Choosing to spend time studying is a lot less enticing than choosing to relax and do something that we enjoy. But what if you didn’t have to make that choice and could do both? Certain hobbies are scientifically proven to be more effective in boosting brainpower, regardless of how old you are and whether you’re actively trying to become smarter or not. If you’re okay double-dipping (and here’s hoping you are!), this list of ideas below will help you find a new pastime to simultaneously keep you relaxed and engaged.
Playing a musical instrument
Studies show learning how to play an instrument can help boost your memory and protect your brain from aging. Another major aspect to playing an instrument? Learning how to read music. Yes – those dots and squiggles actually mean something! Reading music is a great step to keeping your language skills engaged, and if you realize this is something you enjoy, it can lead to…
Learning a new language
It’s the perfect accompaniment to your wanderlust. You can choose to sign up for online courses, one-on-one tutoring sessions, or learn a few words a day to slowly immerse yourself in another culture’s primary language. This hobby can help you develop your problem-solving, memory, and perception skills. It can also help with prevention against dementia by keeping your brain actively engaged.
There’s a reason adult coloring books are still a major trend! Art therapy is a real way to de-stress and disengage from day-to-day life; the process of making artwork (and using adult coloring books) helps explore one’s emotions, create focus, and reduce anxiety. It helps us similar to how meditation does: coloring allows us to switch off our minds and find a sweet spot of tranquility and activity. There’s more than one reason those Ryan Gosling coloring books are a major hit.
If you’re interested in art but prefer something that’s more freeform, calligraphy may be something you’d like to pursue. According to Psychology Today, writing via pen and paper (instead of typing out your thoughts) trains your brain to learn “functional specialization” – the capacity for optimal efficiency. Further studies have shown that the majority of handwriting benefits are linked to cursive writing, a style that dominates calligraphy art. Looks like you can use those cursive lessons for something after all!
Playing Problem-Solving Video Games
Don’t feel bad the next time you open up Two Dots on your morning commute! Though the debate of whether video games are “good” or “bad” never seems to stop, a number of studies have come out saying that playing video games builds problem-solving, creativity, and memory skills. This is especially true for puzzle-based games, but it also applies to games designed solely for entertainment – like the popular game Minecraft.
Hey – everyone has to eat, right? If you’re looking for a new hobby, you may as well choose one you know you’ll use. Aside from the benefit of eating healthier, learning how to cook helps you hone your attention to detail while letting you use your creativity. You can take a culinary class if you’d like, but there are plenty of ways to learn cooking skills from the comfort of your own kitchen. Your stomach – and your brain – will thank you for learning this later!