August 17, 2022

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Epidemic stress affects memory: 6 strategies to combat it

Epidemic stress affects memory: 6 strategies to combat it

The extraordinary context that the epidemic, which has been going on for months, is affecting mental health (Reuters/Luisa Frady)

Two years into the pandemic, the health system, medical professionals and the entire population are too tired and tiredMaintaining health protocols and social distancing were necessary measures but had a very significant impact on the mental health of all people globally.

To add stress and anxiety, On November 24, the Omicron variant was discovered in South Africa, and in a few weeks it turned the world upside down again, with a record number of injuries, new restrictions and cancellations for New Year’s celebrations. Thousands of workers have returned to remote work, and stores and bars in Europe have reintroduced strict working hours. The year is ending and Ómicron is raising uncertainty about what 2022 will look like.

This extraordinary context, spanning months, affects mental health, Without a doubt. With all this pressure, social isolation and turmoil, It is not surprising that everyone feels the effects of the pandemic in their daily lives, even if they are more forgetful or distracted.. Perhaps he found himself unable to rRemember a common term, What day is it or why did you enter the room. Experts say Prolonged stress can affect people’s daily memory and cognitive abilities.

“If we’re under a lot of stress, it can sometimes negatively affect information retrieval,” said Daniel Schacter, professor of psychology and director of Harvard’s Shakter Memory Lab. A NBC News.

If the coronavirus occupies a large cognitive space, its impact on mental health will increase.  And it may be different, for example when we hear about a new variant like Omicron"Experts warn (Reuters / Cheney Orr)
If the coronavirus occupies a large cognitive space, its impact on mental health will increase. And it can differ, for example, when we learn about a new variant like the Omicron,” experts warned (REUTERS/Cheney Orr)

One effect is “locking”, where the information is available in memory but we can’t get it back when we want to.Schacter, author of The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers. “The tip of the tongue phenomenon that we are all familiar with may be an example of blockage,” he said. “There is good research showing that people, if you put them in a stressful situation, will have more barriers to recovery and tip-of-the-tongue experiences.”

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else The effect is a distraction, that “when there is” sort of happens We crash at the interface of attention and memory, and we forget to do things because we’re not really focused. “It would probably happen if someone cared too much about the coronavirus pandemic,” said the Harvard expert.

Not everyone will suffer from these effects, Shakter said. It may depend on how people feel about epidemic stress: “If the coronavirus occupies a large cognitive space, its impact on mental health will increase. And it can vary, for example when we hear about a new variant like the Omicron. That can add a little stress and distraction.”

Stress combined with fatigue, boredom, and isolation hampers our growth and cognitive development..

Experts say prolonged stress can affect people's daily memory and cognitive abilities (Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images)
Experts say prolonged stress can affect people’s daily memory and cognitive abilities (Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images)

“We should never think that you can put all humans into the same reaction and say that this is how they will deal with the epidemic, because there is no one way in which everyone can deal with the situation.”Psychologist Alison Holman, a stress researcher and professor at UCSD, told NBC News.

Which is Strategies to reduce epidemic stress Memory skills are sharpened, here are the details.

1 – Social communication, even from a distance

“Stress combined with fatigue, boredom, and isolation significantly impairs our growth and cognitive development,” explained Annie Caligian, a psychotherapist in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.People are social creatures and all of this social distancing can affect our mental health and memory function.“.

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If face-to-face contact is reduced, effort for human interaction still needs to be made. This can only mean Talking on the phone with family members or walking with friends outside. Caligian said a nature walk can be especially beneficial. A star in nature with the sun, and if there is no sun, only fresh air is very healing. And while you exercise, which helps to relax the nervous system. This anxiety goes away when you exert yourself physically.”

2- Enjoy the weekend

For those who have returned to work from home, according to the arrangement of several European countries, toWeekdays can be easily mixed up with weekends, which results in significant blurring. ‘A lot of my patients talk about’hard day“, that every day is the same, as if they had to look and circle their calendar to see what day it is because it is so repetitive,” Caligian said.

It is recommended that you try to break this routine by making an effort to create space for play and fun. “Do things differently on weekends, especially if weekdays are monotonous because you work on Zoom all day,” the specialist said.

Connecting with nature takes us away from the monotonous routine of the pandemic (EFE/Carlos Ortega/File)
Connecting with nature takes us away from the monotonous routine of the pandemic (EFE/Carlos Ortega/File)

3- Prepare to forget

“I think you can counteract a lot of distraction by trying to structure your environment,” Schacter said. “So, for example, distracted forgetfulness is not remembering where you left your keys or glasses. And one way to try to structure the environment around this is to always define a specific place where you put these things “.

If you’re having trouble remembering appointments or other actions to take at specific times, put appropriate reminders on your phone, Schacter advised.

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4 – Meditation

“Fear can affect our memories and hinder memories,” Caligian said. To resist fear and negative thoughts, he recommended meditation.

Meditation gives us positive thoughts, positive energy and a peaceful mindCalm worries and fears.

Pausing and letting go of anxiety and negative thoughts can help you cope with pandemic stress.  Meditation helps break up (Getty Images)
Pausing and letting go of anxiety and negative thoughts can help you cope with pandemic stress. Meditation helps break up (Getty Images)

5- Make a to-do list

If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the pandemic life, you may find it difficult to focus well or focus your attention on one thing in particular.Psychologist Lily Brown, director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania, told NBC News.

That’s because these activities usually require a great deal of mental capacity.“And I think if he runs out of his reserves, he won’t have them.” One way to deal with feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do is Write everything in a listBrown said.

6- Looking to the future

The pandemic has completely changed our sense of timeHolman said. This can cause people to lose track of the day or time of day. “If you find yourself in a really stressful situation, the first thing you will do is try to figure out ‘What do I do to deal with this current situation in my present moment? “So you are very present-oriented.”

Looking ahead, making plans for later in the day, weekend, or summer vacation, and doing so can bring us happiness..

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