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Six Hobbies That Can Help You Beat Stress

Six Hobbies That Can Help You Beat Stress

Stress is something that almost all of us suffer from at some point in our lives. Science says a little stress is good, but too much of it can begin to cause serious problems. One of the easiest ways to reduce stress in your life is to turn your attention towards other things.

Speak to any specialist, and you’ll hear words like ‘do what you love to beat stress.’ Stress is basically our reaction to changes in or around our lives. It is also related to overthinking, so the best solution is to do or think about things we love. If we spend a while focused on something not stressful, our overall stress levels are reduced.

To help you live a life with less stress, here are six hobbies that will help you stay happy and relaxed.

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1. Photography

Most people like to think that photography is a very expensive hobby and includes spending money on costly cameras, lenses, and travel to tourist places. While these may be required for a professional shoot, you can do well without the ‘expensive’ part when it comes to photography as a hobby.

Use your phone’s camera and anything, including your best friend, your friend’s wedding venue, or your meal, can turn into your object. Photography is all about getting immersed in the moment and looking at things from a different perspective. And if it goes well, you can turn it into a rewarding profession.

2. Gardening

If you are fond of greenery and flowers, this hobby is just the right hobby for you. Gardening will require some information about the right kinds of plants for your region and how to take care of those plants. Fortunately, most of the information can be acquired online or from your local nursery.

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Gardening helps in more ways than one. You will be around nature, in fresh air, and also get to enjoy the fruits of your hobby (literally).

3. Coloring

According to several studies, coloring is one of the best ways to reduce stress. However, some experts also argue that the effects of this hobby are temporary. Nonetheless, it is affordable and keeps your brain focused, especially if you get down to coloring complex mandalas and books specifically designed to beat stress.

The trick is to get your mind busy creating a piece of art that leaves you and everyone else around you mesmerized. In addition to coloring, you can also try painting.

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4. Cooking

Who doesn’t love food? If the aroma of fresh meals attracts you, it is time to wear your chef’s uniform and step into the kitchen. Pick veggies from your garden, cook using your skills, and take photographs of your newly cooked masterpieces, and bid adieu to a stressful life.

5. Yoga

Yoga has been proven to reduce stress. It takes you away from the troubles of the real world. It is difficult to master yoga, and some asanas may take years to perfect; it is still a very good way to reduce stress. You can start with simple exercises by going through tutorials online. However, getting enrolled in a class is always a wise idea.

6. Reading and Writing

Pick up your favorite book and start reading. It is an addictive hobby that can keep you busy for hours and benefit you in many ways. And if you’re feeling a little creative after finishing your first book, you can start creating your own novella as well. However, try to stick to stories or books that do not remind you of sad realities.

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You can also take part in any sport you like, and mingle with others and make new friends. All in all, the key lies in concentrating on things that make you happy, so you can lower your stress.

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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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