How smart are you, readers? No, no. We aren’t talking about your intelligence or your education. Being smart has nothing to do with either of them.
Every one of us has got to be smart and learn to become smarter. Smartness is determined and influenced by various activities and experiences. Or a person could have been born smart. That doesn’t mean they’ll stay the same throughout their life. The day we stop learning, we stop being smart and intelligent (see, how learning is crucial for both). Okay, back to the topic.
How does one become smart? Any ideas, readers? Give it a thought. Being smart has something to do with the brain, isn’t it? And there lies the answer. We’ve got to keep the mind active, alert, and open to new ideas. We should be able to look at things from different perspectives.
But with the kind of lifestyle most of us lead, our brain becomes way too exhausted just like our body. It is thinking a thousand things every second and multitasking to keep up with the schedule and deadlines. It gets tired of doing the same every day. Giving the brain something new and different will help you relax, unwind, and rejuvenate. That’s the reason people are encouraged to have hobbies. They help break away from the monotonous activities. Whether you pick hobbies for fun, for learning, or for becoming healthier, they can contribute to making you smarter than before.
Yep. There are a good number of hobbies (most of which are popular and practiced but many of us) that help you become smarter individuals while also helping us relax and maybe even earn some money on the side. That’s super cool, right? Who knew hobbies have multiple benefits. Shall we get started right away then?
Skills That Make You Smart
1. Playing a Musical Instrument
Do you know that musicians have better cognitive and motor skills compared to others? Well, we aren’t saying it. There are many research studies to back up this statement. Whether you are a musician or are learning to play a new instrument, the activity will activate the corpus callosum, that part of your brain that connects the left hemisphere to the right one.
Higher activity in this region means that there is a faster flow of information. It helps you in solving problems by coming up with creative and new ideas. Also, musical instruments require dedication and disciple. You have to be focused and should concentrate on the music and the notes. You also have to account the various emotions a tune or a song evokes in you and the audiences.
2. Writing, Blogging
Why is writing so important? This is one of those hobbies that appear in just about every list, right? The reason is that writing helps you channel and control your thoughts. We don’t have to tell you how our mind is always coming up with something or the other. We get silly ideas, stupid ideas, funny ones, quirky ones, and wonderful ones.
But quite a few times, we end up failing to grasp the actual core of an idea because of the way it rushes away from us. Having to pick important ideas from the handful of thoughts that swirl in the brain is not easy. But when you start writing them down, you are forcing your mind to slow down and work in tandem with your hand. You channel your thoughts, streamline them, and give them a new and proper definition. Whether it is a journal, a side note, or a full-length novel, writing will keep you focused and also improve your memory.
3. Playing Video Games
Gotcha, didn’t we? How many of you expected this to feature on the list? Didn’t many of us grow up being told not to spend too much time playing video games and that it’s not good for the brain? Well, it is still true. Too much of anything is bad, including video games.
But game or two never hurt anyone. In fact, video games help you in better decision-making. Most games require you to make some sort of decision to win and advance to the next level. A wrong move or a choice can give the opposite result. Moreover, you’ve got only a few seconds (at the most) to decide and act. This improves your ability to think fast and act faster. You’ll also learn to be alert.
4. Knitting/ Needlework
Did you think knitting is a work for the elderly ladies or for some exclusive groups who form knitting circles? Well, you certainly have it wrong. Age and gender shouldn’t come into the picture when you talk of needlework. It is a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort.
Threading a needle itself is a complex task for many people. But think of the level of concentration it demands from you. Once you start learning, you will find comfort in the pattern of the stitch or the clicking of the needle. The repeated actions give your mind enough freedom to think of other activities and plan your day. Knitting, crocheting, and embroidery are also a means to earn some money on the side by selling the items you created.
Woodworking, or any other hobby that requires you to build and create something, helps in boosting your creativity and self-confidence. Woodworking is a physical activity that involves hard labor. You have to lift blocks of wood, move them, cut them, hammer nails, sand, paint, and polish the wood to get the final product.
For that, you first need to have the design clear in the mind and on the paper. The measurements are crucial if you want to build something useful. At no point, you can afford to lose your focus and let your mind drift. The last thing you want to end up injuring yourself in the process, right?
6. Making New Friends
Are you wondering how this is a skill? Well, it is. Making friends is not easy. Ask any introvert. Not everyone wants to meet a bunch of strangers and become friends with them. Yeah, it is second nature to some people, and no despite it being an admirable trait, we don’t envy such people.
