Why Having a Hobby Is So Good for Your Mental Health

How do you answer when someone asks, “What are your hobbies?” Playing guitar, competing in triathlons, decorating show-stopping cakes? As it turns out, engaging in a hobby means more than just having something to chat about at parties or fill your Saturdays with. Research shows that keeping up with the activities that interest us actually has measurable benefits for mental health.

Wondering how your knitting project or instrument practice could bring you peace of mind? We chatted with Dr. Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist, musician, and consultant for Fender’s guitar-learning app Fender Play about various ways investing in a hobby enriches the life of the mind.

Hobbies Make Us Get Creative

Many hobbies are inherently creative. Whether you’re painting, woodworking, or baking muffins, you’re not only producing something that never existed before, you’re engaging the creative network of your brain. Creative pursuits are experimental acts, says Dr. Levitin: “These acts of experimentation expand the neural networks in our brains, making connections between circuits in the brain that might not have otherwise been connected.” This type of neural linking-up boosts mood in a measurable way. It actually modulates levels of the feel-good hormones dopamine and opioids in the brain, says Dr. Levitin. And although popular perception tends to associate “creative types” with mental illness, research indicates that imaginative pursuits are actually restorative for mental health.

While engaged in a creative hobby, you may also find yourself in a mental state known as “flow.” Described by psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi, the concept of “flow” is sometimes better known as getting “in the zone.” It occurs when you’re engaged in an activity to the point of almost meditative focus. Ever find that when you sit down to or scrapbook or play piano, your mind doesn’t even wander? That’s flow. Getting into this focused state promotes mindfulness, known for its positive effects on stress and anxiety.

Hobbies Boost Self-Image

When your self-image needs a pick-me-up, you might typically take to social media to rack up likes on a cute photo or funny meme. But for better results, try diving into your favorite hobby. Spending time on your own leisure pursuit is a self-care gift you give yourself — and some hobbies result in actual gifts you can give others. Taking pride in a handmade card or blessing friends with your musical talents could go a long way toward boosting your good vibes.

Hobbies also serve to keep the blues away by helping us hone valuable expertise. Maybe your years of dabbling in web design could lead you to teach a class on it, or perhaps your persistence with running has helped you place in your most recent competitive 5K. This type of skills mastery has been associated with reduced psychological distress. Tellingly, a survey conducted by Fender found that people who played guitar as a hobby had “increased patience, confidence in self and skills, work ethic and persistence.” Sounds like devoting time to improving a skill could make you feel like a rockstar (even if you’re not playing guitar).

Hobbies Connect Us With Others

A number of hobbies are meant to be performed in a group, or lend themselves well to collaborating with others. Picking up a new pastime can be a great way to meet new people and establish friendships. Shared experiences enhance our enjoyment of activities and help us to feel less isolated. Dr. Levitin confirms this phenomenon: “People who play music together experience increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social relationships and bonding.” So if you’re looking for the best hobby for your mental well-being, try something interactive, like joining a band or improv group.

With some hobbies, of course, it’s natural to fly solo. (Let’s be honest, it’s a little difficult to do sudoku in a group.) But even your solo pursuits make you a more diverse and interesting person — qualities that attract social engagement.

Hobbies Decrease Stress

Finally, hobbies simply give us a break we can look forward to. Creative hobbies in particular “are the perfect antidote to high-stress jobs of multitasking and computer-based work,” says Dr. Levitin. (We’d argue that physical hobbies are too!) Turning to something non-work-related allows us to “hit the reset button in the brain, replenishing neurochemicals in the brain that have been depleted by a few hours of high-stress work,” he says.

As long as you enjoy your hobby, it really doesn’t matter what it is. Research shows that both physical health and mental health benefit when we use our leisure time for something constructive but fun. So whether it’s continuing your lifelong love affair with soccer or picking up the guitar for the first time, maybe it’s time to make your favorite hobby a priority.

What’s your favorite hobby? Tweet us @BritandCo!

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

(Photo via Getty)

Spending time at the beach is unquestionably one of the best hobbies for happiness, and it’s great for our health too.

9. Cooking

Nothing beats learning to cook for yourself.

Dana Valden, author of the inspirational must-read Zen cooking book Finding Yourself In The Kitchen, says this:

“Cooking is compelling in part because of the physicality. It requires a kind of engagement that is both grounding and practical.”

