There are so many interesting and creative hobbies that can improve your life and make you smarter! We all need to have hobbies other than our work to add more value and meaning to our lives. Hobbies are fun and invigorating, and they can have a great influence on our intellect. Some may say that these hobbies distract you from your professional objectives. In fact, doing something you enjoy stimulates your creativity and makes you smarter.
I have a short list with common hobbies that you can take up and improve your life:
- Learning a new language
- Learning to play the piano – or any other musical instrument
Reading helps you understand processes, detect patterns, and solve problems by putting together new and different pieces of knowledge. It reduces stress, teaches you new things about new places and new people, and it helps you experience multiple emotions. It enriches your knowledge and it makes you feel better about yourself. Read anything: fiction, memoirs, personal development books, biographies. If you start reading a book and you discover you don’t enjoy reading it, just pick another one. Find books you like with plots that take your breath away. Serious reading is enlivening. Look for emotionally charged books, read until you lose yourself in the book, and become so absorbed that you forget to have lunch. Find those writers that are such excellent storytellers that you feel instantly drawn into their words so deeply and so quickly that you cannot stop reading.
2. Learning a new language
This is not an easy task, that’s why very few people are attracted to this hobby. It involves many tasks such as memorizing new words, analyzing grammatical structure, and understanding a new manner of speaking. It is one of the most unique and challenging hobbies. Learning a new language enables your brain to perform better when dealing with mentally demanding tasks, improves your memory, and reduces the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Researchers from Penn State University have found that learning a new language changes the brain network structurally and functionally. They found that successful learners had a more connected brain network which made their brain more flexible and efficient, with a higher ability to manage and process data. Moreover, learning a new language will open you to new and interesting opportunities.
Playing chess will literally make you smarter by exercising both sides of your brain. It has been shown that playing chess can stimulate the growth of dendrites (branch-like structures of neurons that conduct information around your body from neuron to neuron), which in turn can make your brain perform at a significantly higher level. Chess can also raise your IQ, help prevent Alzheimer’s, and spark your creativity. It increases your problem-solving skills because it requires fast, strategic critical thinking. At the same time, it teaches planning and anticipation, it helps improve your memory, and it builds self-confidence.
Writing makes your brain work. It requires creativity and commitment. It teaches you to think, create, and organize, because in order to write something useful you will have to read and research. Also, writing everything in your own words helps you externalize feelings and thoughts, memorize better, and clear space in your mind so you can focus on other important tasks. Writing things down can improve your emotions and your ability to communicate with others and it will definitely make you a more interesting person.
5. Learning to play the piano – or any musical instrument
Because it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time, playing an instrument teaches you patience and perseverance, and it sharpens your concentration. It is, actually, a workout for your entire brain. Playing an instrument activates many areas of your brain; it improves your creativity, analytical and executive skills, fine motor skills, memory, and overall brain function. Besides, once you learn how to do it, playing an instrument is so relaxing…
The purpose of meditation is to help you focus on yourself and acknowledge your emotions. It helps lower stress, enhances creative thinking, and productivity. Always choose to spend some time with yourself. Over time, meditation changes the brain and helps us control our emotions. It helps us understand that we can use our brain as a tool rather than an out-of-control engine that prevents us from being happy. Sara Lazar – a Harvard neuroscientist, discovered that meditation not only reduces stress, but it also improves cognition, empathy, compassion, and many more. Full article here.
Exercising on a regular basis keeps not only your body functioning as it is supposed to but also your brain. Good blood circulation in your body means good blood circulation to your brain, which means increased brain function. Besides, exercising reduces stress and helps you sleep better. You can try yoga, swimming, hiking, or even running, or weight lifting.
Leave the comfort of your sofa and take up one or more of these hobbies. Challenge yourself with activities that will improve your mind and you will become healthier, more confident, more challenging, and, of course, smarter.
Do you have any of these hobbies? What do you enjoy doing that challenges you? How do you keep your brain sharp?
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