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!
For each item in the list below, close your eyes and try to get a mental picture of the object or action. Try to make it as clear as possible. Are there any sounds, smells, or tastes associated with this item? Once you are done, grade yourself on how clear each object appeared in your mind (clear, vague, nothing).
1. Peeling an orange
2. A leaf blowing in the wind
3. An alien from outer space
4. Mickey Mouse
5. The world's smallest elephant
The next time you see one of these items, pay special attention to it and try to memorize its features, then repeat this exercise and see if you've improved. There are some items in the list that you are certain to have never seen before. These are designed to flex your ability to put several memories together into one visualization.
Imagine that you are in the following situations. Make a list of the different criteria that you would use in order to make a good choice. Which features or characteristics would you look for and which would you avoid? What factors must you weigh? Think of at least 20 criteria for each situation.
1. Buying a new digital camera.
2. Choosing what you wear in the morning.
3. Buying a new car.
Whenever you need to make a decision, making a list of all the criteria can help you make an intelligent choice.
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 the opposite point of view.
1. You favorite coffee mug just broke. List five good things about that.
2. You have just won big on a slot machine in Vegas. List five reasons why this is bad.
3. Your flight home for the holidays was just canceled. List five reasons why you should be glad.
4. Your son just got straight As on his report card. List five reasons why you should be upset.
Close your eyes and try to recreate the following smells. This exercise helps improve your ability to form concrete impressions from memory.
1. A ripe orange
2. Hot chocolate
3. A rose
4. A skunk
5. Cigar smoke
How well did you do at recreating the smells?
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. The theme song for your favorite TV show.
2. A waterfall.
3. A big dog barking. A little dog barking.
4. A racecar starting and screeching away.
5. Your father's voice.
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.