Cooking brings together lots of cognitive processes.

There’s:

  • the creativity of creating a meal
  • the practicality of following a recipe
  • the mindfulness that comes from focusing on the senses (smells, sights etc) in the kitchen
  • and the accomplishment of creating something beautiful.”

I personally cook at least once a day and often three times a day. I do this partly because I cannot stand processed food, partly because I .ove my own cooking, but mostly because it is so utterly rewarding.

I guess I’ve been doing culinary therapy, which is the new trend in mental health clinics.

Culinary therapy is used for treating many mental health disorders, including anxiety, ADHD, depression, eating disorders and addiction.

The reason cooking is one of the best hobbies for mental health isn’t just because of the healthier meals and nutrition, either.

There are many healthy psychological processes that take place when we cook.

  • For starters, when we cook mindfully (meaning when we are intentionally fully-conscious of what we’re doing) we bring ourselves back in to the present moment. You can read more about this in my guide to learning to cook for yourself.
  • Then there’s the fact that cooking for ourselves makes us more aware and more appreciative of food in general. Many people eat mindlessly, which is bad both the gut and for the mind. Being more appreciative of food makes us enjoy it more and makes us more likely to choose healthy and natural foods.
  • Then there’s the creativity. Cooking is a truly creative process, taking the ingredient from their raw state to a finished meal. It’s creativity that ends with a tasty treat.

Cooking is one of the best hobbies for happiness and health.

10. Altruism and compassion

Volunteering is one of the best hobbies for mental health

For most people, altruism and compassion aren’t really hobbies, but they can be and quite probably should be.

Compassion and kindness are two of the best things for mental health. When we are compassionate we create better relationships, heighten self love, improve our sense of self worth, and increase our confidence.

There are many ways to start doing compassion as a hobby. Probably the best is to volunteer for a charity.

The benefits of volunteering include:

  • It boosts self worth
  • Improves perspective
  • Is a good way of making new friends and contacts
  • Puts our problems in perspective
  • Provides experience
  • Protects against heart disease (source: PsychologyToday)

Volunteering is one of my favorite hobbies for happiness. Trust me, you get more than you give.

11. Aikdo

Want a leisure activity that will change your life? Try Aikido.

Aikido is the perfect martial-art for peace lovers, and especially for people who are into Eastern philosophy.

Aikido is a form of martial art that uses Qi (the “life force”) to harmonise body, mind and spirit.

Most martial arts are about attack and beating the enemy. Aikido is the opposite. It teaches that there is no enemy. Contests in Aikido are won by ending fight without harming the other person.

Aikido is a beautiful form of exercise for peace loving individuals.

Which do you think is the best hobby for mental health?

Which of these happy hobbies most appeals to you? Which ones do you already do? And what other hobbies would you add to the list?

And for complete joy, read my ultimate guide to happiness.

Leave a comment and remember to subscribe to our newsletter.

Tags: habits, happiness, Kindness And Compassion, lifestyle, zen

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

12 Best Hobbies to Help Fight Anxiety & Depression

If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, you are certainly not alone. These common, debilitating mental health conditions are on the rise, and to feel better, it’s essential to be proactive.

In addition to traditional treatments, such as talk therapy, medication, exercise, and relaxation techniques, WebMD recommends getting involved in meaningful activities and diving into creative pursuits to rediscover your interests, talents, and strengths.

Here at Hobby Help, we know that hobbies come with a plethora of physical and mental health benefits, like beating the blues and staving off stress. Whether you’re keen on exploring a brand new hobby, or you’re intent on rediscovering an activity you once enjoyed, read on! We’ve compiled a list of the 12 best hobbies to fight anxiety and depression.

1. Photography

Countless experts are recommending mindfulness for brain and body health. To reap the benefits of mindfulness without traditional daily meditation sessions, consider picking up your camera and heading outside.

Not only does photography get you out of your head and home; it allows you to discover new, exciting places, tap into the beauty of nature, and preserve memories that can be passed down to future generations.

2. Playing Music

If you’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar, saxophone, or piano, now is the time! Making music is a fantastic outlet for stress and uncomfortable emotions. Plus, playing an instrument in a group setting, such as a band or orchestra, is a great way to connect with other musicians.

WebMD suggests setting goals to help beat anxiety and depression. Setting and achieving musical goals is likely to boost your confidence, which will undoubtedly spill over into other areas of your life.

