Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Why it’s important to have a hobby!

(I recently had Maria from hobbyjr.org email me about writing an article for my blog, to tell how important it is to have a hobby) here it is below

Hobbies: The Surprising Mental Health Boost

You can probably easily rattle off your favorite color or band, but when it comes to listing your hobbies, are you coming up short? Life never stops and it may seem like your to-do list never gets any shorter, so how could you possibly have time to fit in leisure activities? It is important for your mental well-being to pencil in relaxation time, and pursuing a hobby could be the mental health boost you desperately need.

Hobby to Relax

Whenever you’re busy, all you can think about is getting as much done as possible in the short amount of time you have each day. However, letting your stress fall by the wayside could have serious health risks.Chronic stress and the accompanying spike in stress hormones puts you at increased risk for anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive issues, weight gain, sleep problems, and memory impairment. This is why it is crucial that you find healthy ways to manage and cope with your stress, and a hobby is a quick and easy solution.

If the health risks aren’t enough to convince you, take a look at some cold, hard facts. Astudy followed 100 adults as they went about their daily activities. Data was collected via heart monitors and participants completed surveys to discuss how they were feeling as well as the activities they participated in. After three days, researchers found that the participants that pursued leisure activities were 34 percent less stressed and 18 percent less sad while physically engaging in the activity. The calming effect of the hobby was seen in their reduced heart rate, which lasted for several hours after the activity was finished.

The scientists found that it didn’t matter what thehobby was, as long as it was something the participant truly enjoyed. Following your passions and reducing your stress is an excellent combo, so take a moment to figure out what it is that you like to do. Perhaps you enjoy knitting, gardening, drawing, or building models – the mental boost will follow regardless.

Hobby to Find Happiness

Obviously the hobby you choose should be something that makes you happy, but there is a way to garner further happiness, and improve your mental health too. The key is socialization. While many hobbies are solitary endeavors, you can use your newfound interest as a segway into meeting new people by organizing a hobby group to share your hobby and discover others who are as truly passionate about the work you do as you are. How does the socialization benefit you other than finding new friends?

Harvard researchers found that meaningful relationships are the one thing everyone needs for a happier and healthier life. The study has been following the lives of a group of young men since 1938, and the participants who maintained close relationships felt the most fulfilled and happy. Lead researcher Robert Waldinger says that people who tend to stay isolated from others are “less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.”

Once you’ve found a hobby you enjoy, create a hobby group. Perhaps you could use this as an opportunity to teach others about your hobby, such as how to crochet or grow an edible garden. Make it official by thinking of a creative name and designing t-shirts for your group. Create a website or Facebook group so that the group has an online presence and a way to contact one another. Finding a group of people to share your passions with outside of the chaos of daily life is a great way to improve your mental health, and can even serve as a means for venting. Sometimes simply talking about what is bothering you can help you to realize that it isn’t a big deal after all and you are more than capable of handling it. A friendly face and a helping hand don’t hurt either.

The next time someone asks you what your hobbies are, you should be able to rattle off at least one. Do it because you enjoy it, but also because your brain needs a moment to relax and unwind too.

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(Maria doing photography)

Thanks for sharing this Maria!!

1 comment:

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Many people who retire with out a hobby, die much sooner than those who have hobbies. Just going to work, and coming home, is no reason to enjoy life. Family, friends and hobbies (where I get many of my friends) are how we enjoy life.