation of the show so your SO underweights the possibility that it could be a crazy pirate themed circus ballet while still having the slight possibility that you could possibly be going to a breakdance show.  

Last but not least of these cognitive manipulation heuristics is competency.  Competency is when you allow the individual to feel as if they have control of the situation, when it’s just an illusion because the events are actually random.  Similar to gamblers fallacy.  Get your SO to go to that pirate themed circus ballet coming into town by letting them win a couple fake fights nearing the show date.  Your SO just overestimated their chance of winning by going to this show (in your eyes they would be, duh, pirate themed circus ballet). This heuristic works for losing as well, that the individual thinks they have a higher chance of winning if they have lost so many times.

*These heuristics of judgement and decision making aren’t proven to be 100% effective.

Does trusting your instincts make sense?

dilbert_heuristics

As we grow up we develop instincts. These are mental habits that we posses which help us to make everyday choices. These are the kinds of choices that don’t involved much thought at all, they are almost automatic. These quick habits that are “deep-wired and govern our decisions” are heuristics. We’ve been talking about them recently in class and I wanted to find out a little more with what they mean exactly.

Author, Wray Herbert  just-published On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits. 

Herbert does in depth on how heuristics can help or hurt us with our everyday decisions. Many of us are coming to the end of our college careers and at this moment our everyday decisions have a big impact on what happens to us in the next 4 weeks.  Heuristics are helpful for survival, Herbert refers to them as “having deep ancient evolutionary origins.”  He then defines a few that can really mess us up if we aren’t careful.  When applying these to our lives right now there is the “familiarity heuristic” which is being extremely familiar with something that it seems a safe way to go or do. This heuristic leads us o sick with what we have already done and not switching it up. At this point I feel like a lot of us who have been in college for four years now are comfortable with where we are the the habits we have developed. But there is a turning point now where we can’t skip a class here and there just because we have before. We can’t not turn in something or risk doing poorly in a class because there is still another semester or year to make it up. We have to alter our choices to ensure our “survival” of college which ultimately leads to graduation.

Another heuristic is the “scarcity heuristic” which in Hebert’s words means, if something is rare, it’s perceived as more valuable.  This can be good in helping us make choices that we wouldn’t usually make like getting up to go to the gym because you know for the rest of the day you will be sitting down and not moving so the gym is “rare” occasion.

There are many on each side of the good and bad of heuristics. I believe that you should trust your instincts but also we self-aware of the environment or situation that you are in. There is a reason we have our “gut” instinct but we should also be able to stop sometimes and recognize when we need to slow down and not make impulsive decisions.

 

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2010/09/20/does-trusting-your-instincts-make-sense

 

Study Tip: Spatial/Relational Studying

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a problem with flashcards. Teachers would tell me to make flashcards for vocabulary words, for example. I found that once I’d written the words on the card, and added their definitions, I could already remember which definitions matched which words. Since I could match the words and definitions accurately, studying the flashcards no longer felt necessary. The whole process felt redundant and unhelpful to me. But the problem was that just because I knew which word went with which definition, that didn’t mean I understood the term.

In class, we discussed maintenance rehearsal versus elaborative rehearsal. Maintenance rehearsal is rehearsing a piece of information enough to keep it active. In this rehearsal, it doesn’t ver really move into long-term memory. Elaborative rehearsal, however, is rehearsal that involves processing. It helps us move information into long-term memory. Learning isn’t just about repeated exposure (think of the penny or the Apple logo). Learning needs deeper levels of processing. This might involve imagery, meaning, or personal tie-ins. Learning that involves surface details or sound patterns just doesn’t stick as well. Research supports the textbook and the discussion we had in class. In a study by Craik and Tulving (1975), participants were asked to answer questions about words. Sometimes, the participants answered about the meaning of the word (deep). Other times, they answered about the sound/structure of the word (shallow). They were then asked to pick the original words out of a longer list. While the deep processing took longer, the subjects who semantically processed the words showed greater performance on the recall task.

