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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!

Earlier we discussed the Link System for remembering lists. Let's practice with this list of 20 words. You may think it is impossible to learn a list of 20 words in only a few minutes, but if you follow the System, it will be easy. We have provided some example visualizations for you to use, however you will have better success if you make up your own. Spend at least 2 minutes visualizing each object and association and you should have no problem remembering the whole list.

List:
Pen, Sun, Toast, Elephant, Telephone, Window, Mud, Hamburger, Cat, Bottle, Goat, Bed, Car, Book, Money, Calculator, Lipstick, Snowman, Skateboard, Thumb

Form a clear mental image of these links to connect the words, here are some examples:
1. A pen shooting out sunlight
2. The sun being so hot it toasts some bread
3. An elephant eating some toast
4. Talking on a little elephant instead of a phone
5. Throwing a telephone out a window and breaking it
6. Having mud completely covering your window
7. A hamburger covered with mud instead of ketchup
8. A hamburger made of cat instead of beef
9. A cat stuck inside a bottle
10. A goat eating a bottle
11. A goat sleeping in a bed
12. A bed strapped onto the top of a car
13. A giant book with wheels and a steering wheel
14. A book with money for pages
15. A calculator that spits out money
16. A woman rubbing a calculator on her lips
17. A snowman wearing lipstick
18. A snowman skateboarding
19. A skateboard shaped like a giant thumb
20. (if you want to link it into a circle) Using your thumb to sign your name

Now close your eyes and try to recall the entire list. See how easy it was? To prove the effectiveness of this technique, make up a different list and try to memorize it without using the link system. See how hard it is?

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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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The Phonetic Mnemonic System can be used to remember times as well as dates. Suppose that you have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday at 9:00am. Wednesday is the 3rd day of the week, so 3 and 9 make the word 'mop.' Create a visualization of your doctor with a mop, and you will be able to remember your appointment. Here are a few more times to help you practice:

Sunday 2:00 = 7 2 = can
Monday 8:30 = 1 83 = dove ham
Tuesday 4:39 = 2 439 = honey ramp
Thursday 3:00 = ? (Try this one yourself!)

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The Phonetic Mnemonic System can be used to remember dates. All you need to do is turn the date of the event into a word using the system and then associate that word with the event. For example, suppose that your friend's birthday is on January 21. This can be represented by 1-21 or with the phonetic word 'tent.' If you visualize your friend having a birthday party inside a tent, then you will be able to remember the date.

Here are some more examples of turning dates into memorable words or phrases.

Columbus discovered America in 1492 (turban)
Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity in 1905 (topsoil)
World War II ended on Sept 2, 1945 or 9/2/45 (piano rail)

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As you are falling asleep, do you ever think about things that you need to do the next day, but you don't want to turn on the light to write them down? The Phonetic Mnemonic System can help you remember these things in the morning. In fact, this system can be used any time that you don't have a pen and paper handy.

To do this, simply associate the thing that you need to do (go to the bank) with a phonetic keyword for 1 (tie). Visualize the next thing that you need to do (pick up dinner) with a keyword for 2 (knee). When you wake up in the morning, you simply need to go through your keywords to remember the things that you need to do.

A variation on this method is to group your keywords by category. For example keywords 1-10 could be used for things related to work, keywords 11-20 could be for things related to home, and so on. This will help mentally organize your to-do list.

To reduce interference between days, you could use different keywords for each day of the week. Monday uses keywords 1-10, Tuesday 11-20, etc. Pick the method that works best for you.

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