Everyone Needs a Hobby: 4 Hidden Health Benefits of Your Favorite Pastimes

I have not posted for awhile, how are you all? I have been dealing with injuries from a bicycle accident in May and have focused my energies on getting healthy again. That being said, knitting and crocheting always puts me in a better mood, and I highly suggest it as a form of therapy.

Maria Cannon, emailed me awhile ago and asked if she could be a guest contributor on my site. This is her article and I couldn’t agree with her more. Thank you Maria for sharing your words of wisdom!

Everyone Needs a Hobby: 4 Hidden Health Benefits of Your Favorite Pastimes

Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Mabel Amber

What’s your hobby? What do you like to do for fun? We typically talk about our hobbies on first dates, when we are just getting to know someone, or as “filler” topics during awkward silences in our conversations. However, recent scientific data is showing that our hobbies are so much more important than that. In fact, the way we pass our time might have a positive impact on all areas of our life – including our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

Having a hobby is great for our mental health and mental fitness. We are drawn to our hobbies because they stimulate our minds, pique our interests, and fascinate us. However, science now tells us that hobbies have many additional benefits – which we might not even realize!

Here are four hidden health benefits from some of our favorite hobbies:

1. Mental Fitness
Did you know hobbies actually improve your mental fitness? Mental fitness involves psychological fitness techniques that improve thinking skills and overall brain health. As you challenge your brain, improve your memory and learn new skills, you will possibly also decrease your chances of developing forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

2. Mental and Emotional Health
Hobbies are great for mental health because they help assist with improving our moods, reducing our levels of depression and anxiety. Many types of hobbies, including sports, provide opportunities for making new friends and increasing socialization. In addition, hobbying reduces stress and cortisol levels (more information on this below).

3. Addiction Recovery
Hobbying can also assist those who are currently in addiction recovery. It gives your mind something to focus on besides your addiction, and can help curb addictive cravings. The right hobbies can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, while providing a social circle which can act as a strong support system for recovering addicts and alcoholics.

4. Physical Health
By reducing levels of stress and cortisol, healthy hobbies might actually help you reduce your chances of developing certain types of diseases. Diabetes, high blood sugar levels, weight gain, obesity, adrenal fatigue, suppressed immune system, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, cardiovascular disease, fertility issues, insomnia, chronic fatigue, thyroid disorders, dementia, and many other health conditions have all been linked to high cortisol.

So there you have it; hobbies aren’t just a way to pass the time or have fun. You never know…. Your favorite hobby might also be improving your health – or, in some cases, possibly even saving your life.

From knitting scarves to attending sci-fi conventions, from playing sports to creating arts and crafts, hobbies help shape our worlds, our social circles, and our personalities. It can be empowering to realize that our favorite hobbies might also be shaping our health and our overall well-being — physically, mentally, and emotionally. So go ahead, knit that scarf or play that video game. After all, it might actually be surprisingly good for you…

Resources used for this article:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/think-well/201105/three-keys-optimum-mental-fitness

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/05/309006780/learning-a-new-skill-works-best-to-keep-your-brain-sharp

http://www.treehouserehab.org/art-therapy-and-addiction/

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml

All the best,
Maria Cannon
HobbyJr.org
maria@hobbyjr.org

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