My original study tip is developed from several sources: my personal study habits, our class discussion, the research, and a technique mentioned in class by a fellow student. In a discussion about the problems of flashcard usage and maintenance rehearsal, this student mentioned how one could create flashcards using class notes etc., but then instead of engaging in repetitive and rote memorization with those cards, attempt to categorize them instead. I felt that this would be a much more meaningful way to interact with the material. As I thought about this suggestion, and pondered my own study habits, I came up with my suggested study tip: Flowcharts

You’ll need a whiteboard (a gallon plastic bag around a white sheet of paper works, but the bigger the board the better. In the ITCC, there are tons of big white boards free for our use!), dry erase markers, and small cards/sticky notes. First, write out important pieces of information on the cards. These bits of info can be definitions, theories, categories, relationships, tasks, people, ideas, studies, aspects of studies, etc. For example, if you have notes on a scientist who did two studies, each of which had two main findings, write out a card for the scientist, each study’s basic details, and details on each of the findings. When you’re done with the information for the chapter, shuffle your cards. Next is the fun part.

diagram-empty-2Now, you want to take your cards and start sorting them into a flow chart! You can stick them up on the board, and use the markers to draw connecting lines and arrows. The most important part here is to emphasize relationships. Thinking about how your concepts interact is important for making them stick in your long-term memory. It’s much more effective than just memorizing!

flowchartPractice putting your cards in a linear/chronological flow and drawing arrows between steps. Show what came first conceptually, and influenced later steps. Then try a hierarchical structure. What are the overarching themes and categories, and the subcategories and details? How do they relate to each other? Don’t be afraid to draw tons of arrows! The more times you engage with the pieces of information in different ways, the more comfortable you’ll be with them.

Good luck studying!

Learning Disabilities and IQ

There seems to be a certain stigma we may encounter in school. People seem to associate poor grades and/or learning disabilities with having a low IQ. In reality, there are so many people who have accomplished such incredible things, even geniuses, who struggled in school and even dropped out because of it. Albert Einstein, for example, had learning disabilities and is still one of the most influential geniuses there is. In actuality, people with learning disabilities have average or above average IQ’s.

A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. The brain is simply wired differently in a way that can make receiving and processing information more difficult. This can lead to problems with reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, listening, and concentrating. There are several examples of learning disabilities. Dyslexia involves trouble understanding written words while Dyscalculia is difficulty with math. Also there is dysgraphia, a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letter or write within a defined space. These are only a few of the many types of learning disabilities there are. Many people with learning disabilities may do poorly in school as a result to these difficulties and may suffer with lower self-esteem or depression as a result.

little boy tired of reading

MRI studies have shown that there are brain differences in students with learning disabilities. These studies have found that the brain area involving matching sounds and letters is compromised in children with learning disorders. Also, FMRI studies show that frontal brain regions are important for high fluency levels in reading. More fluent readers have more active frontal regions of the brain than children with learning problems. Children with learning problems often show more activity in other parts of the brain while reading than others, like the parietal and occipital lobes.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that people with learning disabilities actually have average or above average intelligence. In a study done on 415 adolescents that were learning disabled, results showed that 43 of theses adolescents had an IQ score of 120 or higher. There is usually a large discrepancy between their ability and their achievement. Studies indicate that as many as 33% of individual with learning disabilities are gifted. A study done at Yale University found that in individuals with dyslexia, IQ and reading ability did not correlate. Dyslexic individuals with high IQ often had a slow reading pace. So, as you can see, these studies support the idea that learning disabilities and IQ are separate in nature and one does not tell you something about the other.

IQReading_web

The most important information to take away form this is to debunk the myth that learning disabilities of any kind or attentional problems such as ADHD mean you are stupid or lazy by any means. Teachers and students need to be understanding of students who may not process and learn information the way that everyone else does. They also should understand that just because someone is struggling with school doesn’t mean they are stupid or are not trying. Having a learning disability shouldn’t stop anyone from achieving their goals. People with these disabilities have a high capacity for knowledge and should not let certain learning problems interfere. In reality, with hard work, any student with these disabilities can succeed.

smile book

Sources:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/learning-disabilities/learning-disabilities-and-disorders.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6833499

http://dyslexia.yale.edu/Research_IQReading.html

http://www.apa.org/education/k12/brain-function.aspx

http://www.ldonline.org/ldbasics/whatisld

http://www.ist.hawaii.edu/training/hiddendisabilities/15_common_myths.php

Mindfulness Meditation May Boost Your Test Scores!

