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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 July 10, 2020

                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                Boundaries are limits

                —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                • When do you feel disrespected?
                • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                • When do you want to be alone?
                • How much space do you need?

                You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                Sample language:

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                • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                Final Thoughts

                Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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