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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!

Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tension and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

This icebreaker will have everyone laughing:

Break everyone up into small groups of 2 or 3. Give each group a made-up punchline. Each group now has 5 minutes to come up with a joke or story that uses that punchline at the end. The crazier the better! Here are some example punchlines:

1. And that is why you never let a cat go fishing!
2. That proves that elephants don't like hot dogs.
3. Finally he said, "Sir, your computer doesn't have a cigarette lighter."
4. The moral of the story is, "Always wear socks!"

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Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tension and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

Here is an icebreaker that will test the group's creativity:

Everyone needs to stand up. Now, going around the group, each person must say the name of an animal that starts with the next letter of the alphabet (Ant, Bear, Cat, etc). When you reach the end of the alphabet, start again at the beginning, using all new animals. If someone can't think of an animal, or repeats an animal, then they are out and must sit down. Keep going around the circle until only one person is left.

You may choose to award a small prize. You may also vary this exercise by picking things other than animals (flowers, foods, movies, names, etc).

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Have you ever attended a really boring lecture, needed to complete a really dull task, or simply been tired when you needed to be alert? In these situations it can be very difficult to concentrate; our minds wander and we are prone to daydreaming. One way to prevent yourself from daydreaming when you don't want to is to put your body into an unfamiliar or uncomfortable position. Maybe you could sit on your hands, curl up your toes, or keep pinching yourself. Try repeatedly contracting and relaxing certain muscles in your body. These actions make it difficult for your mind and body to relax. If you are not relaxed then you will be less like to tune out and start daydreaming.

If you can anticipate when you are going to be put into one of these situations, you could prepare by getting some good sleep. If that isn't possible, you could bring along some props to help you stay alert. For example, if you bring a glass of ice, you could hold an ice cube in your mouth. The coldness from the ice will keep you awake. Experiment with your own ways of keeping your mind and body alert.

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Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tension and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

Try this one to get people out of their seats and interacting in new ways:

Have everyone line up in the order of his or her birthday. The catch is that nobody is allowed to talk or write. This should inspire people to use some interesting forms of communication. Variations of this game could include lining up by age or alphabetically by the city in which you were born.

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A taboo is an inhibition resulting from social customs or emotional aversion. Taboos serve a useful purpose to society because they prevent people from getting into uncomfortable situations. However, taboos can cause people to ignore certain solutions to problems, even if these solutions are very good.

A popular example is to imagine a pipe stuck in the ground with a ping-pong ball in the bottom. How do you get the ping-pong ball out using a minimum of supplies and without damaging anything? The taboo answer is to pee into the pipe, thus floating the ball out. This is a very effective solution and you may have thought of this answer, but if you had been in a group of people, you probably would not have verbalized it.

Since taboos exist to protect other members of society, you do not need to censor yourself when you are working alone. You might not end up with a taboo solution, but sometimes you must think through incorrect or unacceptable solutions in order to reach a correct one.

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