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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!

Different sensory inputs have different importance to different people. A chef relies heavily on his sense of taste, a musician depends on her sense of hearing, and a masseuse uses her sense of touch more than the average person. A good problem-solver uses all of their senses to find solutions to problems. If you always ignore your sense of smell, you will never invent a solution that uses smell.

When you are exploring some problem, pay attention to all of your senses. For example, if you are designing a new shoe, pay attention to the smell of the leather used in making the shoe. Pay attention to the texture of the fabric. Feel your foot and get a good idea for what a foot feels like. Listen to what sounds the shoe makes. Does it squeak when you walk?

A good way to focus some attention on your other senses is to deprive yourself of the ones you use most often. Wear a blindfold and try to use your remaining senses to think about the problem. You can block out the other senses using similar methods (earplugs to block hearing, for example).

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a-nath-e-ma

noun :: A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, and accompanied by excommunication. Hence: Denunciation of anything as accursed.

noun :: An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.

noun :: Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority.

"...the sound of a witch's anathemas in some unknown tongue" --Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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We learned in Types of Forgetting that interference with other memories is one way that we forget information. Mnemonics such as the Peg and Loci systems rely on pre-memorized cues. As a result, interference can occur when you use the same cues to remember different lists. Typically, the new list will weaken the memory of the older list.

There are two ways to get around this. First, you could construct multiple sets of locations for the Loci system, and multiple sets of pegwords for the Peg system. Use the different sets for different types of memory tasks and you will reduce interference.

Another way to get around this is a technique called "Progressive Elaboration." This involves the modification of your visualization to incorporate multiple items (one from each list). For example, let's say that you are already using the Loci system to link your front door to a zebra. Now you want to use the Loci system to also remember an ice cream cone. With progressive elaboration, you would incorporate all the items into one visualization (the front door with the zebra with the ice cream cone). Now you can remember multiple lists using the same loci or pegwords.

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When a mother is trying console an upset child, she will lower her voice and talk in a slow, calm manner. This works because people tend to adopt the attitudes of the people around them. If you are interacting with someone who is stressed out, they will be radiating a lot of nervous energy, which will probably make you start felling stressed out as well. Conversely, if you hang out with people who are calm and relaxed you will start feeling more calm and relaxed as well.

If you are feeling stressed out, you can use this technique to get rid of some of that nervous energy. First, make sure that you are breathing properly. Now, slow everything down in an exaggerated way. Speak slowly, walk slowly, move your arms slowly, breath slowly. Pretend that someone has hit the slow-motion button on the remote control for your life. It may seem unnatural or silly, but try to do this for at least 10 minutes and you may find that you have slowed your mind down and that you feel a lot more relaxed.

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