Anxiety and Cognitive Function

How It Affects Your Ability to Think?

If you’ve ever experienced anxiety before, you might already know that it comes with a host of negative side effects. In addition to causing depression and fatigue, anxiety can also have a significant impact on your cognitive functions.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that prepares us to respond to perceived threats in the environment. When we’re anxious, our bodies are flooded with stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which help us to respond quickly to the threat by activating the “fight or flight” response. While this response is beneficial in certain situations, it’s not always helpful when the threat is largely perceived rather than real. 

How Does Anxiety Affect Your Cognitive Functioning?

When you’re feeling anxious, your thoughts become focused on all the things that could go wrong, which in turn leads to feelings of stress, worry, and fear. This can be really challenging if you need to think and act rationally, such as when you’re studying, at work, or performing another mental task. Anxiety can cause poor memory and concentration and can make it more difficult to retain new information. This is because the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the process of consolidating new information in your long-term memory. Anxiety can also cause you to overthink and ruminate, which can affect your cognitive functions by making it more difficult to think logically, reason. and concentrate.

4 Strategies to Help You Manage Anxiety and Its Effects on Cognitive Functioning

There are a number of strategies you can adopt to help you manage your anxiety better, in order to reduce its negative side effects on your cognitive functions. 

  1. Managing Your Anxiety Levels. The first and most important thing you can do to improve your cognitive functioning while experiencing anxiety is to manage your anxiety levels. 
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of therapy that aims to change the way you respond to and think about situations in your day-to-day life, in order to relieve anxiety and related symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). CBT encourages you to view situations from a different perspective, to change the way you think, and to challenge the thoughts that cause you anxiety. 
  3. Meditation. Another effective way to help you manage stress and reduce anxiety levels is to practice meditation. In the Sensera app you can find many useful meditations and exercises which will encourage you to focus on the present moment, release your anxiety, and become more mindful and self-aware.
  4.  Regular exercise. Regular exercise is another great way to reduce anxiety and improve your cognitive functions, such as your ability to think, reason, make decisions and solve problems. Exercise regulates your nervous system, helps to release stress, and can even reduce the amount of cortisol in your blood, which can help to improve your cognitive functions.

Anxiety is a common mental challenge that can make it difficult to think clearly, make good decisions, and perform tasks effectively. To make matters worse, anxiety can also negatively affect your cognitive functions such as your ability to think, reason, make decisions and solve problems. 

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