I recently became interested in using mindfulness to combat stress and reduce anxiety in order to increase my academic performance. But could mindfulness techniques straight up improve testing ability? An article from the Huffington post makes this claim, citing a “new study that shows mindfulness could help students perform better on tests by boosting their memory and comprehension skills”. I found this quite interesting and wanted to take a deeper look at the research.

In this study done by Michael D. Mrazek, participants were randomly placed in a two week mindfulness class or a nutrition class for two weeks.  The mindfulness class taught physical and mental strategies that helped people focus on the present moment. Participants were told to use this strategy throughout each day, and when they had of interrupting or intrusive thoughts.  To test progress and difference between the experimental and control  groups, the participants were assessed on a working memory capacity task as well as the verbal reasoning section of the GRE before and after the two week classes. The results were significant, showing that people who received mindfulness training had improved accuracy on the GRE and higher working memory capacity compared to the control group in the nutrition class. Analyses were run to conclude that the difference could be explained in part by the reduced mind-wandering during the tasks, a result of mindfulness training.

In a journal article for the Association for Psychological Science, Mrazek discussed the significance of his study, saying “Even with a rigorous design and effective training program, it wouldn’t be unusual to find mixed results, but we found reduced mind-wandering in every way we measured it and improved performance on both reading comprehension and working memory capacity.” Additionally the article reported that the same researches estimated that mindfulness training could result in an average 16 percentile point boost on the GRE!

In conclusion, this study supports the research hypothesis that ”Mindfulness training improved both GRE reading-comprehension score and working memory capacity while simultaneously reducing the occurrence of distracting thoughts during completion of the GRE”.

I found another peer reviewed article that is a systematic review of neuropsychological findings on the topic of mindfulness training and cognitive ability. It reviewed 23 studies on the topic and found that overall these studies showed “preliminary support for the notion that MMPs could provide significant benefits on several measures of cognition.”

Given this information, perhaps a new study tip would be to engage in mindfulness exercises each day before starting to study. Mindfulness allows you to focus on the present moment and encourages the dismissal of distracting thoughts. This could help you on tests, but also daily as you study for them. It goes without saying, if you are better able to concentrate while you are studying, you will remember more content. So, try out this guided mindfulness exercise before your next study session and let me know how it goes!

 

A Lean, Mean, Caffeine Machine

If you spot me around campus, odds are I have either a cup of coffee or a travel mug filled to the brim with a steaming cup of java. In class today, my professor asked me to do the math and figure out how many cups of coffee I’ve had so far this semester, and the number came out to around 315 with a margin of error of around 15. I grind my own beans, I use a French press, I revel in my knowledge of how to make the best cup of coffee (a very true statement). But how does coffee get us going? What is it about caffeine that makes college kids so dependent on the stuff that it’s almost like an addiction? Look no further, you caffeinated heaps of procrastination, because I’ve done the research for you!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e8/Adenosin.svg/1113px-Adenosin.svg.png

Meet Adenosine. Adenosine is not your friend. A study shows the effects of adenosine on the brain and how it is a part of our daily lives. To sum it up, our brains slowly produce more and more adenosine as the day drags on. As this neurotransmitter binds to its receptors, we begin to feel more relaxed, even tired. Adenosine and melatonin work hand in hand to promote sleep, so in a way, I suppose adenosine actually is your friend.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a1/Koffein_-_Caffeine.svg/2000px-Koffein_-_Caffeine.svg.png

This little molecule we know all too well. Behold, caffeine! Its (relatively) similar structure to adenosine means that it acts as an inhibitor to the adenosine receptors. As the caffeine binds to these receptors, the adenosine cannot and therefore we don’t have the calming effects from it and therefore become more jittery and less tired. The brain also sees these somewhat foreign molecules as a threat and triggers the adrenal gland to start producing more adrenaline to attack them. This increase in adrenaline also allows us to become more alert and causes the dependency effect.

