You might think that hobbies are limited to people who have loads of free time, but there are many benefits of hobbies that should make you consider why you haven’t got one. The benefits of hobbies are physical, emotional and mental, and any activity you take up as a hobby will bring you rewards you probably never imagined. Here are some benefits of hobbies that will make you find some free time to pursue a new passion.
1. Hobbies Keep You Firmly Planted in the Present
We can’t change the past or live in the future, but we spend an amazing amount of time worrying about these things. When we’re engaged in a hobby we enjoy, our minds are occupied by the task at hand. One of the benefits of hobbies is that time flies by and we barely notice. If we worry about what might happen or agonize about what has already happened, we are missing what’s happening right in front of us. Hobbies anchor our minds to the here and now. That’s why therapists often recommend engaging in a hobby
2. Hobbies Help Us Deal with Stress
Stress is a part of everyday life and is a result of attempting to do difficult things or trying to do too much at once. It almost seems counterintuitive to think about adding hobbies to an already limited time schedule in an attempt to relieve stress. But allowing your mind to refocus on something that brings you happiness is a great stress reliever and you should make time for it. Certain hobbies that require exercise like sports or hiking, increase endorphins, the “feel good” neurotransmitters. Music helps sooth your emotions, and writing can help you sort out your feelings, so both these hobbies are great stress relievers.
3. Hobbies Offer Positive Challenges
Hobbies can allow us to try things that challenge us. For example, taking up a hobby you’ve never tried before allows you to add to your repertoire of talents and abilities. If you were never a good cook, take some cooking classes and try your hand at some difficult recipes. Like music? Learn to play an instrument. Do things that are different from the kinds of things you do at work and produce positive results. This is one of the tangible reasons for having a hobby; the effect is that you are learning to do new things that have positive results that get better and better the more you practice your hobby. This not only distracts you from other problems invading your thoughts but builds healthy self-esteem as you become more skilled.
4. Hobbies Help You Meet New People
If your hobby is a social one, like sports or dancing, it’s likely that you will be interacting with other people. Even if you take classes to learn a new hobby, like photography, there are others in the class all learning the same hobby. But surprisingly, even hobbies you do alone can involve other people. For example, if you paint or write, it’s surprising the number or people who share your hobby when you start talking about it to others, even within the workplace. Before long you’ll be sharing information about styles, techniques, learning opportunities, clubs, exhibitions, etc. with each other.
5. Hobbies Give You Permission to Take a Break
And sometimes we need that. Sometimes we are so immersed in work, family and daily challenges that we forget we are individuals that need a break once in a while. Having a hobby can be an escape. Not that our responsibilities should be abandoned, but everyone needs a little escape now and then, and engaging in hobbies allows us to find self-fulfillment, to regenerate, and to restore a sense of balance in our lives.
6. Hobbies Promote Positive Stress
For those who live under the gun all the time, it’s difficult to imagine that stress can be positive. Positive stress is called eustress, and it signifies the kind of stress that gives a person a feeling of fulfillment. When engaged on a hobby, stress can offer positive feeling that is filled with meaning and hope. For example, when engaged in a sport, you work hard towards the end goal of winning. This engagement causes you to feel stress; however, it doesn’t make you feel bad. You leave with a sense of satisfaction and well-being rather than feeling drained and empty.
7. Hobbies Have Definite Physical Health Benefits
Of course, it’s obvious if you engage in strenuous physical activity as a hobby, your body will be more toned. But even hobbies that do not require exercise can lower blood pressure, lower total cortisol, reduce waist circumference and body mass index. Positive emotions can lead to faster recovery from illness, better sleep, and fewer colds.
If you have a hobby already you probably took it up because you were passionate about it. Perhaps you didn’t give any thought to the benefits of having a hobby at all, but now you know just how much it enriches your life. If you don’t have a hobby, have these benefits convinced you to start one?