Why forgetting is actually good for you

Aside from the fact that what you’re remembering probably isn’t all that accurate, there’s the evidence that forgetting is actually a vital part of healthy brain function. As Eric Leuthardt writes at Psychology Today: “We forget not because we have an imperfect hippocampus (our brain’s memory organ); it’s actually an evolved solution. The ability to lose information allows new information to come in that is more relevant, more pertinent to an ongoing reality. Forgetting allows us to update.”

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In other words, forgetting is the brain’s way of flushing out the irrelevant stuff so we can remember the important stuff. One recent study found that people who can let go of unnecessary information are better at things like problem solving. “Ironically, it appears that thinking and remembering rely at least in part on a process that underlies forgetting,” the authors write.

Still not convinced? As Tania Lombrozo writes at NPR, “to appreciate the value of forgetting, consider what would happen if forgetting failed.”

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