Looking for ways to reduce stress? Why not engaging in a hobby?

Stress is an unavoidable part of daily life for adults. Whether stress arises from work, finances, or relationships, it can be detrimental to your emotional and physical health. There are many ways to reduce stress, but studies show engaging in hobbies has a consistent and lasting effect on stress levels.

The Importance of Entertainment

The Mayo Clinic recognizes stress as a factor in many physical and mental ailments. While some concerns, such as a headache, are temporary, stress can also play a part in long-term concerns like heart disease. Finding ways to reduce stress can also reduce health issues.

2007 study from Indiana University stated: “leisure can help people to successfully manage their stress, thereby preventing illness.” Continued research has increased the understanding of the roles that hobbies can play in health. Study results published in The Society of Behavioral Medicine showed that participants reported feeling less stress and experienced a lower heart rate while engaging in a variety of leisure activities. Those health benefits continued for about an hour after each activity concluded. The study also showed that the stress-reduction benefits of recreation can be achieved whether you have fun with others or on your own – whatever form your downtime activity takes, you can enjoy less stress.

Engaging Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present time and your current actions, without allowing your mind to wander to the past or the future. Mindfulness has been linked to a multitude of positive mental, physical, and social health effects, with even the American Psychological Association touting its benefits. Stressful thoughts, such as worrying about a problem at work, can be cleared away by mindful focus.

Engaging mindfulness practices can be done at any time, as they don’t require any equipment or money. Although it takes practice to have a successful mindfulness experience, getting started is easy. Visual Meditation has a great video to help you to increase mindfulness.

Find the Right Hobby

A successful hobby is one you enjoy. Each person’s tastes and talents will affect the hobbies they can enjoy. Forcing yourself to participate in an activity you don’t enjoy can have the opposite of the desired stress-releasing effects.

Here are some ideas to help you discover the hobby that is right for you:

1. Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting is a hobby that anyone can enjoy. There is almost no physical activity, making it great for all ages and ability levels. The cost to begin collecting is very low, there is very little special equipment required, and the weather has no effect on this hobby. The American Philatelic Society has all of the information required to start your own collection.

2. Knitting

Over the last decades, knitting has seen a resurgence in popularity. Many people are taking up needles and creating blankets, clothes, kitchen materials, and more. With so much demand for the craft, stores that carry knitting supplies, like Jo-Ann Fabrics, offer classes for beginners and more skilled crafters. Not only do these classes make learning easier, they’re a great way to make new friends. If you don’t feel like taking a class, YouTube has numerous tutorials to get you started.

3. Running

Exercise has been repeatedly shown to reduce stress, and it has the added benefit of helping you stay in shape. It may seem daunting to begin running, but apps like Couch to 5K can help you get started in a healthy and effective way.

4. Gardening

Gardening is often seen as an outdoor activity. You don’t need to own a home or even have a plot of land to have a green thumb! Plenty of plants can be grown indoors. Herbs, flowers, and small selections of fruits and vegetables can easily be grown in window boxes or indoor pots, and in the case of herbs or produce, your hobby can supply you with both relaxation and a meal.

5. Reading

Books can transport the reader to another world, away from their daily stressors. With the innumerable genres and authors to choose from, everyone can find a book they enjoy. Bookstore employees are quick to make suggestions for good books, and e-readers make nearly any book available in a manner of seconds. Reading can also be a free hobby thanks to public libraries; just be sure to return your books on time to avoid late fees.

Stress Release for Everyone

Hobbies are a simple way to reduce occasional and chronic stress. Whether you choose to participate in a solo hobby or get together with a group of friends, there are plenty of different pastimes for you to try out. Finding a hobby you enjoy and combining it with the practice of mindfulness will reduce stress, clear your mind, and have lasting effects on physical and mental health.

About the author:

Elliott Garrick is a passionate blogger and crafts addict. In her spare time, she likes to collect stamps and turn them into beautiful art. She is also a regular contributor to PostageStamps101.com.

How can you develop a mindset of abundance?

There is enough for everyone in this world. The future is as bright as we want it to be. Things can seem to be bad when we focus on poverty, hunger, overconsumption and overpopulation. Being in a mindset of scarcity, of only saving money, of holding on to resources, believing that there is all kinds of lack, will attract more lack. Bring change by shifting your focus, by changing your paradigm, by having a mindset of abundance instead of scarcity.

Mindset of Abundance vs Mindset of Scarcity

Sure you have felt abundant in your lifetime. The feeling that good things seem to just come to you and happen for you is accompanying a mindset of abundance. Maybe it was a period where you were giving a lot, and noticed that you did not lack anything yourself. Perhaps you went on a winning streak in poker. Or a friend of yours attracts women effortlessly? All of these are a result of an abundant state of being. If you can feel that you have something, you will attract more of it.

A mindset of scarcity is the opposite. Life will confirm to you the scarcity you are expecting to see. By thinking that you cannot, you cannot. Your experience is a projection of your perspective. By focusing on all the things you can’t do e.g. due to not having enough money, not enough time, not enough skills, a lack of physical ability and so on you will spiral downward. Turn this around before you get into the downward spiral.