What does this mean for cognition? Well, since caffeine imitates the effect we receive from sleeping, we basically have to look at the effects of getting enough sleep and clearing away all the accumulated adenosine. Studies show that sleep deprivation takes away from your cognitive abilities, including, but not limited to, slower reaction times, reduced fine motor skills, inability to focus attention, the list goes on, really. So when we drink caffeine, we prevent or slow down those effects and that allows us to become the A-student we’ve always wanted to be.

There is a downside to every college student’s moderate to severe (to lethal) dependency upon caffeine, however. As more and more caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors and the actual adenosine molecules can’t be absorbed, the brain creates more receptors to accommodate for this change. As a result, you end up becoming more tired in the long run because your brain requires more caffeine to have the same inhibitory effect. In fact, a study conducted by Bertil Freedhold that I couldn’t actually obtain because I don’t have a Google Books account but read the abstract for tells us that after a week-long dosage of caffeine to lab rats, the number of adenosine receptors in their tiny little brains was increased by about 25%.

So, when you reach for that 316th cup of coffee, take into consideration the fact that you’ll actually end up being more tired in the long run. Just a thought.

Note taking by using computer makes you better recall

When you get into the college, have you ever agonized about your note-taking skills? For me, studying in high school and studying in college was drastically different. Professors talk about a variety of fields and I have to remember all of the main points and examples at the same time. Thus, my freshman grade was pretty bad and I had to take advice from my parents and professors to improve my study skills. There are many ways to review what you’ve learned, but this journal gave me a new perspective of recalling memory. You might’ve had to take notes by using a computer instead of hand writing them. If you have a lecture where your professor talks really fast or talks a lot, you might have used or thought to use a computer to take notes.

The study I want to share is about improving memory recollection by using the alternative note-taking skill I’ve previously mentioned; transcribing by using a computer. This experiment was conducted by Dung C. Bui, Joel Myerson, and Sandra Hale of Washington University. They hypothesized three things, but here, I want to focus on the first experiment. The researchers wanted to compare taking notes by hand with taking notes using a computer in terms of their effects on test performance. The researchers gathered eighty undergraduate students and tested free recall and short answer after showing them a lecture. There were four conditions: Hand_organized, Hand_transcribed, Computer_organized, Computer_transcribed. As a result, there was more recall when using a computer than when using your hand to take notes when transcribing a lecture. This study explained the limitations of writing by hand due to the speed of writing and the length of time. Also, considering the aspect of the quantity of the notes, working memory had a relationship with recall ability. In another blog, I found a study where students who took notes using a computer wrote an average of 310 words per lecture while students who took notes by hand wrote an average of 173 words. This number supports the finding that using the computer is much faster in inputting words.

Summarizing shortly about the second and third experiment, organized notes were better in recalling delayed test performance than transcribed notes, but not for immediate test performance. Also, in terms of note-quantity, if the note was transcribed, the quantity could be greater. Next, the researcher hypothesized that working memory is related to recalling. In addition, working memory is essential for effective note-taking. If there is an individual difference, it is due to the variance of working memory abilities that have an effect on organized notes, not on transcribed notes. So the second and third experiments were vital to support the first experiment and explain the exempted situations.

Myself, I like taking transcribed notes by hand or paraphrasing what the professor is saying in my notes. This type of skill is good for weekly quizzes but not for the mid-term or final exam. According to this research, I should have taken notes based on transcribed notes for the final. Especially if I am going to write transcribed notes during the lecture, I think I’d better use my laptop than my hand so that I don’t have to always ask the professor about points I missed. If you were worrying about your own note-taking style, this research might help you develop the proper studying-skills for each situation. Again, this is based on the result of test performance. The strong point of this research is it defines the situations well so that you don’t doubt any exceptions or questions in your mind. The conclusion is shortly after using your computer, you can write a lot during class especially if it is typed. Yet, there are a lot of situations that need another style of note-taking skill. I hope that you, the reader, will use this post to switch between note taking skills. If you haven’t tried to do so, I think that this is a good method to study.

