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Anxiety and memory problems
rohvannyn posted:
Frequently when I feel anxious it is as if my memory is made of swiss cheese. I don't remember things that were very clearly stated by others and understood by me just a few hours ago, or sometimes I remember things but don't take them into account in my actions. How common are memory problems like this? Any strategies or solutions that have helped others? I suspect it's mainly the additional work that my brain is doing chasing its own tail, so the solution to me would be to fix the anxiety and the memory problems would go away, but I wanted another persepctive.
Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
Memory under stressful conditions can be elusive and that's when it's time, as you said, to decrease the stress/anxiety and begin using some things that help you with your memory.

One, let's deal with the anxiety. First, repeating things to yourself can help and reassuring yourself that you can do this will also help (positive self-talk).

Two, view our relaxation video tutorial in our Tips column, use it several times a day and, if you have 4 minutes, go to my Youtube channel and watch the relaxation video of a beach scene I have there. You will also find it on my website ( on the Videos page. But learn that breathing, use it and use it often.

Third, keep a small note book and pen with you at all times and keep notes; reminders, due dates, details, etc. Memory isn't something you need to totally depend on; use tools.

Fourth, begin to get some mild/moderate exercise and do some things you really enjoy; sports, hobbies, etc. It's a part of balancing your life and that's what you need--balance.

Okay, try it and let us know how you do.

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