You can. Abundance is everywhere.

Commercials and media can help create a belief that we need more, we need to do more and become more. That we don’t already have enough. If we could just get that thing or do that thing that we saw someone have or do, we would be a little bit better. Relax and don’t engage in this chase. Just be. Content. Abundant. Naturally.

Our Civilization

Whether we know about every crime, every war, every corrupt person or group or have been raised without any news at all, we still have the same potential for creating a new earth. By being happy. By following our hearts. By knowing abundance. There are a lot of positive and magnificent feats the human race have managed to accomplish.

Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler wrote the book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. It was published in 2012 and debuted at #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. The book envisions a future where 9 billion people have access to clean water, food, energy, health care, education, and everything else that is necessary for a first world standard of living, all thanks to technological innovation. The book is a great example of one of the infinite ways in which abundance can play out.

The book has some really good points and is recommended for anyone looking for a positive perspective on how we humans can use science and technology to create a new earth. Technologies in computing, energy and medicine are improving at an exponential rate and allow independent innovators to achieve what today seems like impossible feats with little money or manpower.

How to Shift into Abundance

Knowing that you are abundant and that life is abundance is a great paradigm to be in. There are many ways you can shift your mindset into one of abundance. Here are some:

Get in the Mindset of “I Can”

Find a way in your mind to see that you can do everything, or at least that you could if you really wanted to. Get creative and see that you are able to think of ways in which you could do whatever it might be.

Think of Everything You Could Buy with Your Money

If you have a certain amount of money, i.e. 1000$, think of all the things you are able to afford with those 1000$. Two weeks on vacation? You could probably afford that. What else? Go skydiving a couple of times, buy a really good bike, etc.

Think in terms of using 1000$ for each of the things you want, like you have an unlimited number of that amount. By doing this you get into an abundant mindset without actually spending anything.

Be Grateful

By taking a few minutes to contemplate what you are most grateful for you get into a positive state where you focus on appreciating what you already have. By putting gratitude out into the universe, you will attract even more positivity into your life.

Give

Help out someone who is in greater need than you. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, or donate to charity. You can also give to someone that has more than you or a friend of yours. Give compliments, or smiles! Free hugs!

I share this information with you, abundant with tips on how to realize you are abundant, from my abundant creative mind. I also used the abundant resource “the internet”, and as knowledge and books are abundant I got inspired by one of those as well. Inspiration is really abundant. I hope this sparked some feelings of abundance in you!

H/T: Global Harmony Crew

In this cool infographic there’s a list of nine hobbies that will keep you neurologically stimulated and mentally healthy.

Finding time for yourself can be nearly impossible sometimes.

Balancing your professional, social, and family life probably leave you feeling the need just to collapse from exhaustion at the end of the day.

Trying to find the time to keep your mind sharp amid all the chaos while also trying to maintain your personal sanity is a difficult balance to strike.

This is especially true if your free time comes in small increments throughout the day. It can sometimes feel as though you have to choose between making yourself smarter and making yourself happier.

Lucky for you, research shows that several hobbies have the potential to ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

Take reading for example (the activity you are doing RIGHT NOW). Reading is perhaps the most obvious example of a hobby that can be both relaxing and mentally beneficial.

A study published in the Neurology Journal regarding cognitive aging and cognitive activity concluded:

More frequent cognitive activity across the life span has an association with slower late-life cognitive decline that is independent of common neuropathologic conditions…

So essentially, the more you use your brain, the less you lose it later in life.

Thankfully, hobbies like reading and writing have never been easier to do no matter where you are.

Between e-books, magazine articles, news feeds, and blogs there is never a shortage of content for you to choose.

If you have a few minutes where you are stuck waiting in a line, you can pull out your phone and begin reading while you wait.

Choosing a hobby that expands your intellect while also providing you with a much-needed leisure activity maximizes the limited time you have available.

The folks at Smarter Hobby created the infographic below which is a list of nine hobbies that will help keep you neurologically stimulated and mentally healthy.

Whatever your preferences are, it is important that you choose an activity that you both enjoy and fits into your hectic life.

An infographic with hobbies that can make you smarter

Well, what hobbies you pick? Let us know in the comments!

Are you stuck in a creative rut? If you can’t seem to find your creativity, it might be time to try some new tactics to get it to emerge.

These 6 techniques will help you open your creative mind and get out of your creative funk.

1. Meditate

Meditation has a huge list of health benefits, from stress reduction to improved sleep, better focus, heightened immunity, lower blood pressure, and dozens of other effects. But did you know it can also help you unleash your creative mind?

Through meditation, you will become more focused and disciplined. Your mind will be stronger. You will be able to push away the distracting thoughts that used to limit your creativity. Also, one you are in a creative “flow,” you’ll be able to stay in that state for a longer period of time than before you started meditating. With its impressive collection of benefits, there is really no reason not to meditate.