However, developing the hobby of making new friends is productive and good for the brain. Whether it is in real life or on the internet, talking to someone, identifying common interests, and developing a bond will improve your personality and teach you things you do not know. Just make sure you pick the right friends. You want people to make you a better person, not the opposite.
7. Debates and Discussions
Let us first not confuse debating with arguing and name-calling. A debate is supposed to be respectful where people state their opinions and substantiate them with proofs and evidence. When two or more people look at the same topic from different perspectives, it’ll give rise to a difference of opinion.
Debating and discussing ideas need preparation. You need to read, search for relevant data, ensure its authenticity, and see to it that you are being logical and making sense. A healthy debate will teach everyone something new and will lead to positive conclusions. You also learn to think fast, recollect, and coherently present your thoughts.
8. Cooking, Yes
How is cooking going to make you smart? Simple. Cooking requires a combination of skills. You’ve got to plan, execute, and follow-through. You have to multitask, improvise, and create something edible. Whether you are still learning and need to follow the recipe to the dot, or whether you are confident of your skills that you cook without any assistance, cooking will ensure you don’t stay hungry despite having ingredients and a kitchen within reach.
Cooking means you need to stay in the moment, keep track of what you are doing, and how. Imagine adding extra salt because you were lost in thoughts or forgot to add a vital ingredient. Add, when you learn multitasking by cooking, will you not use the same at work? You’ll learn to effectively organize and manage your job.
Going Outdoors is a Smart Move
Why is hiking so popular? It’s a favorite weekend sport for a lot of people. Some even go for yearly hiking trips with registered organizations. Hiking requires physical fitness and stamina. You need to be strong physically and mentally to walk through a trail and climb the hills. The bonus point here is that you get to spend time in the lap of nature.
When you go hiking, you’ll be able to breathe in the fresh air of the hills and valleys. The activity improves your blood circulation and boosts your brainpower. You can push away the worries of daily life and let your mind think of pleasant stuff. And ultimately, hiking makes you productive and energetic.
Not everyone can go hiking, right? Not bothering with the reasons, we’ve brought another well-known hobby for you to try. Running is a real hobby and a go-to activity for those who want a cost-free way of staying fit and getting daily exercise in some form.
Whether you use a tracker or run for a fixed time every day, it helps you in becoming a balanced person and also motivates you to do better. You develop the ability to push through the mental block and arrive at the end result. You can let your mind focus on the thing that’s troubling you and work it out as you run through the streets. You may or may not arrive at a solution, but you will definitely feel better at the end of the run.
11. Growing a Garden
Gardening is such a relaxing and satisfying hobby, isn’t it? To see life bloom in your garden is a marvelous feeling. It is a pleasant hobby to have. But do you know it also teaches you to be smart and become productive?
A garden requires nurturing and constant care. It needs planning and execution. You need to know which plants to choose, when to plant, how much water to add, how to prevent the insects from ruining your crop, and what to do if the plants don’t grow as they should. You’ve got to read, understand, work on the earth, and multitask when caring for your garden. When you follow the same at work, you’ll see the fruits your efforts will bear.
No one can deny that traveling makes you smarter. You’ve got to be smart if you want to visit various countries and have fun at each place while learning something about the local culture, tradition, and habits. If you like to travel alone, you’ll learn to be self-sufficient and rely on your decisions and intuition to stay safe in an unknown land.
Traveling teaches you to observe your surroundings, understand and accept new concepts, gain confidence, and also get rid of stress. You might be tired, but you will feel refreshed after a trip to your favorite destination. The trick is to be a traveler, not a tourist who goes by the guidebook.
13. Outdoor Sports
Any outdoor sports, especially team sports, will improve your personality and fitness levels in different ways. Sports are exercises for the body and mind. You will learn to be flexible, adaptive, and responsive. You learn to be alert, focused, improve your reflexes, make better decisions, coordinate with others, and work as a true team member.
You will notice the subtle gestures and movements and participate in wordless communication. Your awareness levels will increase, allowing you to see things you would have missed before. It doesn’t matter which sport you pick. Just love it and have fun. Improvement will come on its own.
Fitness Plays a Role
14. Bodybuilding/ Exercising
What is the most important thing you need if you want to take up exercising as a hobby? Discipline. You need to be regular and follow the schedule. It’s not something you do when bored. Whether you are in the mood to exercise or not, you should stick to the routine. Health issues are different, though.
