Think about your passions. Things that bring you so much joy to do? Do you like singing? Dancing? Playing the guitar? Reading? Writing? Doing puzzles?
Engaging in something you love to do helps with a slew of things. I personally love hiking and I enjoy spending time in nature and seeing something beautiful, the awe factor. After the hike, I find myself feeling much better all-around (even if I was not necessarily feeling down before). I also love puzzles and word games to engage my brain and learn new words and increase my vocabulary.
With this said, actively maintaining a schedule of engaging in your passions is incredibly important and really brings the term “you time” into focus. Reducing your stress by doing more of what you love. By follow your passions or fun pursuits you can also literally change the structures of your brain and cause neurogenesis, especially if you do brain games. Whenever you are doing something new it stimulates the brain to make new neural pathways. But you have got to keep it fresh and challenging.
Why Is This Important?
Many of us rarely make time for the things we love. Hobbies and activities that bring us joy take the backburner when family, friends, work, and responsibilities step in. While it is important to have a good sense of priorities, it’s also important to find a balance with work and play.
Think of an activity or hobby that genuinely brings you joy, this does not need to be super unique or interesting, just true to you. It could be something like painting or drawing. It could be doing puzzles or word games or even playing an instrument. Also, think of things you can do in idle time like waiting in line or traveling. Even reading for just 30 minutes a day can build your knowledge and your fluid intelligence.
Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D. states, “A passionate mind keeps us purposed and relevant. One of the most overlooked aspects of growing older is that we are still actually growing.”
Following our passions allow us to continue expand on who we are. It is through such passions, especially those of an intellectual nature, that we can learn more about our purpose and determine the kind of life we want to lead.
Do like artistic pursuits? Painting, drawing, taking photos? This can increase neural pathway in areas of the brain that for example, word puzzled don’t. This can make us more resilient to stress. When we take on new challenges, our brain releases dopamine which gives us a sense of pleasure and increases our motivation to pursue the anticipated reward.
Have you ever thought about volunteering? This can lower stress, boost overall well-being as well as decreasing depression. Volunteering can also keep you cognitively engaged and sharp as you will be learning new things. Really going a long way to keeping our brain cognitively healthy as we age. Also, when we connect with other like-minded people through all sorts of social interactions, our brain releases oxytocin which gives us a calming, soothing feeling. People with higher levels of oxytocin are more trusting, empathetic and generous.
How about just trying something new, learning a new language, taking up dancing or even cooking a new recipe. This will stimulate your brain and increase your cognitive power.
Rene Descartes, the French philosopher, said, “It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.”
Whatever you pick as a passion to pursue, think about what genuinely brings you joy and do it!
Support When You Need It
If you are finding yourself struggling with implementing healthy brain practices and still have some brain fog to get rid of, I can help you through this process. If you are struggling to find time for yourself and your health, you need not walk this path alone.