Remember a world before smart phones, when you actually knew dozens of numbers off by heart and would physically dial them into a handset to make a phone call?

Chances are you now outsource that knowledge to your contacts list and rarely, if ever, take the time to learn a number by rote.

While this may be convenient on a day-to-day basis, the fact of the matter is technology is changing the way we remember, and not always for the better. And in a society which is showing to have an increase in neurological diseases that affect memory, such as dementia and Alzheimers Disease; you might want to start consciously working toward improving your memory sooner rather than later.

The good news? It’s totally possible. Here’s how.

1. Rethink the way you view your memory

“I think many people tend to think of memory as a filing cabinet in which we store all our personal records, whereas it’s actually much more constructive than that,” Associate Professor in Psychology, Muireann Irish, tells HuffPost Australia.

“You have to work at memory, it’s not a passive process. You have to pay attention to information. It’s not good enough to read a page and assume the information will stick, or that it’s been subconsciously filed away. You need to prepare and rehearse.”

Which brings us to…

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat

We’ve all been in that situation where you are introduced to someone at a party, only to forget their name moments afterward. Turns out it’s not enough just to hear the name — it requires some work on your part, too.

“Simple repetition can be really helpful,” University of Melbourne’s Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenen tells HuffPost Australia. “So when you meet someone new and hear their name, try to repeat it a few times in conversation to help it move to long term memory.”

3. Test yourself

“Testing is key. Meaningfully test yourself to see if you actually know the information. In this regard it’s almost like mimicking students who are studying — they’re not just reading and recognising material, they are then putting that material away and making sure they can recall it.

“This is an active based method, meaning it doesn’t just rely on reading and being passive.”

So if we return to the example of remembering phone numbers, Irish suggests challenging yourself to physically key the numbers into your phone rather than just going into your contacts.

– Emily Blatchford

Read More: How To Improve Your Memory In Six Easy Steps

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