Preserve memory by clearing stress

As well as being associated with other serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, depression and accelerated aging, stress has been shown to have a negative impact on your long-term memory.

Some studies, such as one run by the University of Waterloo in Canada, found that some levels of anxiety can actually increase short-term memory due to stress hormones keeping your senses on high alert. However, stress makes it harder for your brain to convert these short-term memories into long-term memories.

Fortunately, this means that you may be able to improve your long-term memory by reducing your stress levels.

Make a list
It is important to identify the sources of stress in your life. Stress may seem like a part of daily life for some people, caused by work deadlines, pressure in relationships and financial concerns. While these concerns may not have simple solutions, it can be helpful to eliminate smaller causes of anxiety.

Make a list of all the things that are causing you stress, however large or small. Order them from the easiest to the hardest to take care of. This will help you feel more confident about tackling your worries.

Meditate
Meditation has a number of benefits, of which reducing stress levels is just one. Meditation options are available on free streaming platforms such as YouTube, or you can use popular paid apps such as headspace.

Avoid stressful situations
This can include people, places and activities. While you may feel obligated to take on the concerns of people around you, it is important to learn that your own mental health is a priority and that it is okay to say ‘no’ to taking on more than you can handle.

Exercise
Research has shown that physical activity is linked to reduced stress levels and increased happiness. Activities as simple as walking, stretching and even gardening have a positive impact on your stress levels and may lead to improved long-term memory.

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Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Related articles:
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How to use your brain to stress less
How age affects our stress reactions

Written by Liv Gardiner

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