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5 New Hobbies For the Creatively Restless

5 New Hobbies For the Creatively Restless

There is no escaping the fact that a lot of us are sleep-walking through many of our days like zombies. Work has become a grind that no longer inspires us quite like it used to and we have taken to falling into the refuge of the online versions of ourselves more and more often. This disconnection from our real self is simply not healthy.

The internet and social media offer us wonderful opportunities to grow and develop every day, but we cannot allow the virtual world to subsume who we really are. I know all of this is to be true because I feel it intensely myself. I think it’s time for us to all wake up a little and get back to who we really are. One of the easiest ways to start this transformation is by taking up some new hobbies.

There are a multitude of interesting new hobbies that you can try out. The following options will resonate with almost everybody. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, or simply somebody who feels at a loose end, taking up one of these new hobbies will bring back some creativity to your life.

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1. Writing

In my experience this is one of the new hobbies that many people often dream of doing, but for some reason never get around to. Friends who have told me they would love to write leave me perplexed, as surely this is one of the easiest things anybody could do. Perhaps the very process of writing is just such a personal one that some people find it daunting to take on. Others may dream of writing a beautiful poem, or an epic novel, but are blocked from doing so by the sheer fear of not being able to pull it off.

As a writer myself, I can promise you that it is one of the most rewarding and challenging hobbies that you could ever take up. The ability to relay your experiences into words is a wonderful feeling. It helps you better process and understand the world around you.

Writing is unique in that all you need to get started is a pen and some paper. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you need to know the rules of grammar, or to have read all of the classics, before you have a go at it for yourself. The best writing is always that which is the most honest. Whether you write a diary or a journal just for you, or you’re interested in getting into poetry or fiction, as long as you believe in what you are doing, you simply cannot go wrong.

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2. Meditation

Meditation is an interesting and perhaps controversial addition to this list as some would suggest it is not really a hobby. These people may be right, meditation is more than just a hobby, but one of the secrets of meditation is that it is really nothing more than about you learning to be happy and at one with yourself. In the context of why we’re looking for new hobbies in the first place, I believe this fact warrants its place on this list.

For those new to meditation, it can be a practice that can at first feel a little unusual. This is fine, meditation is indeed a little bit unusual, but that is also part of its beauty. You can approach meditation from a certain spiritual perspective and delve into the religion behind it. It is also something that you can just impulsively decide to introduce into your life all of a sudden. Just sitting alone in a quiet place is enough for you to get started. Just this very simple intention of dedicating a tiny part of your day to silence and contemplation can have a huge impact on your life.

3. Flower Arranging

Flower arranging is a great new hobby for the creatively restless. Not only does it allow you to employ your creative talents to make something beautiful, but it also lets you interact with nature at the same time. Most people love plants and flowers anyway, but these are usually one of those things that we often let drift by at the edge of our lives.

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Flower arranging might sound like one of those new hobbies that could end up hurting your pocket, but it does not need to be expensive. Over time you will learn more on how to get the most out of your favourite flowers and use them in ways you would have never thought possible before. Not only will flower arranging automatically brighten up your home, it will also help put a spring in your step as this practice is said to be highly therapeutic.

4. Calligraphy

If like me, you have a terrible handwriting, taking calligraphy up as one of your new hobbies could have more practical benefits than just passing time creatively. This may seem like one of the more complicated new hobbies to try your hand at, but it really isn’t all that different from writing. The main difference being that you are going to need to invest in a fancy nib, a nice pot of ink, and some higher quality paper.

Learning calligraphy may also sound a little bit more technical than the more usual hobbies, but a few quick web searches will soon have you directed towards a multitude of really useful instructional blogs and videos.

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5. Get Out Into Nature

Okay this one will probably apply mainly to city-dwellers, but it’s amazing just how much a lot of us insist on remaining confined to a very narrow physical space. Home, work, eat, drink, home, repeat. This is probably a pretty accurate picture of the majority, even those that actually live quite close to nature.

Getting out into nature is one of the most healthy new hobbies you can do and I guarantee you that no matter where you live, you will be amazed at just how much amazing nature there is within not much more than an hour’s journey time from your home. Taking advantage of the nature around is not just a physically healthy exercise. The complete disconnect that you feel once you’ve left your town or city behind will really give your emotions a boost and leave you feeling a lot more motivated to take on the week ahead.

Featured photo credit: Moyan Brenn 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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