What good is a fight-or-flight response if you can’t tell when danger is present? That’s why when you become stressed, the focus of your attention automatically shifts. You instinctively go on high alert, scanning your surroundings and analyzing the situation to look for any warning signs of trouble. You become preoccupied with the stressor.
Although truly life-threatening dangers are few and far between in today’s modern world, the human mind still reacts to a perceived threat the same way it did in prehistoric times. And because we now use our minds for many tasks other than staying alive, when you become preoccupied with a stressor, it’s going to sap your brain of the mental energy that you’d otherwise use for things such as paying attention in a conversation, learning and memorizing facts in school, focusing and concentrating on a task at work, and thinking logically about how to solve a problem. [Read more…] about Shifts in Attention and Alertness