Sponsored by Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare System
“Everybody needs a hobby.” Have you heard that before? It’s a common refrain, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not true.
Having something that you’re passionate about outside of your regular work or activities is important for a number of reasons. It diversifies your interests, exposes you to new people and ideas and, generally, fills in those empty hours.
But did you know that having a hobby also can have significant mental health benefits?
A recent study showed that taking up a hobby improved depression symptoms and individuals had a higher chance of recovering from their depression. The researchers said that hobbies provide “sensual engagement, self-expression, creativity and relaxation.”
But what is a hobby? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a hobby as a “pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies are activities that you consistently participate in and that you have a high level of engagement in.
So how does a hobby affect your mental health?
- It helps you manage stress.
- Diving into a hobby gets your head out of your regular work and into something you love. This can help you to feel less overwhelmed and can actually help lower blood pressure.
- It can give you new social outlets.
- Everyone needs friends, and hobbies can open up new spaces to find them. Meeting new people and forging friendships are important for keeping a healthy mindset.
- It can bring new joy into your life.
- A key indicator of depression is anhedonia, or a lack of joy or interest in things. Having a hobby can boost your interest, staving off depression and helping you see a brighter future.
- It gives you structure.
- There are lots of hours that we waste in a day, even when we say we’re busy. Whether we’re just scrolling through our phones or mindlessly watching TV, those hours are not being spent productivity. A hobby redirects that focus into a productive interest.
So how do you find a hobby? This is key! You need to find something that excites and inspires you because this is something for the long haul.
Start looking around for something that you find interesting or start looking at something that you’ve always wanted to do. Always wanted to paint? Take a painting class. Interested in trying out Italian cooking? Buy an Italian cookbook and some ingredients.
There’s no limit to what you can do!