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!
Stress is a mental or emotional condition that occurs in response to external influences. All organisms on earth respond to stress in physical and physiological ways. When an antelope is being chased by a lion, it is under stress and it experiences certain physiological changes such as an increased heart rate that help it escape the danger. To conserve energy, the antelope also turns off certain functions that are unnecessary for survival, such as digestion, reproduction and the immune system. People react in the same way to stress, which is why we can develop high blood pressure, ulcers and other illnesses. The only difference is that in most cases the stressor in our lives is not going to eat us for dinner.
Stress has a large impact on our ability to think creatively and to form strong memories. When you are worried about something, your mind wastes energy on the worry and becomes inefficient at working towards a solution to the problem. We have a tendency to jump to conclusions and rush ahead in order to get the stress out of our lives. People under stress rarely step back and try to explore their options.
We have several relaxation techniques that can be used to deal with stress and continue to think creatively.
Try to remember some times in the past when you were totally relaxed. Maybe it was a recent vacation or a nice sunny weekend. What do these situations all have in common that might contribute to you being in a calm state? While you may have your own unique requirements, there are four common conditions that most people find contribute to calmness.
Pay attention to how your body feels and try to make it as comfortable as possible. Is your clothing comfortable? Is the temperature ok? Is your chair comfortable? Try to make changes to your environment to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Getting fresh air is a very important condition for calmness. This is one reason why the mountains or the beach are more relaxing than the city. Try opening a window to get a little fresh air.
People always try to find a quiet place to relax. As you go through your day, you are bombarded with noises. Traffic, people talking, babies crying, electronic equipment, radios and televisions all contribute to the noise pollution that can cause unnecessary stress. Eliminating noise from your daily life can help make you a calmer person. One way to do this is with noise canceling headphones or earplugs.
Caffeine, nicotine, sugar and other drugs all act as stimulants on the human body. You will never be able to fully relax if you are charged up with sugar and caffeine. Try switching to water, herbal tea or a diet caffeine-free soda.
When something is already going wrong, worrying about it reduces our ability to concentrate on the task at hand. This causes the situation to get worse. When we are worried, our mind jumps all over the place and we lose the ability to make good decisions. We can only improve a bad situation if we can focus 100% of our attention on the task, which means not worrying about the outcome. Here are some steps you can take to do this.
Determine the Worst-Case Scenario
Knowing the worst possible outcome will help put things in perspective. Are you going make your boss disappointed or lose your job? Are you going to get a B- on a project or flunk out of school?
Once you have determined the worst-case scenario, you need to mentally accept it. Assume that it is going to happen. If you are resigned to the fact that the worst outcome is going to come true, then you can stop worrying about that possibility. After you accept the situation, you can move on to the next step.
Improve the Worst-Case Scenario
Now that you are free from worrying about the outcome, you can devote your full attention toward improving it. Try to find ways to reduce the negative effects of the outcome. You may not be able to turn a losing situation into a winning situation, but you might be able to make it neutral or at the very least, less bad.
It's tough to be creative when you are filled with worry. If you are worrying about your grade on a project or how your boss is going to react to your ideas, you are going to have a difficult time getting into a creative mindset. You need to be able to completely free your mind in order to have the flexibility to go into unfamiliar territory and find innovative ideas. Here is one technique to reduce your worry about the outcome of a project.
Gather all the Facts
Without all the facts, there is no way to know how to move forward. Most worry occurs because you are uncertain about what direction to take on a particular task. The more facts you have, the more certain you will be. If you need to make a decision at the end of the week, don't even think about the decision until Friday. Spend the whole week objectively gathering all the information that you can about the decision. When Friday comes along, you will probably find that the facts have already made the decision for you.
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.