If you think being under pressure helps you perform better then you're lying to yourself. Stress plays a major role in the ability to use cognitive processes and to think critically. As stress levels increase, adrenal and pituitary glands release certain chemicals that increase the heart rate to make the body run from danger. If there is no immediate danger, the stress hormones that were released remain in the body, continually promoting uneasiness and increasing stress levels. When the stress hormone cortisol accumulates too much, it can damage brain cells, affecting memory and other cognitive processes. Stressors consume the brain’s energy, preventing other functions, and create irrational, illogical thought. Stress also overworks the amygdala, the emotion-regulating part of the brain, resulting in the inability of the prefrontal cortex to engage in critical thinking.
This presentation looks at how stress affects our ability to think critically and reduces our ability to make practical decisions and what we can to better control stress during critical moments.