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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!

This exercise will test your ability to use your underused sense of touch to visualize and draw an unknown object.

You will need to find several objects whose shape cannot be immediately identified. For example, a pair of scissors would be a bad choice. Try to find some uncommon objects like small toys or machine parts. Place these objects into an opaque bag or box and instruct people to feel inside the bag for an object. They should explore the object with their fingers and then try to draw it from memory. Have someone else find some objects for you to use.

After you have finished your drawing, remove the actual object and compare. How close did you get? With practice, you will get better at visualizing and drawing objects from memory.

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Everyone has their own unique viewpoint on a problem. It is difficult to put ourselves into other people's shoes and see the problem from their perspective, but this can lead us to find better solutions to the problem.

Think of a problem that you currently have that involves at least one other person. Get out some paper and write down a description of the problem from each person's point of view. Show each description to the person it corresponds with and have them comment on your accuracy. This exercise is a good way to see a problem from different perspectives and understand where the other people are coming from.

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In Caffeine I, we talked about what caffeine is and how it works on the mind. In addition to working as a brain stimulant, caffeine has also been shown to improve athletic performance and endurance.

Two additional things to keep in mind about caffeine are that it is a diuretic and it causes increased calcium loss. So, if you consume caffeine, you should make sure that you are drinking enough water to avoid dehydration and that you are getting enough calcium in your diet.

It's probably a good idea to limit your caffeine intake to 250mg per day (less if you are pregnant). Unfortunately, companies rarely label their products with the amount of caffeine that they contain. Here is a little chart to help you.

Drip Coffee (8oz)95mg
Instant Coffee (8oz)85mg
Decaf Coffee (8oz)3mg
Espresso (1oz)40mg
Coffee Ice Cream (1 cup)50mg
Brewed Tea (8oz)50mg
Instant Tea (8oz)28mg
Iced Tea (8oz)25mg
Snapple Tea42mg
Cocoa (8oz)6mg
Chocolate Milk (8oz)5mg
Chocolate Bar10mg
Mountain Dew56mg
Diet Coke47mg
Coke35mg
Pepsi38mg
Barq's Root Beer23mg
NoDoz Max Strength200mg
NoDoz Regular Strength100mg

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Visualize 5 things that make you irritated.
Try to get a clear image of each item in your mind. You may have to close your eyes to get a vivid image.
Now visualize 5 things that make you laugh.

The more you practice, the better you will get at visualizing images and recognizing your emotional state.

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This exercise will test your ability to recall and recreate sounds in your mind. This stretches the part of the brain where audio is stored. Close your eyes and try to hear the following sounds:

1. Your favorite song
2. A stapler stapling some paper
3. Fingernails on a chalkboard
4. A toilet flushing
5. A babbling brook

How well did you do at reproducing those sounds in your head? With practice, you'll get better at imagining sounds.

If you like this exercise, try Mental Audio I and Mental Audio II.

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