"Stress absolutely affects memory," says clinical psychologist and behaviorist Dr. Jennifer Guttman. Read on for more about why that is… but maybe stop and do some deep breathing for relaxation first, because what's the point if you're just going to forget this anyway?
The high cost of high cortisol
Cortisol is pretty important when it comes to keeping you alive. Your adrenal glands secrete cortisol when your blood sugar is low and when you're stressed. That's all fine and dandy if stress comes in short bursts, but when it's an ongoing state, those high levels of cortisol can be corrosive (metaphorically) to the brain.
"When someone is stressed, cortisol is released to help them get through that event as a chemical boost for survival," says psychologist Dr. Paul DePompo. "The problem is when you stay at high levels of stress, you get an over influx of cortisol. Research has shown this leads to short-term memory loss."