If you are aiming for some bulging muscles, you will need to be strict with your regime and diet. Self-control is important to not overindulge or lose interest over time. Exercising relieves stress and anxiety. It will clear your mind and activate your senses. You will be able to sleep better at night and wake up feeling productive.
Swimming is one of the best ways to exercise regularly. And if you have a pool at home, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take a dip and swim under the moonlight. It is relaxing and refreshing for the body and mind. You do see the importance of having a healthy body to have a healthy mind, don’t you?
With each stroke in the water, you can wade through your muddled thoughts and find a solution to a problem that has been troubling you. You can let your mind drift as the water soothes your skin and muscles. Spending 30-60 swimming will not just refresh you but will also improve your thought process.
16. Yoga and Meditation
Do we even have to talk about this one? Don’t we all know how yoga and meditation help in reducing anxiety, gives us peace, improving our concentration and memory power? 20-30 minutes of yoga and 5-10 minutes of meditation can bring a lot of positive energy and make you feel better.
You learn to separate your thoughts and get rid of unwanted and negative things that cloud your mind and decrease your morale. Meditation aligns your senses and gently nudges you to focus on your inner self and draw strength and inspiration from it. Yoga promotes the overall wellbeing of a human. Just stick to your schedule and practice it regularly.
Other Things To Do
Did you think we wouldn’t mention reading? Or that we probably forget this excellent hobby? Not likely, readers. You would have already noticed that a good number of the above-listed hobbies require you to read and research. Reading is necessary and should be an intrinsic part of everyone’s life.
Whether you read a newspaper, fiction, nonfiction, blogs, or theories, you should be able to learn something from them while also enjoying the process. Reading is relaxing and a great way to gain knowledge without putting any effort. You wouldn’t even be aware of all the information your mind has absorbed until you use some of it elsewhere and remember the source.
It doesn’t matter how annoying you feel when you can’t complete a puzzle. The attraction of successfully solving it is too strong to resist. Whether it is cardboard puzzles, online board games, crosswords, Sudoku, or something else, a puzzle is like food for thought.
You have to look at it from different angles and considering various ideas/ theories before finalizing the best one. You need to step away and take a look at the bigger picture. This teaches you the importance of having a broader viewpoint and how stepping away for a while can actually help in solving the problem. Playing mystery games is also a way of solving puzzles, and is even more exciting.
19. Collecting Things
What does the collection have to do with becoming smart? Maintaining and adding to your collection is no small task. You need to go to great lengths at times to obtain the object you want. If you collect valuables, you should have enough knowledge to differentiate between real and fake.
Being a collector who gets fooled by a seller isn’t good for the reputation, right? Also, starting a collection will pique your interest and make you curious to know more. Curiosity (within limits) is healthy and good for the mind. You also get tuned to automatically focus on the topic of interest and pay more attention.
20. Getting a Pet
Pets make you smarter? Oh, yes, they do. They are cute little smarties themselves and inspire humans to be more thoughtful, compassionate, giving, and loving. You also become responsible and learn new things about caring for a pet and also about yourself.
They teach us to never give up and approach a problem from different directions. As we continue to live with our pets and love them like our own, we become better humans with smarter brains. And being greeted by your pet after a long day at work is amazing, isn’t it?
21. Daydreaming/ Take a Nap
Oh, this is something most of us love, don’t we? At last, there is a hobby that is easy to practice and gives some great results. A short nap will help in relaxing your overworked mind by giving it a break. 20 minutes of napping can refresh you and make you ready to tackle the next challenge.
What’s daydreaming? It’s your mind going off tangent and coming up with various scenarios that may never come true in real life. See what’s happening here? You are being creative and smart. All you need to make sure of is that you channel your dreams into something productive.
These aren’t the only hobbies you can take up to become smarter. A lot of hobbies can boost the activity of your grey cells (courtesy, Poirot) if you wholeheartedly take up the hobby and strive to gain something of value from it.
The most important thing to not do is to consider the hobby as a means to become smart. It should not be a focal point or the end goal. Take up hobbies because you want to. Try something because it makes you happy or gives you the much-required peace of mind. Hobbies are supposed to be life-long activities. They are your companions.
As the hobbies start making you a better person, make sure you continue practicing them. Soon, they will become a natural part of your life, and you’ll always keep growing in an improved version of your previous self.