7 Hobbies That Make You Smarter According To Science

hobbies make you smarter

Smart and intelligent people get extra advantage wherever they go. It is an undeniable fact that in the corporate world, smarter employees are recruited for leadership positions and high-paying posts. We all try to become smarter and more intelligent to reap greater benefits in work, relationships, and social life. Isn’t it? Here’s how to do it.

It’s not a big deal. All you need is to cultivate some hobbies that can boost your brainpower. Engaging in such hobbies will help you live up to your full potential. 

Engaging in new hobbies requires you to learn new skills that put extra pressure on your brain to work faster and better. 

So, here’re seven hobbies that make you smarter according to science

1. Play A Musical Instrument.

If you want to be creative and smart, then start playing a musical instrument. You can choose guitar, piano, drums or anything else you want. Studies show that playing music boosts language, analytical skills, memory, fine motor skills, executive skills, problem-solving skills besides creativity. These skills make you smarter than those who don’t play music. 

A lot of brain studies showed that playing a musical instrument strengthens the corpus callosum that links the brain hemispheres by creating new connections. And this process happens irrespective of your age. It means you can reap the benefits of playing music even when you are old. 

What else? Musicians over time develop a heightened sense of coordination and cooperation. Playing music helps kids with dyslexia –  improve their learning and speech processing. Stroke patients can recover from brain injury if they undergo music training. 

Take a look at the image below, it shows an increased brain activation in professional pianists compared to age-matched non-musicians. Additional brain activity (yellow/red zones) in skilled pianists compared to nonpianists when listening to piano tunes without moving their fingers (upper row), or when moving their fingers on a mute keyboard (lower row).

Increased brain activation in professional pianists compared to age-matched non-musicians.
(Source: DOI:10.7861/CLINMEDICINE.8-4-410)

Given below is the image of the differences in brain structure of musicians and non-musicians, published in the Journal of neuroscience.

Differences in brain structure of musicians and non-musicians,
7 Hobbies That Make You Smarter According To Science

Relative differences in gray matter volume (mean and SD) between professional musicians, amateur musicians, and non-musicians in three selected regions. Regional differences in the left precentral gyrus (PrecG L), left Heschl’s gyrus (HG L), and right superior parietal cortex (SPC R) using a spherical region of interest with a radius of 8 mm centered at the local maximal difference are shown.

Read What Your Taste in Music Says About Your Personality: Quiz

2. Read Like No Tomorrow

This is one of the most common hobbies of most successful people in the world – not without a reason. Read anything that you can – murder mystery, comic, horror story, romantic novel, or the latest issue of the Wall Street Journal. And you will experience increased happiness,  lower stress, and better quality sleep! Because different areas of the brain become active and activate a network of circuits and send signals to the brain. Reading improves overall brain activity!

Different parts of the brain activated when you are reading
Different parts of the brain activated when you are reading

Reading increases crystallized, fluid, and emotional intelligence making you confident and smarter than others. You are better able to navigate your everyday life and solve problems. Researchers have found that vivid readers have high brain flexibility, concentration, listening skills, and memory. Therefore, they are good at detecting patterns, understanding processes, and accurately interpreting and responding to other people’s feelings. Guess what? They also have better managerial skills!!!

7 Hobbies That Make You Smarter According To Science
This fMRI scan reveals distinctive increases in brain activity during close reading across multiple brain regions, with strength of activation shown in red for horizontal cross sections of the brain.

Read 8 Benefits Of Reading Regularly According To Science

3. Meditate Daily.

Meditation is the oldest form of relaxation technique that significantly affects every part of the brain and benefits the mind and body. Once Buddha was asked, “what have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing”. “However, let me tell what I lost: Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death ”

The difference in brain structure of people who meditate and those who don't.
7 Hobbies That Make You Smarter According To Science

In 1992, Scientist Richard Davidson studied the brain waves of the Dalai Lama during meditation to check out if he could generate specific brain waves on command. When the Dalai Lama and other monks were meditating and focusing on their brain waves showed that they were in a deeply compassionate state of mind. The study results were published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in 2004 and then in the Wall Street Journal. 

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Louisa Davis

Hi there! I'm just a normal person enjoying the process of life. Practicing Buddhism, I believe in the law of cause and effect. Reading and writing is always a pleasure. I enjoy researching on a range of subjects – science, psychology, and technology. Nothing can satiate my soul than good music, horror movies, psycho-thriller, and crime stuff. I enjoy photography, music and watching comedy videos. Talking to people, learning new experiences, sharing my knowledge through blogs, motivating others are things that I always look forward to.View Author posts