2. Surround Yourself with Inspiration

This one might be obvious, but it’s also very important. If you are never exposed to great art, it’s unlikely you’ll ever create any. The same goes for any other creative venture. You need to expose yourself to creativity as often as possible. Go to museums, walk among a garden, take in a ballet, or read a great book. Find mentors in your field and learn as much as you can from them. Soak up all the inspiration you can find.

3. Eat Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and can help improve your brain function. They might just boost your brain enough to bring out your creative mind. Besides that, they’re delicious and offer many other health benefits! As a way to practice your creativity, see how many brain-boosting blueberry recipes you can come up with, and then start cooking!

4. Limit Amusement

If you are constantly entertaining yourself with TV, movies, reading magazines, or doing other somewhat mindless but amusing activities, you will severely limit your creative mind. Creativity sparks when your brain is able to engage with the world around you. When it’s monopolized by something, it can’t engage.

Limit these activities. Instead of amusing yourself, spend some time focusing on the things that make you curious or that inspire you. Take a walk. Read a book you’ve wanted to start for a while. Just don’t seek out amusement all the time.

5. Exercise

If you ask the most powerful people in the world where they get their inspiration and their drive, most of them will give some of the credit to exercise. CEOs frequently wake up before 6 a.m. to get in a morning workout. Exercise boosts your overall health and improves your brain function. It helps you develop self-discipline, which can help bring about creativity.

Also, when you are exercising, it’s very difficult to do anything else. Your brain has a chance to imagine and wander. You might land on your best creative bursts when out on a run.

6. Cross Creative Barriers

Creativity is all linked. As you improve your writing skills, you will also improve your artistic abilities. If you improve your dance technique, you will increase your song-writing skills. Use your existing creativity to try something new. Take the skills you have in one artistic arena and carry them to other parts of your life. Were you able to find a technique that you think would help you break through your creative wall? Start out by adopting one or two of these tactics. If they don’t help you destroy the creative block, try some others. You can do this!

Credits: This article has originally featured at learning-mind.com and used here with permission.

About the author

Kenneth Waldman is a passionate Freelance Writer and also an Editorial Assistant at NinjaEssays.com. The areas of his interest include the latest education trends and technologies, social media, self-improvement.

Do you always stick to your own way of thinking and concerned about getting criticism from others?

Then you are at the right place. This is an article to provide you tips on how to become an open-minded person. You will  never find a person who is open-minded about anything that comes in their way. None of us is completely open-minded and at the same you are not narrow-minded as well. But you can help yourself in a better way to not become further narrow-minded and learn how to accept new thoughts and become more creative.

Here are a few activities that can help in stimulating your brain and becoming an open-minded person.

1. Push your body beyond the limits

Do not always stop yourself from doing something that you never did, it may be physical activity or mental. Try something like walking backwards in your house, which you never did. Do you like to juggle? How many balls do you like? 4? 5? 10? Then you must now try beyond it maybe 20 or 50 also. It is not impossible, rather you should learn to push yourself out of the comfort zone!

2. Stimulating your eyes can also help

Do not always watch the same kind of shows or movies, rather try something that you think is boring and you would never watch it. Go for something that you would quit, rather than watching it. If you think, you always watch TV, then try to stop watching TV for a few days and utilize this time for something exciting and new.

3. Stimulating your ears with music

Everyone has a different choice when it comes to listening to music. You should try something very boring or which you never tried before like some classical music or anything else. You will not love it for the first time, but you will definitely sense something new in it.

4. Learning something new

Instead of learning or practicing something that you love is not creativity. Rather, try to join some classes that are different from what you know and do. Try to learn any new language, try to learn about history and there are many such options available on the internet.

5. Never stay idle

You should never keep yourself idle like when you are waiting in a queue at a bank, waiting for someone at a restaurant. You can do something with your mind like trying to learn how to double numbers and keep doing it till it is impossible. Try to read the words in reverse or learn some mathematical calculations.

6. Write as much as you can

If you are looking for a change in your life, then writing is the best option, but not many are aware of this. You will be able to express yourself and it is not going to be easy at all for the first. So keep writing as much as possible and you will be surprised to see where it would take you. You also have many tools online to help you in writing better and to keep you motivated, for example such tools as Hemingway App, Readability Score, Learning Path or Grammar Girl.

7. Different lifestyles and people

Yes, this is definitely a good option. You can try to learn about different countries, their culture, lifestyle, the people. There are many things that you do normally in your country, which can be a crime in another country. These aspects are interesting to learn and free as well if you have internet.

8. Overcome your fears

Are you scared of mathematics? Are you scared of programming languages, even when you are having knowledge about them? Then take a pen and paper, start coding something simple. Take the help of internet and the magic that you can do is unbelievable. When you are having knowledge about something, you will understand yourself better.

You should never stick to your limits mentally and physically. Always try to push beyond it, but make sure you are doing it gently, rather than forcing yourself into it.

It’s never too late to become an open-minded person, don’t you think?

This article was originally posted on lifeadvancer.com and used here with permission.

About the author

Julie Petersen is a tutor, writer and a blogger, who features the latest career and educational trends in her articles. At the present time, she is working as a blog contributor at Essaymama writing service and working on her first ebook dedicated to online learning. You may see Julie’s latest publications.