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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 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?

Accept It
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.

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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.

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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.

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When you are under stress try this short exercise to put things in perspective. It might make your problem seem less stressful.

Mentally rewind your life ten years and remember what you were like at that time. Try to imagine how your current problem would have seemed back then. Would it have been as important? Now fast-forward ten years into the future and imagine how your life might be like. How important is your current problem to your future self? Chances are your current problem may seem insignificant to your future self and this might change your perspective on how you view your problem today.

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When we worry about something, we cannot get the thought out of our minds and this may interfere with our creativity or ability to get a good nights sleep. Exporting your worries to a notebook is a helpful technique for postponing the worry to another time.

When you come to the time when you must deal with the worry, get out a clean piece of paper and write the worry at the top of the page. Below this write down your goal or what you want to happen. To continue the example above you may write down, "I want my boss to approve my proposal." Now, draw a line down the middle of the page. In the left column write down all the barriers and obstacles that stand in the way of you achieving your goal. In the right column, write down all of your skills and resources that can help you achieve your goal.

On the back of the paper, write down all the ways that you can use the items in the right column to overcome the obstacles in the left column. At the end of the exercise you will have lessened your worries and will have a plan for how best to proceed towards achieving your goal.

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