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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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                12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

                1. Nuts

                The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                2. Blueberries

                Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                3. Tomatoes

                Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                4. Broccoli

                While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                6. Soy

                Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                7. Dark chocolate

                When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

                15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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                B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                10. Gingko biloba

                This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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                It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                11. Green and black tea

                Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                Find out more about green tea here:

                11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                12. Sage and Rosemary

                Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                Reference

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