3. Writing

A writing or journaling practice is a great way to express your thoughts and feelings. You never know what might come out when you put pen to paper. Many great writers have said that their own work surprised them.

Writing for depression and/or anxiety can be especially beneficial, as you can track symptoms and patterns that may be contributing to your condition(s). If the thought of journaling doesn’t excite you, try writing fiction, which can be an amazing escape from the monotony of everyday life.

4. Drawing, Painting, and Sculpting

Artistic pursuits can be incredibly healing. Engagement in creative activities has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and even mood disturbances. Creative expression through art has been linked to a myriad of health benefits, from improved physical and psychological wellbeing to quality of life.

Even if you’ve never explored your creative side, try drawing, painting, or sculpting. If you’re stumped on where to start, consider signing up for a class. We also recommend Zentangle, which is fun, relaxing, and will encourage you to expand your imagination.

5. Fiber Arts and Crafts

If you’ve never tried sewing or knitting, this is an excellent time to explore your crafty side. With so much information available online, you have a massive virtual library of free resources at your fingertips.

Healthline reports that creative pursuits have the power to shift a person’s thoughts from their health condition to the positive aspects of his or her life. In fact, engaging in crafts can mimic the effects of meditation.

6. Coloring

The joy of coloring isn’t reserved for kids. With so many adult coloring books on the market, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a selection that speaks to your inner child.

Coloring can be nostalgic, relaxing, and downright fun. Plus, completing a page is a welcome reward after a trying day.

7. Dancing

While virtually any type of physical activity can boost your mood and take your mind off your worries, dance serves as “moving meditation,” and it’s an excellent way to connect with others.

Many individuals view exercise as a chore, and for those with anxiety and/or depression, motivation to hit the treadmill can be seemingly impossible to summon. By pursuing a type of movement you actually enjoy, you’ll actually look forward to each sweat session.

8. Swimming

Many avid swimmers refer to the sport as medicine. It’s an invigorating, yet relaxing form of physical activity that’s repetitive, making it meditative.

In a blog post published on Psychcentral.com, associate editor Therese J. Borchard writes, “I’ve always known that I climb out of any pool a lot happier than when I dove in.” She adds, “It’s like taking a Tylenol for a headache!”

9. Yoga

You’ve probably heard that yoga is a natural stress reliever. As it turns out, finding your inner yogi can also lead to decreased anxiety and depression. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, “the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent.”

The best part? You can practice yoga virtually anywhere. A quick Google search will connect you with classes in your area. We also recommend Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga for Anxiety and Stress and Yoga for Depression on YouTube.

10. Hiking

If you struggle with the ruminating thoughts that often accompany anxiety and depression, hiking can be particularly helpful. Doctors are now writing “nature prescriptions,” which encourage patients to disconnect from technology and reap the physical and mental health rewards of connecting with the great outdoors.

According to WebMD, just five minutes in nature can boost mood, self-esteem, and motivation. If lacing up your hiking boots seems more like a chore than a hobby, slip on your sneakers and take a brisk walk in the sunshine instead.

11. Gardening

Another great hobby that will help you become one with nature is gardening. Whether you choose to plant an entire vegetable garden or a pot of your favorite flowers, gardening stops ruminating thoughts in their tracks and decreases the severity of other mental health symptoms.

If gardening at home isn’t an option, consider volunteering at a community garden, or stop at a local nursery and look for plants you can grow indoors.

12. Cooking

It’s widely believed that certain foods can improve physical and mental health, but the act of cooking has also been linked to anxiety and depression relief. Preparing a meal requires focusing on the task at hand, and chopping, stirring, and sautéing can be downright meditative.

One key to keeping cooking fun is trying new ingredients. Look for recipes that incorporate foods known for their depression and anxiety-busting benefits. WebMD suggests plenty of antioxidants and protein, “smart” carbs, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you’ve never spent time in the kitchen, consider taking a cooking class. You’ll learn how to whip up your own healthy meals and connect with other new chefs.

Practice Courage, Commitment, Compassion, and Companionship

It takes courage to try a new hobby, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed and/or down. Try committing to a hobby from our list and practicing self-compassion. The last thing you need is a self-imposed guilt trip when dealing with anxiety and/or depression.

