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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!

Synectics is a problem solving technique similar to brainstorming, but with more complexity and structure. A leader is chosen to facilitate the session. The leader is not allowed to contribute to the solution; they are there only to facilitate and record what the group produces.

Define
The leader asks the group for a goal or problem statement to define the session. The leader chooses a keyword from this phrase and writes it down so everyone can see it.

Analogies
The leader now selects a topic that is completely unrelated to the discussion topic. The group is now asked to come up with examples of the keyword that relate to the new topic.

For example, lets say that the goal is to build a better toaster and that the keyword is "food". The leader might choose the topic of "music" and ask the group to come up with analogies and examples of how "food" and "music" are like.

Associations
The leader instructs the group to ignore the goal for the moment and to focus on the examples produced by the "analogy" step. They are to work individually and write down any associations that they have with any of the examples that were produced about the unrelated topic.

Absurd Idea
The group is now asked to work in pairs and use these associations to come up with an idea that address the original problem from the "define" stage. This idea will likely be impossible, impractical or silly. Present these ideas to the group.

Refine
In this step, the group takes the absurd ideas from the previous step and combines and refines them to make them more practical and applicable to the goal. This step often produces some surprising and creative solutions to the original problem.

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soph-o-mor-ic

adj :: Conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature.

"He had proved it to-day, with his amateurish and sophomoric productions." --London, Jack

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Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that must be obtained from our diet, since we cannot produce them ourselves. Omega-3s are found in oily fish such as salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, and hemp. They can also be taken as a dietary supplement in pill form. There is a growing body of research that indicates that consuming large amounts (1-2 grams per day) of these fatty acids may help prevent heart disease and certain psychological disorders.

Omega-3 fatty acids make up about 8% of the brain's total mass and are important for strengthening the myelin sheaths that protect the neurons and increase the speed at which impulses travel. Without strong myelin sheaths, the processing speed of the brain will decrease and diseases such as multiple sclerosis may develop.

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If you ask someone why they feel stressed, they may not be able to point to a specific reason. This is because stress often comes from a source that the sufferer may not fully understand. If you have an easily identified source of stress, you are lucky (try to get rid of it). Most people cannot figure out why they feel stressed.

Stress comes in three flavors: physical, emotional, and behavioral. A physical stress might be an injury, an annoying sound or an uncomfortable chair. Emotional stress includes things like fighting with a friend, or the death of a loved one. Behavioral stress might come from alcohol, caffeine, or poor sleep.

Looking at these areas and taking a step back to look at the bigger picture may help someone understand where their stress is coming from. For example, someone who feels tense all the time may not realize that it's because of poor sleep due to noisy neighbors (behavioral and physical stress). A good pair of earplugs may make all the difference in the world! Try examining the various parts of your life to see if you can find something that might be causing stress. Experiment to see if eliminating the stressor makes you feel better.

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