Have you ever been introduced to someone new and almost instantly forgot their name? How about heading into the grocery store and forgetting what you even went in there for? We all have those moments where our mind seems to slip away, and we simply can’t recall what we just learned or were thinking about.
Brief moments of forgetfulness are normal but often occur more as we age. If they occur too frequently, it could indicate early dementia and should be mentioned to your doctor. But if you are just experiencing sporadic lapses in memory, we know a trick that can help boost your recall by at least 15 percent.
The next time you think of something to buy at the grocery store or learn someone’s name, clench your fist. A study published in PLOS ONE suggests clenching your fists while learning something new can strengthen your memory and boost recall.
The study asked 51 people to memorize and recall a list of 36 words. Before and after the test the participants were asked to squeeze a ball in either their left or right hand.
Researchers found that those who squeezed a ball in their right hand prior to memorizing and clenched their left hand prior to recall had higher scores by up to 15 percent, compared to the group with idle hands.
So why does hand-clenching work to boost memory recall? When you clench your hands the part of the brain that controls memory becomes activated. More specifically, clenching the right hand triggers the left hemisphere of the brain, which is responsible for memory formation, and clenching the left hand triggers the right hemisphere, which is responsible for memory recall.
The ball in the study was clenched for a total of 90 seconds prior to the memorization and the recall. Don’t worry if you don’t have a ball to squeeze, simply clenching your hands is equally beneficial.
The next time you have to remember a phone number, name or even grocery list, clench your right hand before taking in the information and your left hand when you need to recall it.
Aside from hand clenching, there are other easy ways to instantly boost your memory, which you can use when your brain is acting a bit foggy.