The Key To Happiness: A Good Memory

17/09/2010 11:39 | Updated 22 May 2015

It's time to go back to the brain training games as a UK researcher says a good working memory is the key to a happy and successful life.

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Dr Tracy Alloway of the University of Stirling examined how having a good working memory could affect life satisfaction, with previous research suggesting people with good memories have better jobs and relationships.

Working memory, or short-term memory, refers to the ability to hold information in your mind while doing complex mental tasks - so it's about keeping stuff in your head and processing it at the same time.

By studying 1,200 people, Dr Alloway discovered those who had the best working memories were more optimistic, more confident and more capable of coping with problems than those who had the lowest memory scores.

The volunteers who had poor working memories were, by comparison, more pessimistic and more likely to brood, which means they are more likely to be depressed more often than the high scorers.

What's your score?

Quite how having a good working memory is linked to happiness isn't clear. But if you want to check your working memory try this test, developed for the BBC by Professor Logie of the University of Edinburgh.

To improve your working memory, give your brain a regular work-out with puzzles or brain training games. Or try using your left hand more (if you're right-handed, that is), which helps create new neural connections in your brain.

What do you think is the key to happiness? Share your happy tips.


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