Improve your memory with a simple hand trick

Researchers at Montclair State University in New Jersey have found a simple, instant way to boost your ability to recall anything you want to memorize. And instead of making your brain work harder at it — you just need to get your hands involved.

The key to a better memory is in a little mind-bending trick you can do with your hands. You’ll have to put both of them to work as they both have very important roles: One will help you memorize and the other will help you with recall.

According to the research at Montclair, it works like this…

If you clench your right hand when trying to form a firm memory of a name or event, your ability to recollect it will improve. Plus, later on, when you are dredging your memory for what you are trying to bring to mind, clenching your left fist will then help boost your recall ability.

“(Our) findings suggest that some simple body movements — by temporarily changing the way the brain functions — can improve memory,” says researcher Ruth Propper. “Future research will examine whether hand clenching can also improve other forms of cognition, for example verbal or spatial abilities.”

In the tests done by these scientists, they found that right-hand fist clenching for 90 seconds when learning new information (in this case people memorized words) followed by clenching the left-hand for 90 seconds when recalling the information, significantly boosted the ability to remember.

Why does this hand trick work? Scientists believe that fist clenching helps memory because it stimulates brain neurons that take part in memorization.

The researchers say, however, that while their work focused on word memorization, they can’t say whether fist clenching will help in remembering where your keys are or recalling the face of someone you just met. But I think it’s worth a try.

Of course tricks like this won’t work half as well if you’re not taking care of your brain with brain-boosting nutrients and making sure it gets the rest it needs. Omega-3 fatty acids, like you get from salmon and olive oil, should be your brain’s best friend, and even coffee has been shown to stimulate brain activity related to memory recall. And then there’s sleep, which is vital at helping nerve signals and brain cells connect. You need at least 8 hours.

So if you’re doing all these things to help your brain be the best it can be, give the hand trick a try and let us know how it goes.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.