Learning These New Skills Will Add to Your Quality of Life

Learning These New Skills Will Add to Your Quality of Life

Some may see having a hobby as a diversion in life. While hobbies can indeed serve as a momentary escape from the stresses of everyday responsibilities, they can be much more than that. Whether you’re retired, working full-time, or going to school, learning a new skill is great for your mental, emotional, and social health, and the benefits can flow into all aspects of your life. 

 In other words, having a hobby can help you gain a richer overall enjoyment of life rather than merely escape it, and it can also help those battling depression or recovering from substance abuse. If you’re looking to learn a new skill, here are a few beneficial hobbies that can all be learned through online tutorials or locally with a group of friends.


Learning an Instrument

Learning a musical instrument is another art form that encourages self-expression, among many other qualities. Perhaps the most beneficial element of learning an instrument is its ability to expand your capacity for memory. The parts of your brain associated with motor skills are engaged and grow as you learn to play, which benefits everyone from children to seniors. It can also enhance your concentration and coordination, and expose you to cultural history. If you choose to learn a brass or woodwind instrument (or sing), you’ll probably become well acquainted with breathing exercises, which can strengthen your respiratory system. 



Drawing has numerous benefits for child development, and it also helps keep your mind sharp as you age. Not only does it exercise and increase imagination, but it provides a positive outlet through which to express emotions. Since you’re constantly thinking or feeling something when you draw, it promotes healthy cognitive function while increasing overall knowledge and understanding of the world around you. Also, it’s the perfect activity for developing or maintaining your fine motor skills. Furthermore, drawing is an effective method for boosting your mood, as it allows you to vent negative emotions and reinforce positive ones. 



Writing is another form of art that’s great for expressing pent-up emotions and thoughts. It also helps younger and older people alike expand their vocabulary, which can go a long way in helping you succeed in and add interest to any stage of life. Letter writing has been known to heal relationships, shift perspectives, and promote a better understanding of people and events in life — even when the letter is not sent. Read here about how writing letters to yourself, to a broken relationship, and to your health condition can bring emotional and spiritual healing. 

Poetry is another form of writing that offers a plethora of benefits. Like letter writing and other forms (i.e. storytelling, journaling, etc.), it fosters emotional health and well-being. It can also help develop and strengthen cognitive function, creative and critical thinking, and self-awareness. Moreover, poetry has a unique way of sharpening the writer’s mastery of literary devices and improving their execution of imagery.  


Since we can’t live without food, cooking is one of the most useful skillsto have in life. Even though eating out is often more convenient, it can be harder to maintain a healthy diet when you don’t cook. Being able to prepare an array of delicious, healthy meals will help you maintain control of your nutrition and save you money. Cooking can also be a fun social activity to enjoy with family or friends. Learning to cook (and pick out ingredients) can benefit children in numerous ways, but it’s also well worth learning if you’re in your golden years. 

Whether you’re younger or older, battling addiction or depression, or just want to improve your overall quality of life, learning a new skill is one of the best things you can do. Drawing, writing, playing an instrument, and cooking are just a few of many hobbies that are fun and beneficial. Look online for free tutorials or check for any traditional classes offered in your area.


Photo Credit: Unsplash

New Arrangement!: On Green Dolphin Street

Over the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of working on this tune, On Green Dolphin Street, for an Arranging class at Berklee. Writing for 5 horns presented a unique set of challenges for someone who mostly writes for Big Band or Combo, where 5 horns fit right in between. However, I'm really proud of it, and I hope you enjoy it! 

Turn Your Freelance Gig Into a Business–Now.

In 2017, it seems like everybody and their mother is a freelance something; a freelance photographer, writer, video editor, musician, consultant, producer, etc. What’s also happening in this trend is that none of these freelancers think of themselves as a business. While in reality, anyone that does something in exchange for money, particularly creative professionals, should start to think of themselves as a business. 

When people think of the business world, we picture the corporate world from movies and books. There are executives, in their corner offices, cashing their $200,000/month paychecks. While in reality, that’s not what all businesses look like. You can run a profitable and fulfilling business out of your house, or dorm room, or your car. It’s not a pissing contest of who makes the most money, or who has the best view of Central Park from their window. It’s just a game of who can create the most quantity and quality of content. 

When you can shift your mind from your freelance gig being something you show up to for each job, to something you do all of the time, you’ll be ready for bigger opportunities when they arise. Instead of just taking photos at that wedding, take photos of objects in your free time, and put them up on stock image sites. Instead of packing up from the gig and going to party, go home and work on expanding your personal brand. Instead of only writing when you’re commissioned by a blog, write on your own blog at home. All of this gives you a larger body of work, and a greater skillset. 

This entire process is just a change in the way you think, not in the way you create. If you hustle enough at your “side-hustle”, then one day it won’t just be a “side-hustle”. If you love something enough to spend all of your time doing that thing, then nobody can stop you from being great at it. If you don’t, then it will always remain a side-hustle. 

I know that this is a controversial viewpoint, but I would love to hear from those of you who share a different one. Shoot me an email at mike@mjthompsonmusic.com, I’d love to talk about it. 

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