Bootcamp for your brain

The daffs are out! Spring has sprung! So wake up your brain with these marvellous mental exercises, says Uevolve careers coach Lucinda Harlow

Did you know that it isn’t only your thighs that go completely to seed without enough exercise? Whole areas of your brain can go a bit flabby too without the right kind of stimulation.

So Spring is the perfect time to get your synapses firing with some specially-designed mental fitness exercises.

You don’t need me to spell out why a quick jog round the mental gym is going to help your career. But I will anyway. The more you use your brain in different ways the faster your synapses fire. So the speed at which you make decisions and your ability to access a bigger range of diverse ideas increases.

Neuroscientists have proved that our brains need at least ten minutes a day of being challenged by a new thought process. That daily ‘thinkout’ makes problem solving easier and your solutions more effective.

The 10-minute ‘thinkout

I love these exercises from the leading American cognitive psychologist Dr Robert W. Weisberg in his book Creativity: Understanding Innovation in Problem Solving, Science, Invention, and the Arts. Puzzle out the problems before you look at the answers in brackets!

Exercise 1 Three cards are lying face down. To the left of a queen is a jack. To the left of a spade is a diamond. To the right of a heart is a king. To the right of a king is a spade. Assign the proper suit to each card.

(Jack of hearts, king of diamonds, queen of spades.)

Exercise 2 A prisoner in a tower finds a rope reaching halfway to the ground. He divides it in half, ties the two pieces together and escapes. How?

(He unravels the rope lengthwise and ties the two pieces together.)

Exercise 3 You have four indistinguishable coins – two heavy and two light. How can you tell which are which in two weighings on a balance scale?

(Weigh any two coins. If they do not balance, one is heavy and one is light. Repeat with the other two. If they balance, they are both light or both heavy. Replace one coin with one of the two that remain and that will tell you whether the original pair is light or heavy.)

About the author

Lucinda is an Executive and Corporate Coach. You can reach Lucinda on: uevolve, LinkedIn, Twitter

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