The brain is divided into two hemispheres, with the left side controlling the right side of the body, and the right controlling the left side. A thick network of fibers bridges the two hemispheres, enabling communication between them. Because of this correspondence between the left and right hemispheres and the opposite sides of the body, scientists believed for a long time that left and right brains governed different mental functions as well. The truth, however, is merely that left and right brains process information differently. The most effective brain training exercises are therefore those that engage the whole brain. ImaginationMemory and imagination are inextricably linked, in that imagination is a key factor in the ordinary operations of memory, and to improve memory you should stretching the imagination, as in this exercise: Painting a memory masterpiece. Imagine an apple in complete detail. Contemplate the apple in its finished form. What can you do to make it remarkable? What if it were as big as a basket ball? Would you bounce it? Would you roll it home? Or if the apple had human features, whose would they be? Imagine the bizarreness thoroughly. Then think of more ordinary items egg for example mentally exaggerate in a similar way. And before going to the store next time, create a shopping list with exaggerated images as triggers. Increasingly lengthen the list as you get good at remembering the items. PegsVisual pegs are powerful aids in capturing and anchoring memories that threaten to drift past you. Here is the Memory Forest 10-Note Keyboard that will put an end to drift. It trains the brain to harness the power of metaphor. It consists of 10 logically ordered woodland features; each set of five (plants on the left, animals on the right) is arranged in size order. Draw in the left column a tree, roots, leaf, flower, and berry. On the right, opposite the tree, a deer, then going down, a snake, woodpecker, butterfly, ant. The pattern is from largest to smallest in both categories. Memorize this keyboard, and make it a template you can use to anchor items you want to remember, letting the ten items be metaphorically connected to the new items. For instance, if the goal were to memorize the first 10 books of the Old Testament, Genesis being the first, the tree as the first key on the keyboard might remind you of family tree, showing the genesis of your family. Exodus would relate to "roots" as in roots spreading out under the ground, Leviticus could relate to a leaf levititating on a breeze, etc. TeasersA brain puzzle, far from being merely entertaining or annoying, is actually a workout for many different parts of the brain. Many brain puzzles are based on implicit assumptions that turn out to be wrong, as in the case of this riddle: "A blind beggar had a brother who died. What relation was the blind beggar to the brother who died? "Brother" is not the answer." Many people are stumped by this because they wrongly assume that the blind beggar is a man. Actually, the blind beggar is a woman and thus the sister of the brother who died. In this case, the frontal lobes (abstract reasoning, hypothesis testing, and implicit assumptions), are most fundamentally involved in brain teasers; but also the amygdala (emotional memory) and creative thinking are often stimulated, making brain puzzles a good and fun exercise for the whole brain. BreathingAlternate nostril breathing, Anuloma Viloma, is a powerful yoga breathing technique that involves inhaling through one nostril, holding the breath, and exhaling through the other nostril. Using the alternate nostril breathing method corrects this imbalance while flooding the body with a profound feeling of well-being. Simply hold one nostril closed with your finger while breathing in or out through the other. The duration should be 4 seconds breathing in, 2 seconds holding the breath, and 8 seconds exhaling. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.