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Can’t remember if you unplugged your flat iron? This smartphone hack will straighten out your worries


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Nothing derails an otherwise good day like suddenly second-guessing whether you unplugged your flat iron, turned off your stove, or locked your front door. In fact, that catapult to a state of sheer panic might have you reaching for the calm-inducing amino acid L-theanine pronto. However, there is a simple hack to you can use to stifle your worry spiral, and all it requires is a device that’s usually associated with increased anxiety: your smartphone.

Before you leave your house, take a picture of whatever appliances you worry about most often; that way, when you find yourself stressed and in doubt, you have a simple way to check that you’re on top of it, Apartment Therapy recently noted. Not only will this practice save you from running up and down your apartment stairs every morning, Rocky-style, to check whether you left the iron on, but also repeatedly rechecking in person only blurs your memory, research notes.

“Repeated checking may decrease memory vividness and detail (and, in turn, presumably also decrease memory confidence) each time this counterproductive strategy is used,” according to one study.

In one experiment part of a 2016 study published in Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 41 undergraduate students turned a stove or a sink on and off. The participants then checked to make sure the apparatus was off. After asking the students questions, the researchers found that even though they could accurately report that the stove or sink was not on, they doubted their memory after multiple checks. “Repeated checking may decrease memory vividness and detail (and, in turn, presumably also decrease memory confidence) each time this counterproductive strategy is used,” the study reported.

So, save yourself some time, energy, and grief, and just take a quick snap before you leave.

If you need to improve your memory, two surprising ways to do that are by having more sex and by eating more dark chocolate.

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