Think back to the time when you were young and you found yourself utterly lost in an activity. Perhaps you were drawing or coloring, immersed in an imaginary world with your toys, or lying on the floor putting together puzzle pieces, completely unaware of outside cares or distractions.
Now remember how little stress you felt.
Could it have something to do with those childhood hobbies?
Many experts think that is exactly the case. Studies show that hobbies are critical to our well-being in many ways and may even offer us much-needed relief from the mountains of stress that many people wrestle with on a day to day basis. Hobbies can also help people form new relationships, overcome addiction, and help treat depression.
If you’d like to try something new in your effort to relax more and worry less, these are some of the reasons why a hobby just might work.
1. Unclutter Your Mind
When we’re completely engaged with a task that we enjoy, we tend to let go of distractions and worries. This, in turn, can unleash a host of physical and mental changes. In some cases when a person is extremely focused on an enjoyable activity that requires high concentration, respiration and heart rate can slow, and muscles become more relaxed.
If relaxation and an uncluttered mind are something you’d like to accomplish by taking up a hobby, consider knitting. The repetitive motions of the needles are perfect for achieving a Zen-like focus, and you’ll have wonderful, handmade creations to share with friends and family.
2. Become More Social
A lack of adequate social contacts can leave some people feeling depressed and anxious. This results in increased stress and a less-than-ideal sense of well-being. People without social contact sometimes deal with these depressed and anxious feelings by turning to substance abuse or overeating to fill the void.
A hobby that involves other like-minded people can be the perfect way to not only learn a new skill but to also enjoy the company and companionship of others. Other members of a class or knitting group can provide a support structure that can help you reconnect with yourself and a new community. By engaging in a positive activity and building relationships at the same time, you can overcome a host of bad habits.
The best hobby to improve your life and your social network might be to take a class on a subject that you’re interested in. Sign up to learn more about photography, dog training, or any other subject you’re interested in. You’ll immediately be able to meet others who share your passion.
3. Improve Your Focus and Concentration
Many people complain that they’re often unable to concentrate at work, and they could feel that their performance is slipping. Stress and other factors could contribute to this, but if we look at the brain as a muscle that needs exercise, we can see that we can train ourselves to be more focused.
The perfect hobby to improve focus and concentration might be one that you can do at home. Consider an intricate DIY project or a model ship or airplane kit. The attention to detail that is required to complete these projects will have your focus sharper than ever in no time.
4. Increase Brain Function
While there are many things that we can do to improve aspects of our concentration and focus, there are a few targeted activities and exercise that can actually improve the function and cognition of our brains. Some scientists suggest that doing so could help to prevent or delay dementia and other cognitive issues.
One of the best hobbies that can aid in increased brain function is the study of a foreign language. Take advantage of free, online language tutorials, or take a class from a native speaker. Whether you become fluent is not necessarily the goal; the problem-solving skills that you will learn are great training for you brain.
5. Lower Your Stress Levels
If you’re seeking out a hobby with the hopes of lowering your chronic stress levels, then you’re on the right track. Almost any of the aforementioned hobbies can help you achieve your goal, with some added benefits as well. However, there is one very simple way to get started and you may already have the tools at your disposal.
Reading is one of the best stress busters available. Simply choose a book on a subject you’re interested in or by an author you like. Choose a quiet place and just read. Within minutes, you’ll be involved in the story and you can feel your stress slip away.
As more and more people strive to find ways to improve their lives through the reduction of stress and anxiety, hobbies are becoming increasingly popular. If you’d like to take your life down a quieter and easier to manage path, try one of these tips and see how much better you feel, in just a short amount of time.