I just want to clear up the distinction between the terms I’ve been using:
- Mental burden refers to all of the thoughts and worries that occupy the mind. Thoughts can be productive or unproductive, but too much of mental burden can stifle learning, problem solving, and innovation.
- Cognitive load refers to the amount of mental energy you have to devote to a specific task. Cognitive load is not inherently bad. But extraneous cognitive load is a problem and increases unproductive mental burden.
- Stress can be physical or mental, triggering hormonal changes like an increase in cortisol. Mental burden that overwhelms working memory causes stress.