Happy Memories

Kid having fun on the beach shore

Remember the happiest day of your life?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying you probably remember a LOT about it! Could positivity be the key to keeping our memories fresh?

Emily Hittner and colleagues put their minds to it.

They recruited a thousand people between the ages of forty and sixty, and checked in with them several times over the next decades. During the check-ins, participants rated how happy they had been feeling. Then they took a memory test – remembering a list of random words. They had to repeat them immediately after reading them, and again after fifteen minutes.

Results? People who reported feeling enthusiastic, active, and proud had the BEST recall — even after ten years!

Everybody ages. While there are ways to help keep your face looking young, your brain is another story. More study is needed to pinpoint just what “happy factors” help retain memory the most.

So next time you’re at the store, just think how wonderful dinner can be! It just might help you remember the celery.

Hittner, E. F., Stephens, J. E., Turiano, N. A., Gerstorf, D., Lachman, M. E., Haase, C. M. Positive Affect Is Associated With Less Memory Decline: Evidence From a 9-Year Longitudinal Study. Psychological Science. Online First. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620953883