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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!

When we are introduced to someone, remembering their name is often difficult. This is because you must successfully store their name in your memory and then successfully recall it later. One previously discussed strategy for storing is to repeat their name when you are being introduced.

Studies have shown that if you are given someone's name at the beginning of a conversation, you are less likely to remember it than if you get their name after a few minutes of chatting. This is because if you already know something about the person, their name is more meaningful to you. Additionally, you have more ways to cross-reference the information in your memory. If you are the introducer, you can take advantage of this by repeating the names of the people you are introducing after they have been talking for a few minutes.

If you are trying to recall someone's name, try remembering as much information about him or her that you can. Think of their profession, where they live, where you met them, what their face looks like, etc. All of this extra information will help cue your memory.

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The most common complaint that people have about their memories is that they forget people's names, even a few minutes after meeting them. You may be able to recognize their face, but you just can't dig up their name. There are two reasons why recognizing faces is much easier than recalling names.

The first reason is simply that recognition is much easier than recall. This is because with recognition, you are presented with something and you only have to determine if it is familiar or not. With recall, you actually need to retrieve a piece of information from your memory. If you were given the person's name in a multiple-choice quiz, it would become a recognition task, and you would probably pick it correctly.

The other reason is that pictures are much easier to remember than words. Since faces are things that you see and names are things that you hear, you already have an advantage towards remembering the face and not the name. This is why nametags are a helpful aid when meeting people. It lets you hear and see the names, which gives you two different ways to remember it later.

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Earlier we discussed the Link System for remembering lists. Let's practice with this list of 20 words. You may think it is impossible to learn a list of 20 words in only a few minutes, but if you follow the System, it will be easy. We have provided some example visualizations for you to use, however you will have better success if you make up your own. Spend at least 2 minutes visualizing each object and association and you should have no problem remembering the whole list.

List:
Pen, Sun, Toast, Elephant, Telephone, Window, Mud, Hamburger, Cat, Bottle, Goat, Bed, Car, Book, Money, Calculator, Lipstick, Snowman, Skateboard, Thumb

Form a clear mental image of these links to connect the words, here are some examples:
1. A pen shooting out sunlight
2. The sun being so hot it toasts some bread
3. An elephant eating some toast
4. Talking on a little elephant instead of a phone
5. Throwing a telephone out a window and breaking it
6. Having mud completely covering your window
7. A hamburger covered with mud instead of ketchup
8. A hamburger made of cat instead of beef
9. A cat stuck inside a bottle
10. A goat eating a bottle
11. A goat sleeping in a bed
12. A bed strapped onto the top of a car
13. A giant book with wheels and a steering wheel
14. A book with money for pages
15. A calculator that spits out money
16. A woman rubbing a calculator on her lips
17. A snowman wearing lipstick
18. A snowman skateboarding
19. A skateboard shaped like a giant thumb
20. (if you want to link it into a circle) Using your thumb to sign your name

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. See how hard it is?

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Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that must be obtained from our diet, since we cannot produce them ourselves. Omega-3s are found in oily fish such as salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, and hemp. They can also be taken as a dietary supplement in pill form. There is a growing body of research that indicates that consuming large amounts (1-2 grams per day) of these fatty acids may help prevent heart disease and certain psychological disorders.

Omega-3 fatty acids make up about 8% of the brain's total mass and are important for strengthening the myelin sheaths that protect the neurons and increase the speed at which impulses travel. Without strong myelin sheaths, the processing speed of the brain will decrease and diseases such as multiple sclerosis may develop.

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The Phonetic Mnemonic System can be used to remember times as well as dates. Suppose that you have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday at 9:00am. Wednesday is the 3rd day of the week, so 3 and 9 make the word 'mop.' Create a visualization of your doctor with a mop, and you will be able to remember your appointment. Here are a few more times to help you practice:

Sunday 2:00 = 7 2 = can
Monday 8:30 = 1 83 = dove ham
Tuesday 4:39 = 2 439 = honey ramp
Thursday 3:00 = ? (Try this one yourself!)

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