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3 Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Starting a Hobby

Maria Cannon

If you are busy and feel as though you don’t just need more hours in the day but need more days in the week, you probably laugh when people tell you that you need to slow down and pursue a hobby to improve your mental and physical health. How in the world can you make time for hobbies when you don’t have enough time to do all that you need to do for your family, your work, or yourself?

In truth, engaging in a hobby can help you move through the rigors of your day more successfully. When your mental and physical health are at their best, you have the focus and energy you need to make better decisions, complete tasks, and handle the stresses of your day.

  1. Give Your Mind a Break

When your mind races or you have so much to do that you constantly make plans and worry about everything, you’re not in the healthiest mental state. But, when you focus on a hobby, you clear your mind and give it the break it needs. If your hobby includes repetitive moves or rhythmic motion like knitting does, you enter a relaxing, meditative state, according to knitting therapist Betsan Corkhill. A hobby that challenges you forces you to concentrate so much that your mind cannot think about anything else, making it possible to shut out other things that you had been focusing on throughout the day.

The goal is to choose a hobby that helps you enter what women’s health and success coach Jennifer Racioppi refers to as a flow state. A flow state is similar to meditation, putting you in a state of mind that combines action and awareness so you can stop worrying about everything other than the task (in this case, a hobby) before you. If you find a hobby that is so engaging and enjoyable that you lose track of time, you have achieved the flow state.

 

  1. Hobbies Bring Joy

All too often, we become so busy that we forget to take the time to pursue activities that bring us joy. Doing something simply because you enjoy it promotes positive stress, or eustress. Eustress is healthy stress that benefits our bodies by increasing our brain power and improving our immune system. This positive stress drives us to be successful and happy and gives us the motivation we need to pursue activities that we find exciting and fun. That’s the benefit of finding a hobby that you love; it improve your mental and physical health through the excitement and joy it brings. Not sure what hobby is best for you? Check out this site, which helps you match your interests and skills to different hobbies.

 

  1. Hobbies Help You Challenge Yourself

Challenging yourself is one way to keep life interesting and keep your brain active. Hobbies are ideal challenges because they give you the opportunity to try something new and experience new things without much risk or pressure. You will learn your new hobby as you go, and you will recognize that it is okay to be unsuccessful at first.

However, a new hobby should not challenge you to the point of putting your health or safety at risk. The point of taking up a hobby is to improve your health rather than harm it, after all. If, for instance, you take up rock climbing, you should undergo some training and ensure you have the proper equipment and safety gear before your first climb.

If you’re more interested in a trades-related hobby that requires the use of tools or special equipment, spend time learning about safety tips. Examples include wearing safety goggles, reading user manuals, and asking a friend who is familiar with power tools how to use them safely. More DIY safety tips are available online, such as this guide provided by Redfin.

Pursuing a hobby improves your mental and physical health because it gives your mind a break, brings you joy and promotes eustress, challenges you, and keeps your brain active.

Article submission by Maria Cannon of http://www.hobbyjr.org

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