Over the last few decades, the importance and awareness of mental health have grown significantly. However, to maintain positive mental health, several small changes are required in your daily lifestyle. Having a hobby that creates happiness is an incredible thing to have. It adds character and makes you stand out while refining your innate talents and gift. Almost everyone has some hobby which they absolutely love doing in leisure time. From reading, writing, gardening to painting your heart out, pottery making, hobbies can be anything. Besides meditation, hobbies are probably the only aspect of our life that effortlessly brings our focus to the present moment. When you’re stressed, hobbies calm down your mind and reduce tension. When you’re bored, it works as an escape route and helps you indulge in something that you can enjoy. In short, hobbies have impeccable benefits that improve mental health and wellbeing.
Moreover, hobbies are nothing but habits that include in your life which helps promote better well-being. Read on to know more about the benefits of hobbies on mental health.
There are many theories as to why suicide rates and school shootings are on the rise:
- Americans are spending more time in front of screens than ever before, preferring inanimate entertainment over human interaction,
- Smack in the middle of its Golden Age, television rules our living rooms and bedrooms,
- Families bond less frequently, whereas strangers meet virtually,
- and hobbies are on the down-and-out, considered almost old-fashioned.
Frankly, it would all be utterly depressing if we couldn’t do anything about it. But we can, and you should, because it does wonders for your mental health.
History of Hobby: How It Originated?
You’d be surprised to know that in the 13th century, the term “Hobby” was nothing but a widely used name for small horses or ponies.
Later, it was identified as a “Hobbyhorse,” and so began the modern definition of this word as a “favorite pastime.”
By the 18th century, more people started spending their time on leisure activities and followed interests that instilled a sense of satisfaction.
How Hobbies Help Your Mental Health?
There are many incredible benefits of hobbies on mental health. So let’s have a look at the importance of hobbies on mental health.
1. Hobbies Help You Socialize
If you’re someone who dreads the idea of socializing, hobbies can be a lifesaver! It prevents any small talks while socializing and makes the process much bearable for anyone who has anxious thoughts of social interaction.
Spending countless hours scrolling through social media isn’t doing you any favors, that’s for sure—and you don’t need an expert to tell you.
That’s because cruising social media leads to low-grade anxiety as you position yourself in a passive yet competitive mind-space, not to mention it’s a major time-killer that cuts into productivity.
You may not mean to compare your life to whoever’s feed you’re scrolling through, but you’re doing it subconsciously. This feeling brings up the darker side of human emotions (envy, self-consciousness, judgment, etc.), which is the opposite of the boost of happy chemicals that flood your brain around friends in healthy social environments.
On the other hand, Hobbies help you be mentally healthy and happy and equip you to break through this negative mental space.
One study from 2016, published in the journal of Leisure Sciences, conducted extensive research on the benefits of recreational activities on individuals’ recovery and social inclusion.
The findings from the study denote physical, social, and creative community recreation aids in the recovery and social inclusions of those struggling with mental health issues.
This is because when we spend time with things we adore doing and the people we cherish, our levels of “happiness” hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine skyrocket.
Therefore, hobbies are a wonderful way to spend time with friends (or make new ones!) and hunt down that chemical high our mental health depends on. Remember that your immune system is also more vital when you’re happier!
2. Hobbies Make You Stretch Your Brain
Some hobbies like yoga are known for being inherently relaxing and have significant health benefits. But the truth is, all hobbies have soothing effects because they take you away from daily stressors and neural patterns you have adopted as habits.
That’s why “getting away” from it all feels so good—like how exploring new vistas while traveling gives your brain the same break.
Learning new activities paves fresh neuro-pathways, allowing you to tap into new areas of your brain you’ve never accessed before.
In addition, one research analysis delved deep into learn the impact hobbies have on dementia. It concluded that even engaging one to two hours a day in recreational activities might protect an individual against dementia.
So, if you want to strengthen your mental capacity, find a hobby you love and stick with it! As they say, practice makes perfect.
3. Hobbies Help Create Self-Awareness
One of the enormous significances of hobbies is that it helps you discover your strengths and hidden talents that you never thought existed before.
Choosing hobbies that are out of your comfort zone not only fires up your brain but they help you discover and push your limits.
With this in mind (pun intended), try taking on a hobby that challenges you! Make sure you’re still having fun, though, since that’s essentially the point in the first place.
Find a lighthearted environment where you’re not subjected to pressure or fear of failure, but that still encourages you to see what you’ve got.
