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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

This exercise will test your ability to recall and recreate sounds in your mind. This stretches the part of the brain where audio is stored. Close your eyes and try to hear the following sounds:

1. Your favorite song
2. A stapler stapling some paper
3. Fingernails on a chalkboard
4. A toilet flushing
5. A babbling brook

How well did you do at reproducing those sounds in your head? With practice, you'll get better at imagining sounds.

If you like this exercise, try Mental Audio I and Mental Audio II.

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This exercise comes from the book Conceptual Blockbusting by James L. Adams and relates to the idea of stereotyping.

Find someone that you do not know very well to help you do this exercise. Taking turns, say a label that describes you (blonde, student, carpenter, mother, chocoholic, married, etc). Avoid small talk and avoid having a conversation about each label. Just state your label and then continue. It will get difficult to come up with labels after the first few, but keep going for at least five minutes.

This exercise will demonstrate how you label yourself. Notice how each label is a stereotype. People stereotype themselves and others all the time. Without being able to qualify your labels with conversation, you are allowing the other person to stereotype you. How did your stereotypes affect your understanding of the other person? For example, if they said that they were a "marathon runner," what preconceived qualities would you instantly place onto them? Recognizing that you are constantly stereotyping things will allow you to look beyond these labels when necessary.

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Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tension and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

Here is an icebreaker for you to try:

Have everyone sit in a circle with one person standing in the middle. There should be one less chair than people. The person in the middle asks a question like "who has a pet dog?" Everyone who does must stand up and switch seats. The person in the middle must also find a seat (sort of like musical chairs). The only rule is that when you stand up, you cannot return to your own chair, nor to a chair right next to you. This is a good way to learn interesting facts about people while having a little fun.

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"Conceptual Blockbusting - A Guide to Better Ideas" is a book by James L. Adams, a professor from Stanford University. It is one of the most popular books on creativity and is packed with exercises and ideas for stretching your mind and overcoming mental blocks.

See this book at Amazon.com

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Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tension and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

For this one, have everyone sit in a circle. One person is picked to start. They turn to their neighbor and say, "If you love me, baby, please smile." They then must try to get their neighbor to laugh or smile, without touching them, by making faces or other actions. If the neighbor smiles, then it is the neighbor's turn to make the next person smile. If the neighbor does not smile, they must say, "I love you baby, but I just can't smile" and the first person must move on to the next neighbor and try again. The game is over once the entire circle has had a chance.

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