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Reduce Draining Mental Stress by Guest Author Natalie Gahrmann

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Reduce Draining Mental Stress by Guest Author Natalie Gahrmann

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Stress will drain your ability to remember

Stress will drain your ability to remember

Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you have too much on your plate. Your ‘to-do’ list is likely several pages long and your plate is overflowing with activities and responsibilities, many that you didn’t even put there yourself. Often, you may feel like your mind is going to explode because you have so many things stored in it that you must remember.

When I meet with clients who are feeling this way, they tell me that they feel like they can’t get anything done even though they’re trying their best. They express feelings of inadequacy, overwhelm, stress and frustration. They feel scattered!

Although these clients usually have a to-do list, they also keep a running list of all the things they have to do in their minds. This is the primary cause of mental stress! My clients expend a lot of energy worrying about these things, even though 87% of what we worry about either never happens or is totally out of our control anyway!

Studies indicate that when we pay attention to a piece of information, it enters our short-term memory. Typically we can only hold 5-9 pieces of simple information in our short-term memory. If this information is not acted on or encoded it goes away. Therefore, to keep information available we need to get it into our working memory. Working memory is like a vehicle that transports information from short-term into long-term memory. Working memory will transport something that fits into an existing memory, much like a filing cabinet storing data.

Once you get information into your long-term memory, you’ve made progress, but then you have to get it out. Working memory files information into long-term memory. These files are not easily accessed—-we often need reminders. And it’s easier and more efficient to recognize something than to try to recall it from scratch.

The important key to reducing the stress of forgetting things or not being able to recall them is to have a system for organizing material as it comes at you and then being able to take action. Neither system will operate effectively if left in your head though. You need to get this out of your head and into easily accessible files on your computer or in a series of reminders for action in your daily management system (e.g., MS Outlook). You can reduce mental draining stress by de-cluttering your mind.

Read more about stress at Harmony at Work. This blog was contributed by by Guest Author Natalie Gahrmann

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