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Taking Up These 10 Hobbies Will Make You Smarter

Taking Up These 10 Hobbies Will Make You Smarter

There is a general perception that we can’t do much to enhance our intelligence. It’s almost always believed that whether you’re smart or not is determined right at birth and you can’t do anything about it.

However, these are all misconceptions. While some people have conditions that prevent them from being able to increase their intelligence level, for most people, there are plenty of things that can be done to make them smarter.

Hobbies are integral parts of our lives, and once developed, we find ourselves immersed in them on a regular basis. Hobbies are fun and invigorating- and they can also have a great influence on our intelligence.

Below are 10 hobbies that will help to make you smarter- all backed up by scientific studies and experiments:

1. Play a musical instrument.

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    Confucius said a long time ago, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without”. Music stimulates your brain, and this has been proven by research as well.

    Music has the power to invoke complex emotions and psychological states. Various researchers have shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument increases memory capacity.

    Playing a musical instrument also teaches you patience and perseverance for it takes time and effort to learn to play a musical instrument. It also sharpens your concentration.

    2. Read voraciously.

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      Reading goes a long way towards increasing your intelligence level- this is further the case if you read voraciously across many different topics, from fiction and biographies, to anthologies.

      Reading reduces stress, helps you to experience multiple emotions, and teaches you a lot about many subjects. All these factors help you to feel better about yourself; being at peace with yourself is one of the most important foundations for positive wellbeing.

      Reading is very important for enhancing your knowledge on a subject, preparing for all sorts of situations and being more productive in how you go about achieving your goals.

      3. Meditate regularly.

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        The foremost benefit of meditation is to help you focus on yourself and to get you to know your true self. Being engrossed in meditation helps individuals transcend to a higher state of being.

        Meditation helps to reduce stress levels and gets rid of all sorts of worries. With a calm and composed state of mind obtained through meditation, you can learn, think and plan things in a much more effective way.

        Regular meditation helps you to have full control over yourself. Being aware of distractions and effective methods of self-control are of the utmost significance when working to improve your intelligence.

        4. Work out your brain.

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          Just as you need to work out regularly to keep your body fit, you also need to work out your brain to keep it in good shape. Regularly challenging the brain to do new things enhances its abilities and helps to keep you sharp.

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          You can work out your brain in plenty of ways such as through: sudoku, puzzles, board games, and riddles. All these activities help the brain to continue forming new connections. Through such activities you also learn to respond to situations in creative ways, develop the ability to see things from a lot of different perspectives and become significantly more productive.

          5. Exercise often.

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            A healthy body helps to ensure that you have a healthy brain. After all, your brain is like another muscle in your body. Exercising regularly keeps your brain and body functioning as they are supposed to. It reduces tension and helps you to sleep better.

            Doctors agree that better blood circulation to the brain means increased brain function. Various studies on mice and humans have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells, and thus improve overall brain performance.

            6. Learn a new language.

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              Learning a new language may not always be an easy task but it definitely has numerous advantages-making you smarter, being one of them.

              The process of learning a new language involves tasks such as analyzing grammatical structures and learning new words, which enhances your intelligence and brain health.

              It has also been proven through various experiments that people with high levels of verbal-linguistic intelligence are great at planning, decision-making and problem-solving.

              7. Write your feelings down.

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                There are tons of benefits that you can receive from writing, including increasing your overall level of intelligence.

                Writing improves your linguistic abilities, of course. But it also helps you to develop such skills as focus, creativity, imagination, and comprehension.

                Writers are often considered as having very high levels of intelligence. You can write in different ways. You can write things with your hand or you can create your own blog. Whatever you do, you are giving words to the images in your mind; learning to express yourself clearly is a great way to boost your intelligence.

                8. Travel to new places.

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                  Travelling is not just a way to kill your boredom- there’s lot more to it than that. Travelling can really boost your intelligence.

                  The physical and mental workouts involved with travelling, rid your mind of stress. As you become stress-free, you are more able to focus on tasks, observations, and deepening your understanding of subjects.

                  Every new place you travel to offers new things to learn. You encounter diverse people, food, culture, lifestyle and society while travelling, which puts you in touch with ideas you might never have thought of previously.

                  9. Cook different kinds of meals.

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                    Many of us feel that cooking is a mere waste of time and it’s something we very much want to avoid.

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                    But instead of whining, you should feel happy when you have the opportunity to cook. Regular cooks, particularly the ones who try out a variety of meals, have high levels of creativity. They are committed to quality, aren’t afraid to try things out and they pay great attention to details.

                    Whenever you cook something, you are learning to multitask, measure with precision and make quick decisions. With all of these skills you’re acquiring, you’re becoming smarter too.

                    10. Participate in sports actively.

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                      Participating regularly in sports activities doesn’t only exercise the muscles but also does the same for the brain. Playing sports regularly makes the brain more flexible and improves overall brain health.

                      Sports have added benefits too. Watching sports has been linked with increased brain function, and through exercising you work out your muscles. Involvement in sport also enhances responsiveness, coordination, capabilities, and confidence.

                      Top athletes are known for their special form of intelligence. It doesn’t matter whether you play football, basketball or cricket. Consider being regularly involved in some form of sport to boost your brain’s performance.

                      Featured photo credit: Tatyana__K via shutterstock.com

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                      Nabin Paudyal

                      Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                      How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

                      How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

                      Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

                      For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                      But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                      It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                      The Importance of Saying No

                      When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                      In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                      Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

                      Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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                      Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

                      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                      When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                      How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                      It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

                      From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                      We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

                      And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                      The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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                      How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

                      Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

                      The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                      1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                      Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

                      2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                      Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                      3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

                      When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                      6 Ways to Start Saying No

                      Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

                      1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                      One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

                      Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                      2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                      Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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                      Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

                      3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

                      Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                      Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

                      4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

                      Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                      Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                      5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

                      When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

                      Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                      A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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                      6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

                      If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                      Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                      Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

                      Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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                      Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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