If you have a hobby, you probably love doing it. Hobbies give you a chance to get involved in activities that you enjoy and help you take a load off. Very often, you’ll find yourself looking forward to indulging in your hobby after a stressful day or week at work.
Even better, taking time to indulge in what you love doing boosts your physical and mental health.
What Is a Hobby?
A hobby is any activity that you frequently do for pleasure during your leisure time. This could include creative, athletic, and intellectual activities.
People take up different types of hobbies that interest them, such as dancing, singing, skating, or gardening. Others like quieter activities such as meditation or spending some time closer to nature by taking long walks.
Health Benefits of Hobbies
Research shows that when you take time to do activities that make you happy, it helps improve mental health. Giving quality time to activities that you enjoy also helps your performance in your professional life. It improves your creative problem-solving abilities and helps you build better relationships with your coworkers and makes you more empathetic.
Improves Overall Well Being
A study in New Zealand found that participating in activities that bring out your creative side leads to an increased sense of well-being that is good for you in the long term. The people who were involved in the study felt a sense of positivity and upliftment after a few days of creative activity.
Studies have also shown that individuals that regularly take time off for their hobbies are less likely to feel low or depressed. In fact, such activities can make you happier and more relaxed.
Keeping yourself engaged during your leisure time lowers your stress levels. Research found that adults who took out time to practice art found the time they spent to be relaxing, enjoyable, and helpful. They also shared that the session led to an increased desire to continue improving their skills.
More importantly, the cortisol levels of the participants who took part in this study were measured before and after these sessions. The study found that there was a noticeable decrease in cortisol levels after the sessions. Cortisol is the human stress hormone, and your body’s stress response is linked to a spike in cortisol levels.
Promotes Mental Health
Having a hobby leads to improved mental health. If your hobby involves physical activity, it’ll lead to reduced stress and a lower blood pressure and heart rate. A study that measured both positive and negative psychological stress found that those who took time frequently to do leisure activities that they enjoyed had lower blood pressure, waist circumference, and BMI.
Taking your physical activity outdoors or, better still, closer to nature has many benefits such as improved mood and better focus. You can achieve this by spending just 10 minutes outdoors.
Another study found that those who took part in physical activities went through fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who did not exercise.
Meanwhile, challenging your brain by taking up intellectually rewarding activities not only helps improve your brain activity but also increases your confidence. Learning new skills such as wood crafting or quilting also helps you contribute to people’s lives by sharing your expertise with others.
Finding like-minded people who enjoy doing the same activities as you could have added benefits. Research shows that doing activities in groups such as team sports or volunteering for a cause that you care about helps enhance your communication skills and build healthy relationships with others.
Many people go through a sense of loneliness at different phases in their lives. While this feeling is not too problematic, having it for a prolonged duration is unhealthy and could lead to poorer physical, mental, and cognitive health. It’s also linked to other medical conditions such as obesity, blood pressure, and high cholesterol. A study found that a dearth of social activity for a long duration is almost as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
One of the main reasons why hobbies are important is that they can provide the benefits of doing group activities, especially those that you enjoy doing. This could help overcome any sense of loneliness and also reduces your chances of mortality by as much as 50%.