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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!

People have a natural tendency to pick the first solution that comes to their mind and go with it, without thinking about any of the alternatives. This is dangerous because better ideas can be overlooked simply because you have not properly defined the problem and thought about the solutions. A much better approach would be to select the best solution from a large collection of ideas.

Too often a problem is poorly solved because it is poorly defined in the first place. Care should be taken not to constrain the problem too narrowly because your chances for creativity will be limited. A broader problem statement will often give you more room for unique solutions, but don't go too broad otherwise you risk getting lost or distracted. Our exercise for working on the right level will help you properly constrain your problem.

Once you have a statement that you think properly defines your problem, try out these two exercises to help you clarify it further.

1. Problem Statement Morphing
2. One Word Problem Statements

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ta-per

noun :: A small wax candle; a small lighted wax candle; hence, a small light.

noun :: Gradual diminution of thickness in an elongated object

"Westmacott was standing, as rigid as a statue, in the center of the room, with a lighted taper in her right hand." -- Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

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Many scientific studies have shown that routine exercise and staying physically in shape can improve memory and slow down normal age related memory decline. There are several reasons why this might be the case.

First, a healthy cardiovascular system is better able to deliver a steady supply of oxygen rich blood to the brain. This increased blood flow can lead to increased numbers of synapses. These extra synapses act like a cognitive reserve that can help to delay the onset of common memory disorders.

A second benefit for physical exercise is that it decreases cholesterol and hypertension which can damage the tiny blood vessels in your brain and cause memory problems.

A third benefit comes from the proper regulation of blood sugar levels in the body, which can be improved by loosing weight. It has been shown that improved blood sugar regulation can result in better memory. In one study, people with poor blood sugar regulation were discovered to have a smaller hippocampus, which is essential for good memories.

Lastly, during exercise the brain releases neurotrophins which strengthen neurons and encourage new growth.

A minimum of thirty minutes of exercise each day is the recommended amount necessary to stay in good physical shape. Here are some simple suggestions for ways to add a little exercise into your daily life: take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike to work, jog on a treadmill while watching TV.

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Chronic stress can cause an imbalance in the neurochemicals that contribute to elevating our mood and reducing anxiety. Fortunately, research has shown that you can reduce the imbalance simply by smiling or laughing, regardless of your actually mood. When you smile or laugh, your brain gets fooled into thinking that it is happy, and releases the corresponding neurochemicals. Laughter has been shown to have the following benefits.

1. Lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
2. Reducing blood pressure
3. Boosting the immune system
4. Improving respiration and circulation
5. Reducing pain
6. Reducing depression and improving mood

If you are having a hard time getting motivated to do something and you need a pick me up, try smiling or laughing out loud. It may sound silly, but it can actually improve your mood and get you thinking more creatively. So, when life gives you a frown, turn it upside down!

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