How Hobbies can boost your mental wellness and make you a healthier, happier person

How Hobbies can boost your mental wellness and make you a healthier, happier person

I have another wonderful guest poster today. Her name is Maria Cannon and she is a hobby enthusiast. I think that after you read her post how hobbies can boost your mental wellness, you will be also! I cede the blog to her today. (Wild applause)

People who challenge themselves with hobbies are happier, healthier people. Having hobbies is a sure way to reduce stress, boost your mood, and keep your brain sharp. As long as it’s a healthy hobby, anything that makes you happy and gives you a sense of accomplishment will do wonders to benefit your mind and body. Here’s how hobbying positively affects your overall wellness.

Hobbies help you reduce your stress

The scientific literature on this is pretty robust. One study tracked participants’ heart rates and self-reported feelings and found that “after three days, people who engaged in leisure activities were 34 percent less stressed and 18 percent less sad during the activities. Not only did they report feeling happier, but their heart rates were lower—and the calming effect lasted for hours.”

“Others agree that the repetitive actions needed for knitting and crochet can induce a “relaxation response” much like that experienced with meditation, Tai Chi, yoga and other relaxation techniques. One study at Harvard’s Medical School Mind/Body Institute found a reduction in heart rate of 11 beats/minute and a fall in blood pressure during knitting,” notes the American Stress Institute.

If knitting or stamp collecting seems a bit too tame for your tastes, why not travel as a hobby? Traveling - especially traveling solo - has a known stress-relieving quality. Check here for more hobbies scientifically linked to the reduction of stress.

Hobbies sharpen your brain

Learning a new skill, or becoming proficient in one, is one of the best ways to sharpen your brain. This is important for people at every age, but as we grow older the need to keep our brains sharp by learning new things becomes increasingly important. Having hobbies is the best way to achieve this.

“How does learning a new skill help ward off dementia? By strengthening the connections between parts of your brain … while brain games improve a limited aspect of short-term memory, Kaufman says, challenging activities strengthen entire networks in the brain,” says NPR.

When you learn a new skill, you literally rewire your brain and develop new connections between its different sections. This boost in brain function not only helps you stave off cognitive decline, but it helps to improve your overall mood as well.

Hobbies often lead to better socialization

While there are plenty of hobbies you can do solo that give your body and mind a boost, some hobbies offer socialization as a benefit. As we know, being social is vital to being a healthy, happy person.

When you delve into a hobby, you’ll find that there is likely a dedicated group or groups of people who are also involved in said hobby. Through this shared interest you can develop new, meaningful friendships that revolve around the love of something in particular. For example, let’s say you get into gardening. This is a hobby that can be beneficial if done solo, or can also open one up to hundreds of different special interest communities ready and willing to share their time, advice, and company with you. Check here for some ideas on hobbies that help you meet new people and develop strong bonds.

A life spent living in stasis is a wasted life. Without developing new interests and learning new skills, we are unable to give our brains the workout it so desperately needs. As long as you find something (healthy) that stimulates your body, mind, and soul, you will reap the benefits of hobbying.

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Sew happy to have welcomed Maria!

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I wrote a post about how you can find time to have a hobby. You can check it out here.

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