Chapter 8. Mental Fitness

Physical fitness is commonly defined as consisting of strength, flexibility, and endurance. You can also think of mental fitness as consisting of these characteristics. Mental strength is the ability to attack a problem, mental flexibility is the ability to stretch your mind to see all of the problem's aspects, and mental endurance is the ability to keep at a problem until you solve it.

This last chapter puts together everything you learned in the previous chapters. It contains hacks about caring for your brain with sleep, nutrition, and exercise [Hack #69], and mental warm-ups [Hack #66] and mind sports [Hack #67]. Finally, the last hack in the book enables you to integrate all the previous hacks and carry them around in a big, red, mental toolbox [Hack #75] that you can bring with you, even where there is no electricity or pen and paper.

Hack #66. Warm Up Your Brain

Get the blood flowing to your gray matter with a few mental push-ups.

Sometimes the mind simply doesn't want to think. The morning caffeine hasn't kicked in yet, or perhaps it is wearing off. Thought seems like an effort. In this situation, you might normally be inclined to wait until the sluggishness wears off, perhaps by taking a break with someone else's thoughts (browsing the Web, reading a book, or watching TV, for example).

If you would really rather get busy, you might be able to push past the threshold of resistance by doing a little mental warm-up. If thinking is normally a pleasurable ...

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