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12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

Unless you happen to be a professional writer, writing may seem like an impractical hobby to adopt. After all, who has time to dedicate to a practice that requires such concentration and thought, while juggling everything else in your day? Luckily, it doesn’t take much time to start a writing practice, and even just a few minutes per week can be profoundly therapeutic. You don’t need to get a novel published in order to consider yourself an active writer.

1. Finding clarity in your thought process

Let’s face it – sometimes we don’t know what we actually think or feel. The activities of the day can easily jumble your thoughts, stress you out, and muddle your mental clarity. By giving yourself space and time to write things down, you allow yourself to be honest and let anything out.

2. Making better decisions

We’ve all made pros and cons lists, even if just in our heads. But writing about a difficult decision gives the process of deciding a new, visual dimension. Upon writing about a problem, you may be able to go back and re-read what your wrote to find clarity. When thoughts are laid out on a page, it’s much easier to see your genuine thoughts, as well as problems and realistic possibilities.

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3. Becoming more professional

Nowadays, digital content is the primary vehicle for businesses to market themselves, communicate with their customers, and build a brand. Thus it is slowly becoming a necessity for professionals to know how to write with eloquence. Something as simple as knowing how to write a white paper, a blog post, or a professional email can propel your career to the next level.

4. Releasing negative thoughts and feelings

For years, scientists have be uncovering the emotional benefits of writing. This does not only apply to conventional pen-and-paper writing, but even blogging. According to Harvard researchers, blogging has been shown to be therapeutic. According to Scientific American, “Some hospitals have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites as clinicians begin to recognize the therapeutic value.”

5. Stimulating your creative juices

When neuroscientists observed participants brains while they wrote, they found striking similarities between the writers and the typical activity of someone playing a sport. While the physical act of copying words did not stimulate creative centers of the brain, the act of both thinking and writing did.

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6. Finding relief from physical illness

Believe it or not or not, a study by New Zealand researchers showed that patients who wrote after biopsies had wounds heal faster than those that didn’t write. Furthermore, asthma patients who wrote were found to have fewer attacks, and AIDS patients were found to have higher T cell counts. Amazingly, this reveals the possibility that writing can not only benefit your mental health, but physical health as well.

7. Disconnecting from technology

Grabbing a pen and paper is the perfect way to disconnect from technology throughout your day. It’s an activity that still stimulates and occupies your mind – but it’s not overstimulating like most things we find on the internet, our phones, and tv.

8. There’s a writing style for everyone

The common conception of a writer is basically an author – someone who meticulously slaves over their novel while working to get published. For many, this may sound daunting and tedious. However, not every writer is the stereotypical, Edgar Allan Poe-esque creative genius. Some writers are critics, writing reviews for food, movies, or music. Others may write grants for organizations, while technical writers create instructional documents.

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9. Improving memory

By writing with a pen and paper, those who are studying are able to retain more information than if they were simply reading. The act of writing information down activates the brain’s Reticular Activating System, leading to stronger memory retention.

10. Develop a greater ability to express yourself

Writing gets you into the habit of using language in a more particular way. It helps you to avoid being vague (e.g. She is doing good), and delve into the deeper aspects of what you are experiencing (e.g. Her performance has improved considerably). This will help others understand you better.

11. You don’t need to be an expert

Many people consider themselves poor writers, while others feel they just don’t enjoy the practice. But much of this discouragement comes from self judgement. Your writing doesn’t have to be free of error – it doesn’t even need to be good. The benefits come from simply getting into the habit. The more you write, the more skilled and fluid you’ll become with words and ideas.

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12. Slow down

It’s difficult to rush through a writing session. If you’re always on the go and feeling overstimulated, writing will force you to become more grounded.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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