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Finding Joy Through Hobbies

The demands of life can sometimes leave us feeling stuck in daily routines with an overall dissatisfaction in life. So how do we change that? How can we add a bit of excitement back into our lives and increase our overall satisfaction and happiness?

Well, one way is to give hobbies a try! January is National Hobby Month and while hobbies are just common activities that people engage in as something fun to do, they often do not realize that hobbies also have so many benefits for our mind and body wellness. Below, I will describe a few.

Here are 5 Benefits of Hobbies:

1.Coping Skills

Hobbies can serve as coping skills and be positive strategies to help you cope with challenging situations. They can be an outlet for expression of emotions, whether that’s through art, drawing, writing, music, group meetings, painting, etc. Finding an outlet to express your feelings is crucial to coping with life’s challenges. Hobbies can also serve as a good distraction from everyday stressors. While hobbies provide us with something fun to do, they can also serve as a distraction from thinking about everyday stress and challenges that we face. This can be a critical component of an overall self-care program.

2. Sense of achievement and mastery

Hobbies and new activities can give us a surprising sense of achievement through growth and mastery. Learning something new can be a challenge; however, when we begin to develop mastery with the new activity, this helps us gain new skills and make us feel good about ourselves and our accomplishments. This not only provides joy, but it can also boost self-esteem and confidence. Just don’t forget to have fun with the activity that you’ve chosen and not get too caught up in the competition of it!

3. Social connection

One of the most beneficial areas to which hobbies can provide, is an avenue for social connection. Many hobbies are in fact ones that you may do alone; however, there are often groups that meet to participate in the activity all together. For example, there are often online groups, forums, workshops or other ways that people connect through a shared interest. For people who are seeking social connection this can be a huge support. It allows for a feeling of togetherness, companionship and shared interests, which reduce isolation and loneliness. 

4. Meaningful activity

Hobbies can also provide an activity to engage in that can be meaningful and provide a sense of fulfillment. Often times, people find that when they are engaging in something that they enjoy, life feels more fulfilling and that they are living with more meaning and purpose. This increases satisfaction with life and overall happiness. It also helps to take us out of living a day-to-day routine that may feel mundane or boring. Hobbies can bring a new joyful purpose to one’s life.

5. Mental or physical stimulation

Depending on the type of hobby or activity that you are involved in, some provide mental stimulation that can be good for your brain and mental functioning, while others can provide beneficial physical stimulation. Activities, such as reading, puzzles, needlepoint, etc. allow you to mentally focus, which can stimulate your thought process in a new and different ways as well as work on memory and other cognitive tasks. This can be helpful for your mind and cognitive abilities. Hobbies that provide physical stimulation include things like playing in a sports league, walking, hiking, travel, etc. These can be helpful to increase your exercise levels and keep you physically healthy.

So, if you aren’t already engaged in a hobby or haven’t considered starting one, you should now! Try searching online for some new activities or groups near you. Think of things that interest you and go for it. There are so many great benefits to come.

Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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