Writing is the simplest hobby to start. All you need is a pen and some paper or your computer. There are dozens of different types of writing, from keeping a gratitude journal, to recording how you feel each day, to writing poetry, short stories, non-fiction or a novel.
Geoff Lowe from the Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Hull has found that the benefits of journaling include improvements in health and well‐being.
Studies have also shown that journaling can help:
- Manage anxiety
- Reduce stress
- Cope with depression
It can do this by:
- Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns
- Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them
- Providing an opportunity for identifying negative thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with healthier ones.
If you don’t like the idea of keeping a journal, you could express yourself through any other kind of writing. Becoming involved in writing a piece of fiction or non-fiction can take your mind off your negative thoughts.
If you have ever thought you would like to have a go at writing, then this could be a great way to help you overcome anxiety and depression.
Many studies have found that yoga can improve wellbeing. In particular, yoga can relieve stress, reduce muscle tension, and calm the nervous system.
Also, yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. This is especially relevant to people who have anxiety disorders in which GABA activity is low.
Starting a simple yoga routine is easy to do and need only take a few minutes a day to have significant positive effects. There are apps and online resources that can guide you through simple poses. You could also join a class with a qualified teacher to get you started and make sure you are doing the poses correctly.
Ending your yoga routine with a relaxation or meditation session will also help you to feel calm and relaxed.
I hope you like my ideas for great hobbies to relieve anxiety and depression. I also hope the scientific evidence has encouraged you to try some of these great hobbies. If you are experiencing severe anxiety and depression, you should speak to a medical professional about your symptoms, but you can still use these ideas to lift your mood and calm you down.
We’d love to hear what hobbies make you feel good. Please share your great hobbies with us in the comments below.
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