Prioritize your hobby time by scheduling the activity as you would schedule an appointment. It can also help to invite a friend to join you. Companionship can make a new activity more enjoyable and helps with accountability.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our list of 100+ Awesome Hobbies to Try This Year. From collecting and crafts to outdoor activities and games, we’ve carefully curated a collection of fun, relaxing, and mood-lifting hobbies to help you experience life on a whole new level!

7 Hobbies That Reduce Stress, According To Science

Most of us are no stranger to stress. A study from the American Psychological Association found that average stress levels in the United States have risen since 2014, with 24 percent of people saying they experience extreme stress. Although we can’t control problems at work or make those bills disappear, we can take charge of our mental health by engaging in activities that can help alleviate our stress and help us manage our day to day life without so much anxiety.

We all have different interests and prefer to do different things on our free time, but there are a number of hobbies that have been scientifically proven to help reduce stress. Picking up on these hobbies, even if it’s just here and there, can help us relax and feel less bothered by external life factors we can’t control.

If you’re looking to unwind a bit, consider picking up one of these seven hobbies that can help reduce your stress levels.

1. Yoga

Perhaps the most obvious option, yoga is the go-to choice when it comes to alleviating stress, and for good reason. Yoga is more than just increasing your flexibility and strength. It focuses on breathing as well as deepening the mind-body connection, and studies show that yoga can help reduce your body’s physiological stress response, and it can even help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Photo by distelfliege

2. Dancing

Whether you prefer to break out into a freestyle dance while listening to your favorite album or you like to grab a partner and head to tango class, dancing is a great way to release some tension and diminish stress. Because dancing is a cardiovascular activity, it naturally boosts endorphins, but dancing also helps you form bonds with others, express your emotions in a healthy way, and even help you feel more fulfilled and controlled.

Photo by be creator

3. Reading

Curl up with a good book and watch all your worries melt away. Even just six minutes of reading can help reduce stress by two-thirds, according to a study from the University of Sussex. Escaping your own reality for a bit can be beneficial, and reading also works physiologically to reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate.

Photo by Wiertz Sébastien

4. Knitting

There’s a reason why so many women like to sit around all day and peacefully create scarves and blankets. The repetitive movement of knitting can be meditative, allowing you to focus on the present moment while also giving you the satisfaction of creating something. Studies show that knitting is effective at reducing both physical and mental symptoms of stress.

Photo by elizajanecurtis

5. Writing

Diaries aren’t just for elementary school. Keeping a journal is an easy way to reduce stress and anxiety, as expressing yourself through writing can help you release negative emotion and even see your thoughts and feelings more clearly.

Photo by Jonathan Gross

6. Gardening

It’s time to plant those seeds. A study from the Journal of Health Psychology found that gardening can improve positive mood and even reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Gardening not only gets you outside into the fresh air – and includes physical activity — but it also helps you focus your attention on one activity, which can help distract you from your outside worries.

Photo by goldberg

7. Hiking

There’s nothing like enjoying the great outdoors to help you relieve some stress. Studies show that walking in nature can help reduce rumination, the pattern of obsessing over negative thoughts. Hiking is also a good form of aerobic exercise, which is beneficial for reducing overall stress.

Photo by JefferyTurner

Everyone experiences stress from time to time – stress is a natural part of life. Extreme stress or prolonged bouts of stress can cause health problems. Fortunately, engaging in certain hobbies can help calm your stress and reduce your risk for health problems associated with stress.

Stress is the body’s response to dangerous situations. Quickening of your heartbeat and the heightening of your senses are part of the body’s “fight-or-flight” response that provides your body with the burst of extra blood and oxygen it needs to take life-saving action. During times of stress, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which raise your blood pressure and increase the amount of sugar in your blood.

While the fight-or-flight response can save you in a dangerous situation, prolonged stress is hard on your body. This is especially true for older adults; aging cells, declining heart fitness and reduced lung capacity associated with the aging process makes it more difficult for older bodies to sustain the hormone rush of the fight-or-flight response.

Long-term exposure to stress can put you at risk of a number of conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration

A recent poll by NPR found that a quarter of all Americans report experiencing stress within the prior month. Stress can occur at nearly every age and for nearly any reason; young adults may stress about jobs, finding a mate and caring for small children, for example. Older adults can experience prolonged stress from chronic illnesses, disability, or loss of a spouse.

