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7 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and More Productive

7 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and More Productive

What good is a life that does not involve pleasure or fun?

Today’s corporate culture is primarily driven by productivity. The more productive you are, the more likely you are to earn respect, fame and appreciation in the workplace. Diminished productivity is linked to an increased amount of stress, which, in turn, may set you up for the onset of a number of stress-related conditions and diseases.

Pursuing a hobby is a great way to spend your extra time during the day. Hobbies help keep you away from the mental and physical effects of stress by filling your life with a new energy and happiness. They may not fetch you extra cash in your pocket, but they can certainly help improve confidence, learning, and experience.

Getting busy in a hobby or leisure activity brings a lot of fun, relaxation and happiness in life. It is believed that pursuing a hobby is not only a way to pass time or do something different from routine work, but also helps improve the overall quality of life. With this simple form of relaxation, you get an opportunity to meet new people and express creativity. Be it an indoor activity or an outdoor one, indulging in a hobby is a great way to get away from the daily hustle-bustle of normal routine.

Indoor Activities

Meditation

Meditation

    One of the most popular and the simplest ways to indulge in an indoor hobby is to practice the art of meditation. It not only helps pass the time and keep you healthy, but it also helps boost concentration and the immune system function. Additionally, meditation helps eliminate anxiety, depression, negative feelings and stress. All these benefits, in turn, help improve your overall productivity.

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    It is not necessary to devote a fixed amount of time every day for meditation. From five minutes to one hour, any amount of time is sufficient to help channel inner peace.

    You should make sure that you set yourself up in a calming environment before saying your Oms. You may turn on soft music, light candles and lay yourself down on a yoga mat to set the right mood for meditation. Once you are able to find the right environment and mood, meditation can definitely be fun.

    Become a gamer

    Become a Gamer

      No matter how much your parents or your partner may dislike you playing video games, this hobby might actually help relieve day-to-day stress. In addition, playing video games helps improve cognitive flexibility and decision-making in real time. The improved decision-making ability is not only restricted to games, but also shows at the workplace where you will be better equipped to handle the workflow and make quick decisions.

      In addition, the music that plays in the background when the game is on is quite progressive in nature. The sound corresponds to the rewards and achievement that you earn during the game. It is believed that having those sounds or songs play as you work helps improve the productivity by almost ten times.

      Embroidery

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      Embroidery

        Embroidery can be meditative in nature too. Believe it or not, there are people who find pleasure and happiness in embroidering everything they can, be it a flower or a quote. Embroidering is something that you can do on the go, while watching movies, or while watching your children.

        Embroidery is a relatively simple, affordable and enjoyable hobby to pursue. From T-shirt embroidery to embroidery for logo, there are multiple ways to decorate a piece of fabric using beads, thread, pearls, sequins and a needle. Embroidery brings out the best creativity in you, as you try your hand at giving your old clothes a new and unique look.

        All you need to start embroidering today is a small pair of scissors, an embroidery hoop, needles and floss. There are multiple online portals that offer tutorials on how to create patterns, designs and logos using thread and needle.

        Crafting

        Craft Work

          Ever heard of “best out of waste?” Yes, turning trash into something that is useful can be fun too! Crafting can be highly therapeutic in nature, as it helps fight anxiety, chronic pain and depression. More importantly, you do not need to go anywhere to do it.

          Sitting in the comfort of your home, you can decide to pick up needles and turn the trash in your home into a treasure that you can possess till eternity. It might be hard to believe, but you will find yourself getting addicted to this practice pretty soon.

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          Try finding objects and things that you do not use anymore and then ask yourself: Can I turn this into something useful? Find an appropriate DIY idea that you can apply to the object to turn it into something creative and useful.

          Outdoor Activities

          Hiking and trekking

          Hiking and trekking

            Taking up hiking or trekking as a hobby does not necessarily mean that you have to be a pro at climbing mountains. In fact, it is one of those weekend hobbies that you can incorporate into your routine according to the level of exertion that you can handle. Once you get used to the trail, you can gradually increase the difficulty level of the trek by changing the path.

            It is believed that hiking and trekking helps improve productivity. It not only exposes you to the natural beauty of the environment, but also frees your mind of all the worries and stress related to the day-to-day life. More importantly, it acts as a great exercise that helps maintain physical strength and stamina.

            Cycling

            cycling

              Another outdoor activity that you can choose to pursue as a hobby is cycling. Apart from the physical benefits, there are several incredible mental and psychological plus points associated with riding a bicycle.

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              Cycling is a great way to escape from a stressful environment by getting closer to nature. It is believed that bicycle riding helps improve memory by facilitating the build-up of new brain cells in the hippocampus region of the brain. In addition, cycling also helps make you more productive by boosting your energy level. Health experts believe that a quick cycling session in the afternoon may help significantly improve productivity in the evening.

              Additionally, cycling helps build creative thinking. From artists to musicians and writers, many who suffer from a mental block turn to cycling. The influx of fresh air helps improve problem-solving skills and creativity.

              Rock climbing

              Rock climbing

                Rock climbing is yet another way to ward off stress. It is not necessary to find real rocks and mountains to climb; you can go to indoor rock climbing centers that might not give stunning views, but are as beneficial as real rocks.

                Rock climbing is considered to be a full-body workout. This hobby doesn’t just let you maintain appropriate physical fitness levels and greater cognitive ability, but also has many emotional and psychological benefits associated with it.

                Rock climbing helps with goal-setting and acts as a great stress reliever. In addition, it helps improve confidence and perseverance. Climbing a mountain is something that you can flaunt for the rest of your life.

                Featured photo credit: Jonathan Mueller via flickr.com

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                Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                Listen carefully:

                We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                1. Pray Daily

                You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                3. Smile Often

                Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                4. Organize Your Working Desk

                A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                How do you do that? This is my formula:

                First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                8. Go Exercise

                Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                The Bottom Line

                It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                More Resources About Mindfulness

                Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                Reference

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