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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!

If you ever feel like your brain is cluttered because you have so many little tasks to do and you don't know what to do next, try this simple technique.

First, make a list of every single little thing that you need to do. Be sure that this list is complete and only contains the little things. Big projects should be left off the list. Now, start at the top of your list and complete each task one by one in a continuous unbroken stream of focused energy. By fusing all these small things into one single chunk of time you can quickly get everything done and out of your mind. This will allow you to focus your full attention on a bigger task, or to have a relaxing weekend knowing that all your chores are out of the way.

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When you are under stress try this short exercise to put things in perspective. It might make your problem seem less stressful.

Mentally rewind your life ten years and remember what you were like at that time. Try to imagine how your current problem would have seemed back then. Would it have been as important? Now fast-forward ten years into the future and imagine how your life might be like. How important is your current problem to your future self? Chances are your current problem may seem insignificant to your future self and this might change your perspective on how you view your problem today.

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When we worry about something, we cannot get the thought out of our minds and this may interfere with our creativity or ability to get a good nights sleep. Exporting your worries to a notebook is a helpful technique for postponing the worry to another time.

When you come to the time when you must deal with the worry, get out a clean piece of paper and write the worry at the top of the page. Below this write down your goal or what you want to happen. To continue the example above you may write down, "I want my boss to approve my proposal." Now, draw a line down the middle of the page. In the left column write down all the barriers and obstacles that stand in the way of you achieving your goal. In the right column, write down all of your skills and resources that can help you achieve your goal.

On the back of the paper, write down all the ways that you can use the items in the right column to overcome the obstacles in the left column. At the end of the exercise you will have lessened your worries and will have a plan for how best to proceed towards achieving your goal.

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Most people worry about future events that may or may not happen. This expectation of something bad happening causes people stress even though the thing may never occur. One helpful technique for reducing worry is to export your worries to a notebook or diary.

Suppose you can't get to sleep because you are worrying about a meeting with your boss later in the week. Pick up your notebook and write down that worry. Now, set a time in the future and promise yourself that at that time you will review what you are worrying about and make a decision. This should help resolve the present worry and put it off to the designated time. An added benefit of this is that during the interim, your subconscious mind will have time to process the problem and come up with potential solutions. This is very similar to how the 'Letter to Yourself' technique works.

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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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