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Wellness Tips

Take the time to do something you enjoy

Benefits of Activities/Hobbies

Remember when you were a child and found yourself lost in an activity? Maybe it was coloring or reading, a made up game with friends or surrounded by building blocks as you created something. There was no stress, just fun and relaxation. Studies have shown that into adulthood, hobbies are critical to our well-being and can offer relief day-to-day stress. Hobbies can also help people form new relationships, overcome addiction, and help treat depression.

From singing to cooking and just about every hobby in-between, taking time to relax with an activity you enjoy can help you reap a multitude of benefits when it comes to mental health.

Five reasons to do activities you enjoy:

  1. Reduces stress Transitioning the focus from the chaos of life to a fun, easy, and enjoyable task can instantly help reduce stress levels. Harness this benefit by opting for more relaxing hobbies. These may include knitting, painting, photography, journaling, or even bird watching. Whichever hobby you choose, be sure it makes you feel more relaxed.
  2. Improves mood Taking a break to do something you already love beats an extra hour spent at the office anyway. Investing in hobbies can feel similar to taking a break and enjoying yourself and obviously breaks and joy often produce an improved mood. A hobby should always be something you desire doing.
  3. Encourages socializationThough not all, but some hobbies can help encourage socialization where you would otherwise spend time alone. And numerous studies have found a connection between relationships and happiness. Consider participating in group hobbies like team sports, clubs, or other activities that draw a crowd.
  4. Improves memory Did you know studies have shown that people who regularly challenge themselves through puzzles, games, and reading can not only improve their memory now, but also help themselves avoid memory loss later in life? If you enjoy challenging your mind with puzzles you can expect to reap this benefit.
  5. Wards off depression If your hobby of choice is an activity you find happiness in, it can easily help ward off feelings of depression and sadness. If you find yourself not loving a hobby, stop doing it and find something new that you do love. Hobbies are meant to be fun, and in order to benefit from them you must enjoy doing them.

To learn more about how hobbies can impact your mind and your life, get a copy of Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind (Ballantine Books, 2017)

Being active is a key contributor to good mental health, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Engaging in activities you enjoy is not a substitute for other forms of treatment. If you’re struggling with symptoms of a mental health disorder, talk to a therapist or your family physician.

Source: Dr. Parisi Psy.D & Associates