The Effects of Excessive Stress on the Mind

  1. When a lawyer is presented with excessive stress at work, the amygdala releases adrenaline and cortisol, triggering the “flight or fight” response to deal with the immediate threat. While the stress is related to work, the brain responds as if it is a threat to the lawyer's life.
  2. The amygdala overwhelms the pre-frontal cortex for rapid physical response (which Daniel Goleman in his book "Emotional Intelligence" refers to as an “Amygdala Hijack”).
  3. In this state of arousal, the stressed lawyer has reduced ability to think rationally, consider other perspectives and make decisions on complex matters.
  4. She is more likely to react emotionally and impulsively, with poorer consequential thinking.