A Mental Exercise

Mental Fitness, Motivational

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I’ve been reading a fascinating book titled “Building Mental Muscle.” You’ll be reading a lot about it on this blog, as I’ll be writing a lot about it here on this blog. Great stuff.

The primary gist behind the book is to do what we’re always talking about – working your mind and working it often. It gives a ton of great mental exercises and tricks, and goes into depth about why each is beneficial.

One of the exercises has to do with memorizing lists. Not only will the technique help you next time you have a particular list to memorize, the actual practice will benefit your mental muscle. Your mind loves this sort of thing!

From the book:

A typical trick for memorizing arbitrary lists is to connect the items in a meaningful way, by stringing them together into a story. For example, take the following list of apparently unrelated items –



cream cheese








Most people, when presented with such a list, would find its memorization to be a tedious or even daunting task. However, consider an alternative mode of presentation (based on Bower and Clark 1969; Higbee 1977; and Crovitz 1979):

The first word is airplane. Just remember that however you like. The next word is hyena, because all the passengers sitting in the seats are hyenas. The next word is cream cheese, because each of the hyenas is taking bites out of a cream cheese sandwich. The next word is moon, because the moon is really made of cream cheese. The next word is volcano, because there is a volcano on the moon. The next word is ball, because when the volcano on the moon erupts, it spits out balls. The next word is grease, because the balls are covered with grease. The next word is monument, because the balls have so much grease on them it flows all the way to the Washington Monument. The next word is mailman, because a group of mailmen is touring the Washington Monument. The last word is lunch, because when the mailmen finish their tour they go have lunch.

Stories are a lot easier to remember than lists. Go back, now and try to name the 10 things on the list. If you miss one – start over and try to name them all again.

Tonight, as you’re brushing your teeth, see if you can come up with all 10 again.

For extra credit, and an extra mental work out, come up with your own story for the list. As a bonus, it gives the creative part of your mind a wake up call. I don’t know about you, but every single part of my mind needs wake up calls from time to time – especially the area that deals with memory. The creative side stays on red alert – I think it comes from being an only child, my mind’s always cooking up something. But, memory exercises like this make my brain feel stimulated and active – and after having a cold for two weeks, I’ll take anything I can get!

Make each moment count double,

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1 comment… add one
  • Good post! Got good ideas from this. Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to read more about build muscle.

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