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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!

Setup a chessboard in your workplace or home. Anyone should be encouraged to come up to the board, weigh the possibilities and make a move for either side. This is an ongoing game that will last for several days. Since anyone can play for either side, there are no winners or losers. In reality, everyone is a winner because this game introduces some novelty into the players' day and gives them a chance to exercise a different part of their brains. Often a workday can be filled with drudgery. This is a good way to liven it up a little.

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Social interaction is important for making and maintaining good memories. Meals have always been a time when people get together to eat and enjoy each other's company. If you notice that you are often eating alone, try to change that habit.

Make it a policy in your home that meals are a social event. Remove the newspaper, turn off the television and give your family your undivided attention. If you live alone, invite a friend or neighbor over for dinner. Not only does this introduce some novelty into your day, but it also strengthens your relationships.

If you are at work, try to arrange a group lunch with coworkers or friends who work nearby. Eating lunch with coworkers in different departments is a great way to learn something new.

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Over-learning is a simple technique that helps you improve your memory. Over-learning is the repetitive study of something until it becomes second nature. Even after you think you have learned something, if you continue to study it, you reinforce it in your memory. This practice not only strengthens learning, but it also improves recall speed.

Over-learning is the idea behind flashcards, but it can be useful for more things than just your math quiz. Try something as simple as a list of items on a piece of paper that you carry with you. Read through the list several times a day while waiting for the elevator, at a stoplight, in line at a store, before going to sleep, etc. You will learn these items better and recall them more quickly.

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Earlier we discussed the Link System for remembering lists. This is an extremely effective mnemonic system. Let's practice with this list of 20 words. You may think that it's impossible, in only a few minutes, to memorize a list of 20 words in order, but it's actually quite easy. In an earlier practice we gave you some sample visualizations to make, but it's actual more effective if you make your own, so we're going to leave you alone this time. Using the link system, spend at least 3 minutes visualizing these objects and you should have no problem remembering them.

List:
Drums, Teeth, Belt, Rocket, Sports Car, Tennis Ball, Scissors, Pipe, Nail, Grass, Turtle, Wedding Ring, Earth, Dust, Bed, Plate, Candy, Light Bulb, Business Card, Computer

Now close your eyes and try to recall the entire list. See how easy it was? To prove the effectiveness of this technique, make up a different list and try to memorize it without using the link system. Do you see how hard it is without the link system?

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Visual associations are a key part of many mnemonic systems. At first, making visual associations may feel unnatural, and it may slow you down, but keep practicing. The more you practice forming visual images, the quicker you will get. Creating visual images will always take a little extra time regardless of how fast you get, so it might not be the best strategy to use when the material you are trying to learn is being presented very rapidly. For material that you can learn at your own pace, using imagery will help. Even though it may take longer to go through the material once, you will need fewer repetitions and thus you will save time in the long run.

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