Health tip of the day: make small talk

Getting to know a stranger can improve mental function and memory

Most of us don’t think we have the time or energy to make small talk with people we don’t know, know well, or care much about, but it actually can do you a lot of good.

A study in the University of Michigan found that casually talking to other people, the way you do when getting to know a stranger or bumping into someone you don’t know well, can improve mental function and memory.

A brief 10-minute conversation boosted the study’s participants’ ability to perform an array of common cognitive tasks. The effect was comparable to the benefits of solving a crossword puzzle. Having a quick conversation might be the easier route.