The Easy Trick That Helps You Remember Almost Anything

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Instead of panicking that you’re suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s every time you blank on someone’s name, can’t remember your email password, or figure out where you put your wallet, you might want to take a deep breath and close your eyes.

Seriously: According to a study from the University of Surrey (via the Daily Mail), shutting your eyes and taking a beat instead of maniacally racking your brain could be the key to recalling things you’ve forgotten.

In the experiment, two groups of people were shown a series of short films, and afterwards had to answer questions about what they’d seen. Half of the participants responded with their eyes closed and answered 71% of the questions correctly, while the other half answered with open eyes and had a 48% success rate.

As to why shutting your eyes might help you remember? Researchers chalk it up to the very logical idea that blocking out the outside world—even momentarily—can free up necessary brainpower, boosting recall.

With a little regular maintenance, the mind can become razor-sharp and ready to tackle any challenge and absorb new information. Keep the brain in tip-top shape by making regular habits out of the following activities.

Work Out
Lifting weights and doing cardio carry a host of physical benefits (see: almost everything on this site), but turns out exercise can also improve learning and memory Spatial memory is improved by aerobic and resistance exercise through divergent molecular mechanisms. Cassilhas, R.C., Lee, K.S. et al. Psychobiology and Exercise Research Center, CEPE, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Neuroscience, 2012 Jan 27; 202:309-17. . If your thoughts are muddled, try taking a brisk walk or heading to the gym. One study found that memory and cognitive processing (the ability to think clearly) improved after a single 15-minute exercise session Exercise holds immediate benefits for affect and cognition in younger and older adults. Hogan, C.L., Mata, J. et al. Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. Psychology and Aging, 2013 Jun; 28(2):587-94. .

Meditate
Regularly getting your om on isn’t just great for managing stress, it also improves memory, impulse control, and attention span.

Eat Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
PUFAs (particularly omega-3 fatty acids) are crucial for brain function and help control the brain’s learning and memory centers Polyunsaturated fatty acids as putative cognitive enhancers. Yehuda, S. Department of Psychology, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. Medical Hypotheses, 2012 Oct; 79(4):456-61. Collaborative effects of diet and exercise on cognitive enhancement. Gomez-Pinilla, F. Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. USA. Nutrition and Health, 2011; 20(3-4):165-9. . Salmon is a famously terrific source of omega-3s, but other fish, such as herring and mackerel, contain a similar amount. Meat-free sources of PUFAs include walnuts, peanuts, and chia and pumpkin seeds. Continue reading The Easy Trick That Helps You Remember Almost Anything