Stress, Anxiety Affecting Cognition, Youngest Workers Particularly Impacted
Chronic stress and anxiety are known to diminish cognition. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that working adults are showing signs of cognitive difficulties. In fact, the longer U.S. workers continue to endure elevated levels of stress and anxiety, the greater the likelihood of decreased cognition.
With employees’ brains stuck in fight-or-flight mode due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the brain’s capacity for higher-level, intense reasoning, planning and innovating is compromised.
COVID-19 has impacted cognition for workers across all age groups. However, according to The Mental Health Index data, younger adults may be struggling more to adapt. The 20-39 age group of working adults was the only group in which focus declined from May to June. Also, productivity decreased by 25 percent among this age group since February, whereas productivity was not lower in those 40 and older.
Ultimately, when individuals are anxious and afraid, it becomes harder to complete complex tasks. While some workers are showing signs of adapting to sustained mental and emotional pressure brought on by the pandemic, the reality is that many employees are having difficulty concentrating, completing tasks in a timely manner, thinking and reasoning, and juggling responsibilities.