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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!

A study from Princeton University has found that monkeys who become fathers may get enhanced brains. Enhancements included an increase in the number of connections between neurons, and an increased sensitivity to the hormone vasopressin, which is implicated in memory formation. These changes are located in the prefrontal cortex, which is an area of the brain that is important for memory and decision making.

Unfortunately, as the infant ages, the father's enhancements gradually decrease to normal. It is unknown if human fathers experience the same mental boost.

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Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that can help prevent damage by neutralizing destructive molecules that are produced naturally by the body. Taking high doses of vitamin E may help prevent the development of cancer, cataracts, and heart disease. In addition, some studies have shown that long-term supplementation with vitamin E, in combination with vitamin C, can reduce the severity of age related memory decline and help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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Many mnemonics rely on making visual associations in your mind. The nature of these visualizations has a lot to do with how well you will remember them.

Making crazy associations in your visualizations will help you remember the information later. If you are trying to associate a dog with a stapler, a poor association would be a dog standing on a stapler. The brain filters out and forgets things that are ordinary. If you get a little crazy, you'll have a more memorable association. Maybe you could picture a dog with a stapler for a mouth! In addition to making the images more interesting, crazy associations tend to take more time to form and thus give you a better chance at getting them into your long-term memory.

Here are two techniques that will help make your associations crazier.

1. Try a substitution. For example, substituting a stapler for a dog's mouth.
2. Try an exaggeration. For example, a giant stapler chasing a scared dog down the street.

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Many mnemonics rely on making visual associations in your mind. The way you create these visualizations will have a lot to do with how well you will remember the information.

The items that you are associating together should be visualized as interacting in some way. If you are trying to associate a stapler with a dog, it is not going to do you much good to picture a dog standing next to a stapler. A much better association would be to have the dog eating the stapler, or picture a dog with a stapler mouth. Not only does this interaction make the image more interesting, but by grouping both objects into one association, you are effectively chunking the material.

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Mnemonic systems such as Link or Loci help us remember information for a variety of reasons.

1. They make the material more meaningful by adding associations and creating patterns. In fact, mnemonics work better for material that is less meaningful.

2. They help organize the information so that you can more easily retrieve it later. By giving you associations and cues, mnemonics allow you to cross-reference the information in different parts of your memory. This mental structure is very useful for material that has very little inherent organization.

3. Mnemonics typically involve visualizations that help make the facts more vivid. This is especially helpful for people who are visual learners. Additionally, these visualizations help focus your attention on the material by making the learning more fun.

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