Reducing your stress level can lessen your risk for developing physical and mental health issues associated with stress. There are many ways to alleviate stress, including meditation, deep breathing, and the use of relaxation techniques. You can also engage in your favorite hobbies to reduce your stress.

Hobbies to Reduce Stress

Listening to music

Listening to music for at least a half hour each day can lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and calm anxiety and stress, according to Harvard Health. Research shows listening to music can help heart attack survivors worry less about their health and reduce pain in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

Dancing

Dancing is a great stress reducer because the cardiovascular activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel better. Dancing also alleviates stress by activating the brain’s pleasure circuits. The rhythm and form of dance provides a satisfactory pattern that the human brain finds appealing. Furthermore, dancing helps create a bond between people and this personal connection can alleviate stress. Psychology Today mentions an Italian study that found people who took waltzing classes were happier than were those who spent time on a treadmill or bicycle.

Knitting

The rhythmic, repetitive movements of knitting can stimulate the release of serotonin, which is a hormone associated with calm, happy feelings. It seems knitting can also bring you “into the moment,” which prevents you from mulling over your problems. The relaxation response associated with knitting can also decrease your blood pressure, slow your pulse, and help prevent stress-related illnesses.

Shopping

Shopping can actually help reduce your stress levels. In fact, some refer to shopping as “retail therapy!” About one-third of all stressed Americans shop to reduce stress, according to a survey by Huffington Post. Another study suggests retail therapy can even extend your lifespan.

Walking

Taking a stroll outside can do a world of good. Research shows that a quick hike can help reduce rumination, which occurs when you just cannot stop thinking about a stressful situation. Researchers think that talking a walk is a type of “positive distraction” that prevents your brain from dwelling on a problem.

Watching movies

Movies also offer positive distraction from stressful situations. A good movie absorbs your attention and distracts you. Immersing yourself in a movie disrupts the worry cycle of rumination.

Forest Hill offers a number of activities that can reduce your stress. Sunshine Stroll with Klare is a great way to get your stress-relieving walk in each day. Hawaiian hula dance lessons give you an opportunity to dance your stress away, while guest pianists and other musicians lull you into a state of stress-free relaxation or joyful delight. Contact us today to learn more about our community and to schedule a tour.

If you are dealing with stress, it might help you to know that everyone else is, too. You are not alone! The good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can enjoy yourself and spend some time getting away from the things that stress you out. Check out this list of 10 hobbies that combat stress and see if any of them look appealing to you!

1. Running

If you’re athletic, you know what it feels like when endorphins kick in after a good workout, game, practice. You don’t have to be on a sports team or invest in any expensive equipment to boost your level of feel-good hormones. Just get a pair of supportive running shoes and start jogging.

If you aren’t particularly athletic, start off slowly by walking first. You can stick to walking or begin introducing short spurts of jogging or running. One popular program is called Couch to 5K. Exercise of any kind can reduce stress levels, so if running is not your thing, consider tennis, dancing, ice skating, or whatever sounds appealing!

2. Yoga

Yoga is an activity that is known to help combat stress. The great thing about yoga is that anyone can do it. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be athletic, you can go at your own pace and enjoy the increased flexibility, strength, and even heart health that goes along with this relaxing hobby. Join a class or follow along with videos you find online. Either way, yoga has a way of helping people feel more calm, so if you’re stressing out over homework assignments or your best friend is driving you nuts, see if a few yoga poses will help you de-stress.

3. Drawing or Painting

If you like art, you probably appreciate the way your troubles seem to melt away when you’re drawing, painting, or sculpting. Losing yourself in your creativity is a great way to relieve stress. Whether it’s experimenting with different media or pounding clay, indulging in artistic pleasures can distract you from your worries and might even help you see situations from another point of view. Let your creative juices flow and combat stress at the same time by creating something beautiful.

4. Journaling

Writing down your worries can actually help you worry less. Part of the reason is that the act of writing allows your brain to relax, knowing that you won’t forget whatever it is that you’re worried about (as if that was a concern!). You can either keep your writing to look back on later or throw it away, symbolically letting go of your worries.

Another way to combat stress using journaling is to start a gratitude journal. By concentrating on what you’re thankful for each day, you will naturally begin to focus on the nice things in life as you go about your day. This can help you turn your attention away from situations that are making you feel stressed.

