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Struggling To Remember A Word? Clench Your Fist

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself struggling to remember a word that seems to just be at the tip of your tongue. Well, it normally happens to a lot of us. Fortunately, it seems that there’s an easy trick to solve this type of problem, and it’s as simple as clenching your fist!

It might sound weird, but a new study suggests that the simple act of clenching your fist can actually help boost your memory. The conclusion goes like this: if you want to recall a memory, you have to clench your left hand, and if you want to form a memory, you have to clench your right.

According to the researchers, clenching your fist in one of your hands will increase brain activity on the opposite side of your body a minute after. Clenching your right hand activates the left hemisphere of your brain, and it’s been associated with experiencing emotions that are controlled by your left brain. 

Meanwhile, clenching your left hand can bring on emotions like anxiety and sadness, likewise referred to as “withdrawal” emotions”. It’s also the reason why a lot of athletes tend to perform better, even when under pressure, if they clench their left hand.

How the Conclusion is Drawn

The conclusion has been drawn after an experiment in which 51 right-handed participants were divided into different groups and assigned various activities that involve recalling 72 words and memorizing.

One group of participants clenched their right hands for 90 seconds, after which they’re given a list of words they should memorize. They’re then instructed to clench their right hands once more after recalling the words.

Another group also did the same, except that they clenched their left hands instead. Meanwhile, a third group didn’t do any clenching at all. A fourth group clenched their left hands before memorizing then clenched their right before recalling. The last group also did the same except that their order of clenching hands was reversed.

According to the study, the group that showed the most positive results was the last group which clenched their right hands followed by their left. Study research Ruth Propper mentioned that several simple body movements can help improve memory by simply changing how the brain functions temporarily. 

She stated that clenching the right fist will activate a region in the brain involved in memory retention. Meanwhile, clenching the left fist will activate a region in the brain responsible for retrieving those stored memories.