Who knows what could happen? You might learn a thing or two about yourself. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to turn your hobby into a business.
4. Hobbies Keep You Healthy
This isn’t to say that you should jump into the deep end and turn your hobby into a day job. Truth be told, it can be tricky to find a hobby that is the right fit.
Some people seem to come into the world with an abundance of passions and seem to know exactly what they like doing and how much time they enjoy dedicating to it.
On the contrary, some people don’t, and it can be harmful to their psychological and physiological health as hobbies have significant health benefits.
A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine examined the profound effects people can derive from engaging in multiple enjoyable activities. The results found a shred of remarkable evidence on the improved overall health like:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Decrease in cortisol levels.
- It improved body mass index.
- Lower depressive symptoms.
If you’re on the fence if hobbies can improve your overall health, this is the sign it does!
While you may not have the self-knowledge, it might take some exploration to find what captivates you if you don’t know where to start, join a gym or explore an online craft store.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never so much as touched a piece of fabric in your life—that’s the point.
Remember, you’re doing yourself a favor, even despite the initial challenge. Your brain is loving the workout.
5. Small Habits Makes You More Productive
So far, we’ve seen that hobbies both relax and exercise your brain. They can distract you from daily stress. Mini habits especially are easy to build and retain in the long term.
However, it can also help you get better at developing time management skills like:
- learning to prioritize,
- allocate time,
- and organize your life that might seem pretty chaotic otherwise.
The immense importance of hobbies simply strengthens your sense of priorities and forces you to flex that time management muscle. It might seem counter-intuitive, but a hobby can make you more productive and help you get more accomplished.
6. Daily Hobbies Can Act As A Stress Buster
It’s so easy to surrender to stress these days because of our hectic lifestyle. And let’s not even talk about the repercussions one may have on the overall health because of chronic stress!
A growing body of evidence shows a visible association between hobbies and their ability to prepare one to deal with stress healthily.
Furthermore, a research study done by Matthew Zawadzki, a health psychologist at the University of California, found hobbies or any leisure activity instantly acts as stress relief and reduces symptoms of tensions in individuals. Apart from stress reduction, hobbies improved focus and attention span.
Here are some hobbies to reduce your stress levels:
- Expressive Writing
7. Improve Work Performance
Did you know famous entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have their own hobbies?
That definitely certifies why they are outstanding at their work.
Apparently, having something to do that fires you with motivation and inspiration helps your creative juices ooze out, making you an excellent performer at work.
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology explored the difference in performance among employees engaging in creative activities and those who don’t.
It was later found that employees with creative activity were far more likely to outperform their job with better creativity and work attitude.
8. Enhances Overall Well-Being
Humans want nothing but to have a life that satisfies, inspires, and motivates us to live life freely. Therefore, nurturing your hobbies is said to increase your overall well-being in terms of being mentally healthy and happy for a long time.
On top of that, when you take part in activities like songwriting, creative writing, knitting, and crochet, they all have a role in amplifying well-being and creativity.
Hobbies help you to be mentally healthy and happy and make us overall positive humans. Inculcate these habits in your daily schedule and witness the magic it will bestow on you to improve mental health.
They encourage social interaction, introduce us to new friends, reduce stress, expand our brain, encourage exercise as well as productivity.
So get out there and try something new!
Key Takeaways On Benefits of Hobbies
- Hobbies have incredible benefits in making people stay mentally healthy and happy for a lifetime.
- In the 13th century, the term “Hobby” was a widely used name for small horses or ponies.
- Hobbies mean engaging in activities that typically don’t earn money. Instead, it’s more inclined towards extracting positive feelings from doing that activity.
- Furthermore, hobbies help build social connection and makes you socially confident.
- Also, engaging in recreational activities every day might protect an individual against dementia.
- Hobbies also help you explore different interests that genuinely make you content and reduce stress.
- Studies show that people who work on recreational activities are likely to lower their blood pressure, cortisol levels, and depressive symptoms.
- Lastly, hobbies improve your productivity levels, ultimately making you a better performer at work.
What are the health benefits of habits?
- Lower blood pressure.
- Improved body mass index.
- Relieve from depressive symptoms.
- Lower cortisol levels, meaning hobbies reduce stress.
What are the activities to improve mental health?
You can do the following activities to boost your mental health:
- Yoga and meditation.
- Gratitude journal.
What are some other ways to be mentally healthy and happy? What are some of the habits you will choose to improve mental health?
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