Wednesday, June 29, 2022

How Stress and Your Routines — Even Healthy Ones —May Feed Off Each Other

In an effort to save energy and cognitive resources, the stressed brain prioritizes old habits and routines over purposeful, deliberative action

Distressed dogs tend to repeatedly lick their forelegs and paws. Happy and healthy dogs also do this, but stressed dogs do it more. In severe cases, they lick so frequently that they develop bald patches and skin ulcers.

“Habits demand less cognitive effort, and thus become our default mode of behavior when stressed.”

“If stress accelerates the shift from deliberate, flexible behavior to habitual, rigid responding… this may be one route through which stress biases our cognition in a way that increases the risk for a mental disorder.”

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