Everybody needs a hobby, as the saying goes. So why not choose a pastime that will get the grey matter going? Mental stimulation is crucial for our continuing enjoyment of life and to avert the degradation of our faculties into old age. So here are five hobbies that put the “fun” into functional.
“A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us”. So said the mighty Franz Kafka, and we’d be inclined to agree. The greatest minds in human history have committed their collected wisdom to the page forever, and it’s all there at our fingertips. Now, while we all enjoy a guilty Lee Childs or Jodi Picoult novel now and again, try aiming a little higher. Heavy weight reading is a great workout for the brain. Quality literature can broaden our emotional intelligence, while philosophy, psychology and history can expand our minds. Who doesn’t enjoy curling up with a good book anyway?
2. Learn a language
Learning a language is the equivalent of a punishing mixed martial arts training session for your brain. Having to rethink grammatical patterns on the go whilst memorising massive amounts of information as vocabulary requires a huge cognitive output from your brain. It’s not easy, but some languages are harder than others. Spanish is relatively simple language to pick up and is spoken widely around the world. For someone looking for a more challenging tongue, try looking at Russian, Japanese or Arabic. Not to mention that speaking a language such a Mandarin could give you a big advantage in your professional sphere. And hey, if you succeed, what better way to reward yourself than with a holiday to try it out on the locals?
The ancient and venerable sport of chess dates back centuries, played by kings and paupers alike. We figure there’s a reason it’s stuck around for so long. Chess engages strategic thought, risk/reward analysis and spatial thinking. It can be played anywhere, with any level of player. Remember, you only improve by playing against people better than you, so lose gracefully and learn from your mistakes.
Much like chess, poker is a long standing game played by everyone from presidents to roughnecks. Also much like chess, poker essentially pivots on principles of game theory and an ability to read your opponent. However, poker employs a whole host of statistical probabilities that see the game’s top players sharing a concurrent gift for numbers. There’s TonyBet casino review also need for acute emotional sensitivity in being able to read the actions of the person across the felt from you.
Not as much of a surprise as you might think, exercise has a whole host of mental benefits. It relieves stress, clears the mind and releases mood enhancing endorphins. Regular exercise also increases blood flow and consequently transports more oxygen to your brain cells.