Hobbies And Pastimes And Finding Flow

Flow is a state where you don’t have to really think about what you’re doing.  You just….do.  You are.  You become your activity.  It becomes a state of meditation almost.  Our society is so overcome by stresses and depression that we have to get back to our roots – this is one of the best ways to overcome these obstacles and find more relaxation and happiness.

Personally I love to surf.  This is my main hobby – I find it extremely meditative and relaxing.  It also gives me the endorphine boost that good exercise typically offers to us humans.  When I’m surfing I find that my mind is completely occupied – I don’t usually sit there dwelling on thoughts or problems.  I find that my mind kind of zones out in the way that most meditation practitioners seek.

I also find it fun to immerse myself in surf culture and collect surf type items.  For example, surf watches and tide watches are an excellent way to stay in tune with surfing even if you’re off doing something completely different.  For some reason having a tide watch makes me feel connected to the ocean even though I’m not there.  It’s a reminder of something I really love and am passionate about, and therefore it’s a great thing to have around.  And hey, it tells me the time.

If you have something you’re passionate about, why not buy some items that remind you of this passion on a regular basis?  If you love running, get yourself a running themed mug or shirt.  Or simply wear your running shoes around town.  If you like painting, take photos of things that you might want to paint at some point.  If you love dogs, get yourself a dog keychain.

It’s easy to stay connected to the things you love if you can simply try to remind yourself that there are better things out there waiting for you, especially if you’re stuck at work or stuck in a line somewhere.

If you’re feeling stressed, start by trying out some new activities.  Painting, yoga, running, karate.  Anything where you can immerse yourself.  Flow comes when you start to connect with what you’re doing and your mind frees up.

Yoga is especially good for this, and this is why a lot of people flock to yoga for stress relief.  It’s an activity that has meditation as a main component.

Of course, you could also try meditation on its own.  There are many apps out there that can aid you in learning the discipline of meditation.  Meditation has been shown to strengthen the nerve pathways in the brain that are responsible for relaxation and well being.  It has many benefits, and you’ll often find doctors recommending this as a first line treatment for everything tension related such as depression all the way to backaches.

What have you done in your life to ensure that you remain stress free and happy?  Have you started any new activities or hobbies?

Tips For Learning New Languages

If you’re trying to learn a new language, then you definitely have your work cut out for you!  It’s well known that learning a new language is rather difficult for most adults, and it just gets harder as you get older.  However, it’s also well known that there are some proven methods that will enable to you to learn at a faster rate.  While difficult, it is not impossible, and it can actually be extremely fun and rewarding.  Whether you are trying to learn the new language for fun or for work, there are a few things that you can do that will increase retention rate and success.  Read on for a few tips that can help you right away!

Get A Good Langauge Learning Program

There are numerous language learning software programs out there on the market, from free software and apps to highly priced packaged software suites.  In my experience, you get what you pay for.  It really helps to cement your goals when you spend a bit of money and make a commitment to a particular program.  I believe that attrition rates for free software and apps are rather high — since you have nothing invested there’s not much except your own willpower to prevent you from jumping ship.  In my experience it’s quite helpful to just buy something to give you a bit of skin in the game.  While there are many highly priced programs, we have found that Rocket Languages makes a very well priced and competitive learn-at-home language program.  You can check out the review I wrote of Rocket Spanish and see for yourself what’s in the program.  We really don’t think that it’s necessary to go all out and buy yourself Rosetta Stone, and given that it uses a very unique learning style it’s not always the best anyway.

Immerse Yourself

It’s well known that immersion is one of the keys to learning a new language.  So, for as much time as you can devote per day or week, you should try to “immerse” yourself in the language any way you can. Whether it’s watching TV or a movie in the language that you’re learning, or reading a newspaper or magazine in the language, it’s important to have some time with a full on immersion method.  Other options are watching YouTube videos of the language.  One method I used when I was learning Spanish was to get children’s books in Spanish.  This was an excellent way to improve my Spanish dramatically – and most importantly it was FUN!  I felt like I was actually accomplishing something.

Create Goals

It’s so easy to slack off over time – you have to give yourself goals.  I like creating a calendar to remind myself to do a little bit of langauge learning every day!  You can also come up with some creative ways to do this – with stickers or something that you can reward yourself with.  With learning anything it’s important to hold yourself accountable – especially as distractions increase this day in age.