The self-improvement ‘industry’ has taken off in the last decade. High rates of anxiety and depression caused by too much screen time and poor habits have people searching for ways to take back control of their life. A recent study found that adults who spend more than six hours a day mindlessly looking at a screen are more likely to develop moderate to severe cases of depression.
A sound mind is essential for success. The activities you choose to engage indirectly impact the quality of your thinking and, consequently, the quality of your life. Therefore, watching countless hours of television or scrolling through social media when you have a second of free time sets you up for an uphill battle.
And once you form a bad habit, it is challenging to shake it off.
Anyone who has tried to establish healthy habits like going to the gym or reading knows how difficult it is to stay consistent. That’s because, over time, your brain develops robust neural pathways for harmful activities. So building new habits means creating new pathways.
Think of it like this: your old habits are like deep trenches that are easy to hop in and follow, while the new ones you want to form are like lines drawn in the sand with a stick – shallow and easily washed away.
These days, you are never far away from a tool that can strengthen your mind and add value to your life. But, unfortunately, the internet is a double-edged sword. On the one side, it can take all your time and give you nothing in return other than brain fog and anxiety. But if used correctly – that is, as a tool – there is much to be gained.
Here is a list of three such activities, why they are suitable for you, and how you can start your journey to a healthier mind right now simply by opening a new tab.
Do Online Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles present an enormous opportunity for brain development. According to Forbes, jigsaw puzzles can stimulate your brain’s cognitive functions and increase its processing speed.
If you are looking for a way to add a ton of value to your life with relative ease, then online jigsaw puzzles are for you. Puzzles have a broad range of beneficial impacts on the brain. When you put together a puzzle, for example, the areas of your brain responsible for focus and short-term memory are stimulated. Completing jigsaw puzzles boosts cognitive abilities and enhances productivity and creativity, so why not give one a go?
Try YouTube Meditation And Yoga Sessions
For a long time, meditation and yoga were thought of as activities reserved for Nepalese monks living at the base of Everest. However, as yoga and meditation become more and more popular in the west, the benefits become more evident by the day.
The benefits of meditation and yoga range from preserving an aging brain to reducing activity in the brain’s medial prefrontal cortex, which results in lower levels of anxiety and depression.
That’s all well and good, but spending money on a meditation or yoga retreat or private sessions is not a feasible option for many people. That’s why many people view yoga as a rich person’s luxury. But these days, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Sure, if you want access to swanky yoga studios or indulgent meditation retreats (which is a complete oxymoron, by the way), you’ll need to fork over some dough. But for the practitioner who wants the good stuff that can change your brain and your life, you can find everything you’re looking for online.
YouTube and apps like Insight Timer have extensive free meditation and yoga content to get you on your way toward a calmer, more centered mind. The opportunities are there; you need to know where to look.
Take Online Courses
We live in a futuristic age, with innovations around every corner. Ideas that belonged in sci-fi novels are now part of our daily lives. However, there are so many that we take them for granted.
Online courses are an example of such a luxury. Learning any subject from the comfort of your living room opens up the world to regular, everyday folks.
Learning a new subject requires a lot of brainpower. This is because every time you know something new, your brain creates new neural pathways and strengthens existing ones, a process called ‘plasticity.’ In other words, your brain is a self-improvement powerhouse.
There are plenty of barriers that prevent people from taking traditional courses taught in the classroom. Cost, distance, time, and – in modern days – the pandemic are all hindrances that people who want to expand their knowledge experience.
Luckily, online courses solve that problem by making it easier than ever before to enjoy the benefits of learning something new without all the added fuss. Create an account on a site like Teachable, sign up for a course, and commit to the process. You will see benefits in no time.
Consistency is vital in any self-improvement endeavor, so making the right choices at the beginning is the key to success down the road. That means that you should find something that interests you and then start small.
Do one jigsaw puzzle per day or every few days and stick with it. Don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. By simply showing up every day, you are strengthening your mind. Research shows that consistency has benefits in and of itself. So steel yourself now, and set off on your path!