5. Doing Puzzles

Have you ever sat down to put together a 1,000-piece puzzle? It takes focus and concentration. It’s not hard work, but it does require some mental power as you look for the right colors and seek out the shapes that will match the spaces left in your unfinished piece. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle can relieve stress by giving you something to focus on while your brain works out your troubles.

6. Hiking

Getting out in nature, soaking up the sun, breathing in the fresh air, and getting exercise, too? Hiking sounds like a great recipe for reducing stress for a few reasons. First, exercise is known for its stress-busting qualities. Secondly, getting some sun can increase your vitamin D and serotonin levels, which, in turn, reduces anxiety and can help you stay calm. Finally, just being in nature allows you to literally get away from your troubles and enjoy the scenery.

7. Cooking

Cooking is a way to be creative that results in something delicious. If you like art, food, or doing things with your hands, cooking is a good way to relieve stress. Chopping vegetables, kneading dough, and watching raw ingredients transform into a meal or dessert gives you something to focus on. It involves all of the senses, and it can allow you to share your food with the people you love.

8. Coloring

You might have liked to color when you were younger, but chances are good that you’ve given up the coloring books. There’s no reason for that! If the thought of coloring in pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of adult coloring books on the market. Look for mandalas, flowers, nature scenes, or anything else that looks interesting. Choosing a color, applying it, and looking at the finished product can be a relaxing way to spend a few free hours.

9. Spending Time With Your Pet

If you have a dog, cat, guinea pig, lizard, or any other pet, spending time with them can reduce your stress levels. Even watching a fish swim back and forth can be therapeutic. You can tell your pet your troubles and they will react without judgment. Whether your pet is snuggly, scaly, or covered in feathers, try spending some time with them and watch your stress melt away.

10. Knitting, Crocheting, or Quilting

Sometimes teens think of hobbies involving needlework as old-fashioned, but they’re actually a great way to combat stress. The repetitive movements don’t require much thinking once you get the hang of them, and it can be nice to watch a project come together. Ask an older member of your family such as a parent, grandparent, or aunt to teach you how to quilt, crochet, or knit. If you enjoy it, you might find that you are able to pass on your knowledge to the younger generation in the coming decades.

Conclusion

Choosing a hobby that helps combat stress is a great way to feel calmer and gain a new perspective on what’s bothering you. If simple lifestyle changes like exercising more or spending time on hobbies do not help your stress levels, talk to your parents or another trusted adult about seeking help. There’s no need to suffer from high stress levels, and a professional can help you reduce your stress and anxiety.

Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.

Why are we stressed?

In this competitive world, there is lots of work and also lots of pressure of all sorts and from all sides. Given this backdrop, one is stressed not only physically, but also mentally.

We are constantly in the race to compete with one another and working hard to get the best in any given situation for ourselves and our families.These days there’s a huge percentage of youth suffering from depression, hypertension, diabetes or even hormonal disorders.

Research has proved how spending just a few minutes with ourselves during the day or over the weekend can help us de-stress ourselves. That’s not all, involving ourselves in a hobby can enhance our efficiency as hobbies give us relief from our monotonous routine. These help in reducing stress hormone Cortisol, which also plays a role ranging from fat accumulation to hormonal imbalance.

What about reviving an old childhood hobby or getting to learn something new? Remember, age is no consideration to make a new beginning. Here are a few hobbies which one may like to take up to relieve stress.

Art/Craft: This makes you get creative and learn different forms from Pottery to Quilling/Painting and Sketching. Spend some time with your sketch book at the end of the day. Join a class over the weekend and get creative skills to relieve your stress.

Music/Playing an instrument: These can really help us improve Neuroplasticity, that is brain can process new information in a better way. A weekend or evening class can boost these skills. Form a group of friends who can join together and remain motivated to learn something new.

Sports/Dance: Whatever you choose, will always make you feel motivated and bring some activity into your life. Dance can boost happy hormones and help in forgetting the day/week long pressures at work.

Gardening/Bird watching / Connecting with Nature: Nature in itself is so healing for the mind, body and soul. Birds, flowers and plants help us feel that we are blessed by Mother Nature. Feeling gratitude and relaxed in watching some birds fly can make the stress fly away. Spending some time over the weekend potting some plants can be really rejuvenating. Can plant some micro greens for daily salads too.

Photography: Digital technology has made cameras within everybody’s reach. Even with mobile phones, we can take pictures anywhere at any time. This will not only relieve our stress but would also make ourselves more sensitive to our surroundings.