Yoga and the Brain

I have always been a huge fan of yoga ever since I can remember. However, I fell more in love with it when I came to college and was immediately bombarded by stress and endless nights with no sleep. After three years of constant deadlines, never-ending readings, papers, back to back exams, and extracurricular activities- yoga became my comfort.

Every time I step into the yoga studio I practice at, I found that I was able to leave all the stress and worry at the door (something that is extremely difficult to do) and just allowed myself to be filled with silence, calmness, and peace that I was not able to find anywhere else. There has not been one day that I have left that studio without feeling at least a little bit better and recharged.

There has been numerous research done that supports yoga in decreasing stress. You’ve probably heard and read about it before. Yes, it helps lowers blood pressure. Yes, it helps increase flexibility. Yes, it helps improve muscle tone. However, does it do any good for the brain?

A research study done in Harvard which was published in the Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging claims that meditation actually changes the structure of our brains.

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar mentioned that this study demonstrates the idea that people who practice meditation are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing but because changes in brain structure are actually occurring.

In this study, the brains of 16 participants who took part in an 8-week “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program” at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness were measured by taking magnetic resonance images of their brains two weeks before they took part in the meditation program and again two weeks after they have completed the program.

After analyzing the images of the brains, Lazar and her research team found that there was actually an increase in grey matter density in the hippocampus of the brain, which is known to be correlated to learning and memory. Along with this, they found a decrease in grey matter density in the amygdala of the brain, which is known to be correlated to stress and anxiety, or the “fight or flight” part of the brain.

This TED talk by Sara Lazar herself highlights her experiences with yoga and meditation and talks about the study she did at Harvard:

After reading about and researching more about yoga and meditation, I have come to one conclusion: “I am not about to stop practicing yoga for a very long time.”

The practice of yoga and meditation has numerous benefits and now, with further research, we have found that it actually changes the structure of our brains for the better.

So the next time you have that huge test/paper coming up, take just 20 minutes, turn the lights off, and meditate. Guaranteed, you will feel better rested and more likely to be productive with your work.

 

Chronic stress and memory loss

When it comes to memory loss we often think of diseases like Alzheimer’s or traumatic brain injuries. As college students, we don’t think of the reasons as to why we forget our books in our cars or why that assignment slipped out minds. We simply put it to being absent minded or the fact that we have other things going on that distract us.  Stress isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when as a reason we forget things. However a recent study done in 2010 suggests that it may be the cause.

The study, A critical review of chronic stress effects on spatial learning and memory by Cheryl Conrad suggests that chronic stress vs. acute or high-levels of stress actually reduce spatial memory.  We have been learning recently about spatial memory, which is in charge of being familiar with our environment. We need our spatial memory to find our way around campus, We also need it for our spatial working memory to temporarily keep information while we take a test or work on an assignment. These qualities are extremely important in the daily lives of college students.

Researchers at the University of Iowa found the connection between the hormone found in stress-cortisol and short-term memory with rats. The amount of cortisol reduced the number of synaptic connections made in the pre-frontal cortex reducing the success of short-term memory.

There is a difference between long-term memory and stress. If the stress is acute or high such as experiencing an earthquake or getting into a car accident, your memory is actually improved and the ability to recall these events are easier because they are stored in the area responsible for survival. Low levels of chronic stress or anxiety can alter the brain and cause damage to memory. White matter in the brain is increases with stress, this is good for sending signals such as messages across the brain but reduces neurons that are in charge of information processing. This is shown in research on PTSD patients with increased white matter and long-term stress.

Researchers at Berkley suggest that the effects of long-term stress and anxiety in the younger generation may be the cause for mood disorders, learning disabilities and anxiety. From this I think we can all take the suggestions to reduce stress in our lives and manage a healthy balance. Anything from saying no to an extra meeting here and there or going for a walk on a nice day to get out of the office. We all need to practice self-care so we can take care of our memories in the long run.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/17/health/memory-stress-link/