Anxiety can take its toll on memory. There are multiple factors at play. To begin with, people suffering from stress and anxiety are less likely to encode what they experience into their memories. If the mind is focused on one thing, it is harder to pay attention to what is going on around us and to put that information into memory. Thoughts can go in one ear and out the other without ever really being saved in memory.
Another factor at play is an inhibited ability to pull things out of our memories when we feel anxious or stressed. The recall can be delayed or sometimes just blocked. The memories can be in our minds, but our ability to pull them out can be inhibited.There is also research that chronic long-term stress and anxiety can lead to permanent impairment of our memory. All of these reasons make developing coping skills for stress and anxiety so very important. The good news is that there is help, and developing healthy coping skills can help us to positively improve.