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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!

Previously we explained how the Peg Mnemonic System works. The one limitation of this system is that it is difficult to construct lists for numbers greater than 20. Here are two methods that will work for longer lists:

This technique will let you memorize up to 40 items. You still use the original 10 items described earlier, but you will supplement this with the seasons in the year (1-10 will be Spring, 11-20 will be Summer, 21-30 will be Fall, and 31-40 will be Winter). You just need to associate the three items (the word, the pegword, and the season) into one visualization. For example, the pegwords for 34 would be a door (four) and a winter scene (31-40). So, if you wanted to memorize "carrots" at this spot, you would make an association with all three things (carrots, door and winter).

Alphabet Pegwords
This system picks concrete nouns that start with each letter of the alphabet. The disadvantage of using these words is that non-sequential retrieval becomes a little more difficult (you may not necessarily know the 17th letter of the alphabet), but it does give you a simple way to remember up to 26 items.

A -- Apple
B -- Boy
C -- Cat
D -- Dog

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The peg mnemonic system uses paired associations, just like the link and loci systems, with one advantage - you can recall the items in a non-sequential order.

To use the system, you will need to pre-memorize a set of concrete nouns that you will use to make your associations. These concrete nouns are chosen to correspond to the numbers in a list. This example list even has a nursery rhyme about it, "one two buckle my shoe, three four shut the door..."

One -- Bun
Two -- Shoe
Three -- Tree
Four -- Door
Five -- Hive
Six -- Sticks
Seven -- Heaven
Eight -- Gate
Nine -- Wine
Ten -- Hen

Once you have this list memorized (the rhymes with the numbers will make this much easier), you can use it to make visual association just as you do for the link or loci systems. Now, if you need to recall the eighth item, simply recall the word for eight (gate) and recall what you have associated with that word. Peg words up to the number 20 can easily be made to remember longer lists.

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What you eat can have a large impact on how your mind operates. After all, the brain accounts for 20% of your body's total energy consumption. The brain needs a steady supply of glucose throughout the day to keep in tip-top working order, so be sure to not skip any meals, especially breakfast.

Salads contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, which help your brain stay healthy.

Yogurt contains the amino acid tyrosine, which is needed for some essential brain chemistry.

Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent dementia and keep your brain working in tip-top shape.

Curry contains a spice called turmeric which can help prevent Alzheimer's Disease.

Try to avoid junk food high in sugar and fat. There have been some studies that imply a connection between junk food and mental disorders such as dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism.

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There are many nutritional supplements that claim to provide benefits to the mind and body. Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba are two of the more popular supplements.

Ginseng is an herb that comes from the root of the ginseng plant. It has been used in China, Japan, and Korea for centuries and has been shown to improve memory and mental performance, especially if taken in combination with ginkgo biloba. Additionally, ginseng may help increase the body's resistance to stress.

Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is an extract taken from the leaves of the ginkgo tree. Many studies have shown it to have beneficial effects. Its most important benefit is that it increases blood flow to the brain, which improves short and long-term memory as well as reaction time and mental clarity. In addition, ginkgo biloba may help regulate neurotransmitters and oxygen levels in the brain. Ginkgo can be found in pill form and is sometimes used as an ingredient in energy drinks. Some studies also suggest that ginkgo biloba can somewhat benefit people with Alzheimer's disease.

If you have blood circulation problems or are taking anti-coagulants such as aspirin, you should probably stay away from ginkgo. People taking anti-depressant drugs known as MAOIs and pregnant women should also stay away from ginkgo biloba.

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The mind has a great ability to remember images and visualizations, which is why mnemonics work so well. To help you remember your associations better, you should take care to make your visualizations vivid. This means that you should actually try to visualize the association in your mind's eye. Pay attention to the motion, sounds, and colors in your visualization. The more detail you can produce, the more your memory will have to grab onto.

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