Hobbies, Mental Health and You

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Piano, You and Your Child
September 19, 2018

No matter your age, there are plenty of fun and rewarding hobbies you can learn online. Some are even good to learn with friends, so you can incorporate a social element as well. Hobbies are good for your mental health and help to provide an element of relaxation in your day. Here are a few hobbies you can start today without any prior experience!

How hobbies benefit mental health

As creative pursuits, hobbies allow you to use your mind in unusual ways. Whether that means learning to play your favorite song on the piano, finding the perfect rhyme, combining colors to match a particular shade in nature, or learning a new method of stitching, anything that gets your brain active is good for you in the long run. The process of learning something new boosts your ability to concentrate on a deeper level and retain the information, ultimately benefiting your work life as well. A hobby you particularly enjoy can also help you reduce stress, thanks to the positive chemicals your body releases when you engage in something you love. Depending on the hobby, you may find additional relaxation in its pursuit, which further reduces stress. Finally, if you incorporate a group into your hobby, like a book club or knitting circle, you will find that the social component is one of the best parts of a hobby. Not only will the shared experience of learning a new skill help bring you closer to your friends, but the combination of boosted confidence from creating something with your own hands and the sense of belonging by spending time in a group will do wonders for your overall mental health.

Express yourself through poetry

Some hobbies work equally well whether you do them by yourself or with a group. Poetry, for instance, is a classic solitary activity that allows you to tap into your deepest emotions and express them through writing. The process of writing a poem is extremely freeing – while there are various established forms and structures you can follow, there is no rule saying you have to stick to one particular structure. Your poetry can be as constrained or free as you like. Writing poetry is extremely therapeutic because of how closely it can be linked to your thoughts and feelings. When you incorporate a social element, as with slam poetry nights or group poetry sessions, you get the added boost of belongingness and shared experience. Slam poetry events can be an entertaining way for you to test your performance skills in an empathetic environment. The more you write, the easier it will become, and regular events offer you a reason to practice your craft. If you prefer a group of people you know, why not start a local poetry group? All you need are a few friends and a place to meet each week. Because poetry is so intimate, this can be an ideal way to get to know your friends on a deeper emotional level. Follow your poetry group nights with a cooking session to really expand your creativity!

Create something you can feel, see, hear, or taste

If you’d like to create something tangible, drawing, cooking, or sewing might be the way to go. Sewing and drawing, in particular, improve focus, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. Plus, with sewing, you will end up with a tangible item – a scarf, koozie, or blanket – that you can either use yourself or share with friends. Sewing, and other similarly relaxing creative pursuits, can be a great help for those suffering from depression or recovering from an addiction, because the creative process releases endorphins that reduce stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. Drawing is another way of tapping into your creative side. While you can learn in groups, there are many resources online to learn different techniques and styles. Just like poetry, visual art is useful for releasing your deeper emotions in a soothing way. If you are in the market for something completely different, why not try to learn a new instrument such as the piano? Creating or listening to music you enjoy lowers stress levels and releases endorphins that help regulate vascular health. If you are a foodie, you might enjoy cooking a new recipe or experimenting with new flavors.

There are hobbies for every taste, skill level, and personality. Not all require a group, but many are made more enjoyable with a group of dedicated friends. If you don’t already have a hobby, test some out today! You may just find your new passion.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Julie Morris

Life and Career Coach

[email protected] | juliemorris.org