After a long day of work, few things help you forget the stresses of emails, meetings, and water-cooler chatter quite like popping the cork on a bottle of wine. But, surprisingly, alcohol has another hidden benefit for your mental health: it can boost your memory.
Now, while booze made plenty of memories fuzzy during college, an aspect of your brain functions called state-specific recall allows alcohol to help you remember things better. According to an excerpt from Idiot Brain, a book by neuroscientist Dean Burnett, state-specific recall essentially means that external and internal factors occurring while when you learn something will help you remember that moment in the future.
For example, let's say you're on your second glass of Rioja when a friend teaches you how to play Uno. First, how'd you get this far in life without playing Uno? But second, the next time you're two glasses of Rioja deep, you'll have an easier time remembering the rules of Uno than if you'd had no Rioja. This doesn't just go for booze -- let's say you lost your virginity (go you!) with "With Arms Wide Open" playing in the background as you fumbled into adulthood. Now, every time you hear Scott Stapp warbling, you'll harken back to those magical 17 seconds. And to the fact that somehow, Creed sold 20 million copies of Human Clay, yet you'll find nary a Creed fan anywhere.