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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!

Close your eyes and try to recreate the following textures. This exercise helps improve your ability to form concrete visualizations from memory, which is one characteristic of creative people.

1. A tennis ball
2. Sand
3. Concrete
4. Silk

How well did you do at recreating the texture? How long did it take? Rank your recreation on a scale of 1-10 for how close it was to reality. Try to do better each time you practice this exercise.

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There is a strong connection between mental pictures and emotions. If you visualize something happy, you will feel happier and if you visualize something sad, you will start to feel sad. Here is one way to take advantage of this phenomenon.

Pick a goal that you want to achieve. You may want to start with a small goal and work your way up to bigger goals as you gain practice with this technique. Let's say that your goal is to go bowling and get two strikes in a row. Close your eyes and picture yourself bowling. Try to involve all of your senses. How does the bowling alley sound? What does the ball feel like? Do you notice particular smells? Visualize yourself getting the two strikes in a row. Pay attention to your feelings and recognize how much you will enjoy achieving this goal. This visualization will help your mind prepare for achieving the goal.

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Look around the room and try to find as many green things as you can. Plants, people's eyes and money are examples of things that might be green. This exercise helps you become more aware of your surroundings and helps improve your attention to details. If green is too easy for you, try combinations of colors. For example: objects with red and purple.

You can do this exercise whenever you are sitting around doing nothing, whether it's on the bus or in a waiting room. If you have a friend with you, make it a challenge to see who can find the most objects.

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People tend to quickly classify a situation, which causes us to think and respond to it in predictable ways. A creative thinker will think about situations from different angles. Try this exercise to think of these situations from a different point of view.

1. Your favorite pair of jeans just got a hole in them. List five reasons why this is good.
2. You forgot your umbrella at home and now it's raining. List five reasons why you should be happy about this.
3. You just got a raise at work. List five reasons why you should be disappointed.
4. Your best friend just gave you a surprise birthday party. List five reasons why you should be angry with him or her.

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Engineering challenges are fun activities that are frequently assigned to students in physics or engineering classes, but they can easily be used outside of these venues. An engineering challenge usually has a simple goal and some rules about what sorts of materials you are allowed to use. These are great ways to get people thinking creatively and to foster teamwork and competition. Try an engineering challenge at a birthday party, office outing, scout meeting, or any other gathering where you want to have fun and exercise your creativity.

The objective in the Paper Tower challenge is to construct the tallest freestanding tower from a single sheet of paper and a small amount of tape. The tower must be able to stand on its own for at least 10 seconds.

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