Improve your memory so that you can recall your shopping list and even remember those numbers in your cell phone!

Pay attention

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“A lot of ‘forgetfulness’ is simply the result of not listening or concentrating properly in the first place,” says Catherine Loveday, a professor of psychology at the University of Westminster and author of the book The Secret World of the Brain. “If you really want to learn or remember something, then focus your attention.” If you keep losing your glasses, to improve your memory, start making a mental note every time you set them down. If you read an article about something you know you’ll want to tell friends about, spend an extra second on the juicy bits so they’ll stick in your head. Check out these 12 games that are guaranteed to boost your brainpower.

Remember that practice makes perfect

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When you were a kid, did you ever have to recite a poem in front of your class? You knew it then, and it’s still true: To improve your memory, you have to practice to get information installed in your mind accurately. “Whether it’s learning to play the piano or remembering a lovely day out with a friend, we only remember by going back over things again and again,” Loveday says. You’re practicing when you tell your mom about the gift you’re planning on buying for your sister, or when you explain a recipe to your spouse—that information will be more permanently recorded in your brain because you’ve thought it through another time. “This strengthens the neural pathways in our brain,” Loveday says.

Turn short-term memories into permanent ones

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Just in the past few years, scientists have been able to pinpoint exact cells where particular memories are stored in mouse brains, according to the online publication Quanta. Researchers used to think that short-term memories were formed first in the hippocampus, and long-term memories formed later. But the new mouse studies show that both types of memories form at the same time, although the long-term memories in the prefrontal cortex begin as “silent engrams” and aren’t accessible right away. Over a few weeks of maturing, they become available for recall. This process can seemingly be strengthened by reliving the event or recalling the information through rehearsals, but the scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducting the mouse studies also speculate that it might be possible in the future to use drugs to access those silent memories. Try these 17 easy tricks to improve your memory.