1. Do a mental warm-up. If you’re not quite ready for brain aerobics, gently coax your brain into “alert” mode. Take a single digit number and double it in your head. Double the result. The feeling of accomplishment each time you get a successful result motivates you to continue. And it will get your noggin ready for bigger jobs.
2. Solve a Sudoku puzzle. Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, Rubik’s Cubes—humans are naturally drawn to brainteasers, it seems. Now comes the wildly popular Sudoku, a number puzzle that requires no math, just patience and logic. Once you do one, you may have to do another—and another. For Sudoku puzzles, go to www.websudoku.com.
3. Try a memory game. Open a drawer and choose five things in it to remember. Close the drawer.
4. Take an activity break. It could be a brisk walk or going up and down stairs in your home or office building for 10 minutes. Or it could be shooting hoops or jumping rope in the driveway for that length of time. After your break, take a piece of paper and write down the objects from the drawer.
5. Now you’re ready for some mental gymnastics. Choose three objects—perhaps a tree or flower you saw during your break, or an item of clothing. Visualize as many details as you can about each object. So, for instance, you wouldn’t be thinking just horse, but gold-colored palomino with blond tail swinging, and so on. Try sketching them.