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!
Our minds are constantly filtering and processing data so that you don't have to pay attention to everything. Your consciousness is only presented with the most relevant data that you need to make decisions. Small details are often ignored. For example, do you know which color is on the top of a traffic light? Or which direction Lincoln is facing on the penny?
Whenever you have a free moment, look around and try to notice something that you don't normally see. Study all the minute details about an object and recognize that it was made that way for a reason. What is that reason?
Sometimes art students are instructed to look at the world upside-down by bending over and looking between their legs. This different orientation often allows you to see things that you normally wouldn't see. Try it. You may also try getting really low to the ground and see what the world looks like from an ant's perspective.
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.
At your next meeting, write the following rules up where everyone can see them:
1. Divisible by 3 = raise/lower left hand
2. Divisible by 4 = raise/lower right hand
3. Divisible by 5 = stand up / sit down
Now, recite all the numbers from 1 to 100 and have everyone perform the required actions. See how many people have it correct in the end. You should be sitting with both hands up in the air.
This exercise will help build your mental endurance and concentration. Pick any small number (lets say 3) and start doubling it in your mind.
3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, 192, 384 ....
How far can you get? Most people have a hard time once they get past 10 doublings. Practice until you can get up to 20 (the 20th doubling of 3 is 3,145,728).
When trying to solve a problem, it is very important to consider alternate solutions instead of forging forward with the first decent idea. Picking one idea and proceeding until a solution is reached is called vertical thinking and this is the type of thinking that is most often taught in our schools. When thinking laterally, you continue to generate ideas even after a promising idea has been produced. A vertical thinker must always be moving usefully in some direction and must be correct at every step. A lateral thinker can wander in different directions to find creative solutions and often must be wrong in order to be right in the end. Lateral thinkers welcome and explore seemingly irrelevant facts or ideas, whereas vertical thinkers shut out all irrelevant data.
There are merits to both types of thinking. If you used only lateral thinking, you would be constantly experimenting and broadening and you would seldom finish anything. If you only used vertical thinking, you could go very far down the wrong path because you failed to find the correct path before starting out. A good compromise would be to use lateral thinking until you have decided on a solution and then switch to vertical thinking to implement that solution.
To test your ability to come up with words in a certain family, try this exercise. Come up with 26 words (one for each letter of the alphabet) for each of the following categories. We have given you the first few to help you get started.
1. Animals (Ant, Bear, Cat, ....)
2. Jobs (Artist, Baker, ...)
3. Plants (Apple Tree, Bamboo, ...)