8 Intellectual Hobbies to Help Flex Your Brain Muscle

In today’s culture, we rarely are able to have hobbies just for fun anymore. Everything is turned into a competition, having to be the best of the best. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s within human nature to be creative without the added pressure of competition. We can start having fun again while learning something new by eliminating societal pressure and knowing that hobbies are evolving our mindset. 

Intellectual hobbies are beneficial because the skills cultivated while taking on these hobbies will translate into other areas of life. 

Suddenly, it will be easier to learn new things, analyze critical situations, and perform optimally at work.

List of Intellectual Hobbies

Here’s a list of 8 intellectual hobbies that span in a wide range of difficulty levels. Each hobby contributes to your intellectual advancement, creative endeavors, and quality of life.

1. Meditation

A regular meditation practice will shift your perspective. Added self-awareness and being present in the moment will seep into your daily life.

A surplus of creativity and imagination will overcome you, and you’ll find yourself processing the world around you with greater care, compassion, and non-attachment. 

Meditation is a sure, ancient hobby to evolve your mindset.

2. Reading

There are many benefits that reading can provide. Reading is among hobbies to build knowledge. Specifically, non-fiction books will be sure to provide you with new knowledge and information.

Having new information on subjects you’re interested in goes a long way in becoming a more well-rounded, knowledge-seeking individual. Plus, it’s fun to dive deeper and dabble into topics that pique your interest.

After reading regularly for just a short period of time, you will even begin to notice you use new vocabulary words in your daily conversations that you didn’t even know you knew the definitions of.

3. Learn an Instrument

Playing a musical instrument is good for your brain for a multitude of reasons. Both sides of your brain are being used while playing an instrument, which is advantageous in utilizing the central nervous system.

The part of the brain responsible for decision-making is worked out when focusing on what music to play next. Complete sensory input also makes playing an instrument a workout for your brain.

4. Chess

Chess is one of the fun games to play that exercises your brain, making it a great analytical hobby. Fluid intelligence, the ability to use reasoning to solve new problems, and processing speed are boosted with chess gameplay.

Chesspen is a great resource to learn about opening strategies. Learning more about the game helps to expand your analytic skills and make gameplay more interesting, along with increasing the benefits on intelligence more quickly that chess provides. 

5. Learn a Language

On the list of hobbies that make you smarter, learning a second language will always be included. Learning a new language is associated with higher academic performance, expanded vocabulary, and increased short and long-term memory.

Learning a language exercises the brain to evolve its perceptual understanding abilities. Attention span and both verbal and non-verbal intelligence increase as well.

6. Drawing

Analytic and reasoning skills are in use when learning how to draw. This is due to the visual learning occurring. In combination with fine motor skill enhancements, drawing is great for releasing pent-up creativity and expression, while exerting parts of the brain that deal with analyzing and coordination.

7. Yoga

Yoga, along with other aerobic exercises, focuses the mind on the mind-body connection. This mind-body connection and attention on breathing, aids in increasing focus capabilities, while subtly influencing cognitive performance through the intentional movements practiced in yoga.

It’s a great way to exercise, stretch, and feel your best physically, so you can feel your best mentally. There is no separation between physical and mental health performance.

8. Writing

Writing, especially by hand, is known for improving learning comprehension, slowing problems associated with mental aging, and further developing deep thinking skills.

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All of these intellectual hobbies are hobbies that keep you creative, mentally sharp, and cognitively well.

Whether you decide to learn about and play a game of chess, meditate daily, or practice a combination of any of these hobbies, you will be rest assured that different parts of your brain not normally used are being activated. I encourage you to practice at least one of these hobbies regularly for a month, and you’ll notice the subtle changes in your cognition and quality of life.

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