One of the coolest things about being an adult (or as close to one as you can get) is that instead of doing homework after class, you get to fill your time after work with hobbies. Spending time on something that’s just for fun might seem like a foreign concept, but if you don’t have any hobbies you may want to consider finding one. Having hobbies not only helps you de-stress, but certain activities can also make you smarter – all while having fun. If you’re looking for something to fill your spare time, here’s our list of brain-boosting suggestions.
Learning How to Code
Nowadays, every job has a digital component, so learning how to code can give you a significant edge in the workplace. There are several languages you can learn, but even the most basic (HTML and CSS) will really help you understand web design, social media, and product development. You can find several free lessons online (Codecademy is a great place to start) and so long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can learn how to code free of charge!
Learning a New Language
When it comes to languages, you can never know too many. Especially if you’re a frequent traveler. Learning a new language not only makes it easier to communicate in foreign (and local) lands, but it can also help improve your brain power. Studies have shown that learning a new language can slow brain aging! There’s never been a better reason to order Rosetta Stone.
Your writing skills can never be “too good,” and the more you write, the better your communication skills will become. Even if you just start writing about your favorite TV show, learning how to articulate your thoughts effectively on paper (and online) can help make your communication skills stronger overall. You’ll become more perceptive to how you use your grammar and vocabulary, and you’ll also grow to understand your specific writing style. Blogging online also gives you an easy forum for feedback, meaning you can consistently grow as a writer based on how others perceive your work.
While we’re not suggesting that reading Stephenie Meyer’s new novel will make you smarter, choosing to read a book for its knowledge is very different than reading one for fun. If you’re already an avid fiction reader, add books to your reading list that you wouldn’t usually pick up. Reading one informative book – whether it be on politics, economics, history, or something else that interests you – for every two you read for fun will help you expand your knowledge base. You’ll never know when that information will come in handy, even if it is just for your weekly trivia night.
Learning an Instrument
Science has proven that playing a musical instrument is beneficial for your mind, as it involves several different parts of the brain. Specifically, playing a musical instrument strengthens the corpus callosum – the part of the brain that links the right and left sides. This leads to stronger problem-solving skills, memory, and overall brain function. The cool part? Picking up an instrument, no matter your age, will help you develop the above. You’re never too old to learn! (Obviously, this means it’s time to go ahead and enroll in that RockStar weekend camp.)
Puzzles and Board Games
This one sounds like it could just be for fun, but completing puzzles and other board games can benefit neuroplasticity – a term used to describe how the brain can reorganize itself. Anyone can find a puzzle or game they love based on their interests – and yes, iPhone games like Candy Crush and Two Dots count! Having high neuroplasticity not only helps you become smarter, but it can also help you avoid certain conditions like anxiety and depression. You can be productive and preventative at the same time.