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Why a Hobby Can Improve Mental Health

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You spend a lot of time working and give your time and efforts to help others. What do you do for yourself? The answer to this question can influence your mental health.Having a hobby has been shown to improve mental health. Examples of hobbies includes acrobats, geology, cliff diving and making pottery. Other examples of hobbies are yoga, ballroom dancing, mountaineering or writing.

The list of hobbies is extensive and can be any activity that makes you feel happy. Hobbies improve mental health in many ways. Below are some of the benefits you can gain from engaging in a hobby.

Good Stress

Believe it or not, there is such thing as good stress. It is called eustress. It relates to that energy you feel when you are experiencing something exciting.

Eustress can prevent physical and mental health problems. It is a good kind of stress that brings us joy. It is positive and while it may only be short-term, it helps us improve.

Hobbies are excellent ways of creating eustress.

Learn Your Passion

By trying many different activities, you can learn what you are passionate about and what you are happy to leave behind.

Passions can involve your natural talents, making it easy for you to complete your hobbies with expertise over time. For example, an accountant may have the natural ability and passion to sing opera. Or, a brain surgeon may enjoy hiking Mt. Everest in his or her spare time.

Finding your passion may take time but think how much fun you can have figuring it out. Learning more about yourself, such as finding your passion, can improve your mental health by giving you a sense of purpose. It makes you feel worthwhile and purpose driven.

You Time

Taking time for yourself can give you the energy you need to do excellent work and to be there for others. If you do not take care of yourself, you will feel stressed and run down. You will not be able to fully commit to people and projects.

Taking time for yourself can be simple and can include anything that helps you relax and feel good. Exercising, long hot bubble baths and hobbies are excellent examples.

Hobbies give you the time you need to focus on only what you choose. The best hobbies are the ones in which you get lost in the activity. So lost that hours go by but it only feels like minutes. Hobbies make you wish you did not have to stop having “you time”.

Challenges You

Hobbies are not always easy. In fact, the best hobbies are ones that offer you a challenge. They increase your knowledge and abilities.

Hobbies that are challenging are beneficial. They can teach you a new skill or improve on an existing skill. If a hobby was too easy, you would lose interest early on. When we are challenged, and we accomplish our goal, we are rewarded. This sense of accomplishment increases our self-esteem.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, low self-esteem is directly linked to negative mental health. When your mental health is low, you may be more susceptible to depression, anxiety, poor relationships and addiction.

Connections

Connecting with others has been reported to improve mental health. When you establish healthy relationships, you have support and a feeling of belonging.

The people you connect with in life can influence your mental health. Connect to healthy, positive people who truly want the best for you. You can offer the same type of support back to them, which can be just as influential on positive mental health.

When it comes to mental health, you are who you hang around. If you only hang around negative, lazy complainers then you will be influenced to behave the same way.

If you are always hanging around positive, energetic friends and family members, you will feel the same way.

Physical Health

Does poor physical health lead to poor mental health? Or, does poor mental health lead to poor physical health? The answer is both.

However, if you make efforts to improve your physical health, your mental health will improve.

Exercise, for example, releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that tell your brain to feel rewarded.

It is easy to form habits that are detrimental to both our physical and emotional states. With a few steps, you can avoid acquiring any negative habits.

Start by making minor changes. This makes it easier to change and implement better habits.

More Money

Some hobbies can turn into start-ups. Or, at least a little extra money on the side. Who could use a little extra cash?

Money does not always lead to happiness. However, when you are being paid for something you love to do, it can make you feel rewarded. It is a huge compliment that people like your work so much that they are willing to pay for it.

Many entrepreneurs state their businesses were formed out of hobbies. Some of the entrepreneurs go on to be multi-millionaires.

Hobbies, however, should never start out with the idea of making a profit. Hobbies should start out as a fun activity and then you can see where it leads.

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Have Fun

If it is not fun, do not do it. Hobbies, if not implemented correctly, can turn into a dreaded activity. For instance, if you are a person who loves to bake but find yourself obligated to bake for many events and organizations, it may start to feel more like a job.

You may start hating the whole baking process after a while because it no longer belongs to just you.

Having fun means laughing, enjoying your time, wishing the activity did not have to end. Fun is making memories that you can reflect on later and that will make you continue to smile.

Start finding hobbies that interest you. Even if you take a few minutes each day to try something new, you find yourself feeling better. What are the things you have always wanted to try? A cooking class? Skydiving? Painting?

Pick something and try it. It could very well turn into a life improving hobby!

 

 

 


Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.