Intelligence is arguably the one trait that sets us apart from most other species on this planet. As conscious, emotional beings, we use our smarts to help us navigate the endless number of situations and predicaments we find ourselves. So, it makes sense that having a sharp mind will benefit you in a variety of ways.
While it used to be widely believed that people were born with a limited amount of intelligence that could not be changed, we now know it to be true that we can change our brains, depending on how we use them.
Here are five hobbies that promote a healthy, powerful brain:
1) Playing an instrument
If you’re musically inclined, you’re already doing one of the most healthy practices possible for your brain. Playing an instrument ranks at the top of brain-boosting hobbies. It utilizes creativity, analytics, language, math and precise motor function skills to produce the sounds that we love to hear.
It’s particularly powerful because it helps build connections from one hemisphere of the brain to the other by fortifying the corpus callosum. A healthy corpus callosum promotes improved memory, problem solving skills, and overall cognitive functionality.
Whenever you read anything, you’re helping boost all three types of intelligence: crystallized, fluid and emotional. Reading is incredibly powerful. Not only does it reduce stress levels, but it helps you learn how to navigate the world around you better. You get better at piecing together different parts of the puzzle of life; from understanding people and their emotions, to managing one’s problems and how to overcome them.
I know, not everyone enjoys working up a sweat. But remember: the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Instead of doing high-intensity workouts once in awhile, strive to workout on a routine basis. When you push yourself physically on a regular basis, the body’s cells become filled with a protein (called BDNF) that boosts memory function, focus, concentration and comprehension. The opposite has also been seen; not working out for long periods of time will inhibit cognitive functioning.
4) Exercising the brain!
Just as our bodies need exercise to be happy, so too do our brains. Practicing activities that stimulate the brain on a regular basis helps build a larger neural network, which in turn helps the brain in almost every way. These types of activities include video games, board games, riddles, puzzles, sudoku and other similar types of stimuli.
Numerous studies on meditation have found that master meditators can actually control what types of brainwaves their minds produce. One study specifically looked at whether or not they can produce certain brain waves on command.
The Dalai Lama and other monks were involved in a study that discovered the monks could completely change the state of their brain. When told to manifest compassion, their brainwaves were strictly ones of compassion.
Ambitious individuals who learned of this information sought to use it to their advantage. If you wanted to feel more powerful and confident before meeting with your boss, you’d meditate on feeling powerful. Essentially, we can feel any emotion or feeling that we want to by using meditation to control our brainwaves and thoughts.
So, there you have it. Five low-effort hobbies you can pick up to start bolstering your mental fortitude that have big payoffs in the long run!
h/t Simple Capacity