POST 50
05/18/2016 11:44 am ET

Being Busy Is Actually Better For Your Brain, Study Finds

That long to-do list isn't such a bad thing after all.

Feel like the work just never seems to end? Take heart. All that "busyness" is probably good for you.

A new study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience says a jam-packed schedule is associated with better brain function.

A team led by University of Texas at Dallas researchers looked at the differences in memory and other brain functions of men and women, aged 50-89, to see how busy people fare compared with their not-so-busy peers.

"People who report greater levels of daily busyness tend to have better cognition, especially with regard to memory for recently learned information," lead researcher Sara Festini said in a statement. "Living a busy lifestyle appears beneficial for mental function."

The 330 participants underwent a number of neuropsychological tests and completed at-home surveys, measuring things like memory recall, vocabulary, reasoning and brain processing speed. 

People who were busier were more likely to enjoy overall better cognition, especially when it came to remembering past events, regardless of age.

But researchers say there isn't enough evidence to prove causation. It could be that people with better cognition tend to seek out more tasks, especially those that include learning new things. Or that busy people are more likely taking on new challenges and learning different skills, which could help with cognition.

"Overall, our findings offer encouragement to maintain active, busy lifestyles throughout middle and late adulthood," the authors concluded.

Researchers say further studies are needed to fully understand the association. However, it is important to note that busyness shouldn't translate to stress. Studies have shown that stress, among other detrimental effects, can wreak havoc on your memory and can lead to a number of chronic diseases

Moral of the story, stay busy but don't sweat it. 

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