Mind/Board Games: Chess, Sudoku, Scrabble can help us improve mental faculties and can make a positive impact on the process of ageing. It will not only prevent Alzheimer’s disease but also anxiety and help improve fine motor skills.

Therefore, doing something creative, which we really enjoy, to break the monotonous routine will make us have a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Let’s spend some time early morning in the kitchen garden or balcony to take care of the plants. Take out the camera for an evening outing with friends or family. Or play some music or at least an indoor game on a weekend or after office hours and be happy.

While you conclude reading this blog, make up your mind to make a new beginning with some hobby to relieve yourself from stress and add some joy to your life.

Stress is something that people have to deal with every day. Even people who think that they have their lives in perfect order tend to get stressed out from time to time.

The key to not letting the stress get to you is to know what to do to reduce it.

What Does Stress Do To the Mind and Body

Stress can make you feel agitated and angry at times. If you are stressed out often, stress can have negative effects on your body and your mind.

A few ways that stress can affect your body include:
• Headaches
• Fatigue
• Difficulty sleeping
• Muscle tension
• Nausea
• Chest pain

Stress can also affect your mood and behavior.

A few issues that you might experience if you are frequently stressed out include:
• Restlessness
• Lack of focus and motivation
• Anger or irritability
• Depression and sadness
• Anxiety
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Angry outbursts
• Overeating or undereating
• Self-medicating using drugs or alcohol

Common Treatments For Stress

There are a few common treatments for people who find that they are often stressed out.

A few examples of common treatments include:
• Exercise
• Meditation and deep breathing exercise
• Spending time with family and friends
• Medication
• Taking up a hobby

Taking up a hobby is one of the most effective treatments to relieve stress.

It is important, however, that you choose the right hobby. There are certain hobbies that are better for relieving stress than others.

1. Do Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to relieve stress. When you are working on a puzzle, you aren’t on a deadline.

Also, you aren’t in competition with anyone. You can just sit at the table putting your puzzle together in your own time.

When you finish the puzzle, you will experience a huge sense of accomplishment before you start your next puzzle.

2. Coloring

Contrary to what you think, coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Today, you can buy adult coloring books.

The pictures have more detail than a child’s book and a picture will take you longer to color but it can be very relaxing.

Many manufacturers call their adult coloring books, ‘therapeutic coloring books’ because they are designed to reduce stress.

3. Read a Book

Reading is a great way to relieve stress. When you are reading, you will be able to follow the life and adventures of the characters in the books.

This will give you a chance to get out of your own head and to be able to take a break from your own problems.

You can visit your local library to check out a book or you can grab your phone or tablet and you will have access to thousands of books.

4. Paint By Number

When you were a kid, there is a chance that you did paint by numbers. As an adult, you should consider taking it up again. It is a great way to spend your free time and relieve some stress.

Best of all, you don’t need to be an artist to create an amazing picture.

5. Take Up Running

Exercise is a great stress reliever, therefore, you should take up running.

Not only will running get out some of your nervous energy, but it will also get you out into nature. When you are out on the open road with nothing but your thoughts and your earbuds, you can work through some of the issues that are causing you stress on your own time.

6. Baking

When you are feeling stressed, you should try baking something. This doesn’t mean opening up a tube of cookie dough and throwing it in the oven.

You should find some great recipes online and bake from scratch. Not only is it a great way to relieve stress, but you will also be rewarded when your delicious treats are done.

7. Take Up Knitting

Knitting can be very relaxing. If you don’t know how to knit, don’t worry.

There are videos online and tutorials that will help you learn. When you have it down, you can start knitting gifts for mothers-to-be, sweaters for your family, and mittens for your friends.

Best of all you can relax and relieve stress while you are knitting.

8. Adopt a Pet

Pets can be very therapeutic and they can relieve stress. If you aren’t ready for a pet or if you have never owned one, adopting a dog could cause you to be even more stressed out. You can start with a low maintenance pet such as a cat, a hamster, or a guinea pig.

When you have a living thing to take care of it can give you purpose and make you feel better. These things can greatly reduce your stress level.

While stress is usually a part of life, it doesn’t mean that you need to live with it. There are several hobbies that are not only fun, they can also reduce your stress level greatly.

Hobbies that relieve stress

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