What Hobbies Can Do For You
Hobbies have been around the world long before we named them ‘hobbies’. Simply put, hobbies are activities that we enjoy doing in our leisure time. But given the world that we have found ourselves introduced to within this year (yes, I am referring to the pandemic that seems to have taken the world by a whirlwind), the importance of hobbies has been brought to the forefront as weeks of the lockdown started passing by.
The pandemic has seemed to highlight a lot of problems and caused a lot of damage to individuals, families, governments and economies. But as my mama always taught me, “always try to look for the silver lining”. I hope you are able to look at the positive sides of this awful situation we have found ourselves in as well. One of the biggest things this pandemic has done is forced us to slow down considerably. In a world that is always asking us to focus on the next thing and move at a speedy pace, the pandemic has forced us to stop and think. It has freed up time on our schedules from constantly running around to lazy mornings. And with all this time on our hands (and the hands of our kids), we have been given one of two choices - either to let this time wither away worrying about things life is throwing our way or use this time wisely. Before we know it, the world will go back to being its chaotic self and we will be back to trying to match its pace.
How can we use all this free time we're presented with now? We can build and cultivate hobbies which guarantees a reduction of laziness and allows us to return to reality as better people.
So let us tell you a few reasons why picking up a new hobby or spending time sharpening an old one is one of the best decisions you'll ever make:
- Hobbies help you relieve stress
Hobbies provide a space for us to do something we find enjoyable. They allow us to take our attention away from things in our life that cause us stress and from the demands of our daily life for a little time, allowing us to focus on something positive, exciting and pleasurable. Not only does it eliminate some of the negative stress but it also causes eustress, also known as positive stress; which produces feelings of positivity, excitement and fulfilment.
- Hobbies bring out our creativity
Hobbies allow us to have positive goals of what we want to achieve. New hobbies allow us to step into a different world than one we have known, forcing our brains to ditch old ways of thinking and stepping into innovative ideas and solutions. This brings us to our next point...
- Hobbies help us look at life from a different perspective
No matter what kind of hobby is your choice of joy, hobbies put us in a state of looking at problems in a different light. Every hobby has underlying lessons that allow us to look at life differently than we would. Not to mention, the perseverance that it takes to learn a new hobby helps us persevere in life knowing that there’s something satisfactory on the other end of a certain negative situation.
- Hobbies teach us patience
Learning a new hobby isn’t necessarily easy. It takes a lot of time, practice, trust and perseverance to get any good at a certain activity. This promotes a sense of patience in all of us because our focus isn’t on how much time it takes or how hard it is but instead we put all our focus and passion on what we would be able to achieve with giving it time and practice.
- Hobbies bring about a sense of happiness and satisfaction
Along with taking away a lot of bad stress, hobbies also bring about a sense of passion and happiness. When we are able to see how much we have improved in a certain amount of time in something we enjoy doing, we can’t help but be proud of ourselves and find a feeling of satisfaction running through our veins. These feelings of happiness and satisfaction help us enter other areas of life with a newer and brighter perspective, hence improving our way of life.
- Hobbies push us out of our comfort zone
Like I previously mentioned, hobbies are not necessarily easy, especially when we are just starting out. I remember the first time I tried to sketch a human figure. It was nothing more than a rectangle with clothes and a face. Initially, it caused a sense of embarrassment for me, knowing others were somehow doing better than me. But the passion to be able to sketch well someday caused me to keep going back to my drawing classes and trying, no matter how uncomfortable I felt, to do better than what I had done the day before. Hobbies challenge us like that; push us out of our comfort zone and into an uncomfortable place.
- Hobbies help us connect with others
Hobbies are one of the best ways to connect with people. Spending time with like-minded people who enjoy the same activity as you is one of the simplest pleasures of life that we seem to ignore. It helps us build our social circle. Doing activities together with friends creates a sense of trust and accountability. When you are struggling with your hobby, it’s easier to give up. But when you find yourselves connected with like-minded people who encourage you to keep pushing through, it’s easier to build discipline and give our best everyday.
- Hobbies help brain development
A combination of an activity that we enjoy doing and eustress seems to be like food for the brain. Different types of hobbies are beneficial for our brains in different ways. Hobbies like learning a new instrument or doing a puzzle improves our memory and executive functional skills. Exercising helps improve our memory and focus. And learning new languages helps build cognitive reserve. No matter what kind of hobby you choose, there is some form of growth and brain development associated with it. Hobbies keep us mentally stimulated on a regular basis which has proven to have many cognitive and brain related benefits.
- Hobbies promote mindfulness
Since hobbies are activities we enjoy immensely, it causes us to stay focused on the task at hand. Because we have a certain goal we want to achieve, we find our brains focus on being present and trying to gain as much information on how to do things and then apply that information in trying to imitate the action of our hobby. This practice of being focused in the now helps us be more mindful and actively present in our lives.
- Hobbies promote self care
In a world where we are constantly running and thinking of the next thing to do, where we are working ourselves to points of exhaustion, hobbies ensure that not only do we get to get out of our heads for a little bit, but it also allows us to care for ourselves. Taking some time out of our stressful days to do something we enjoy is one of the best ways to care for ourselves. Hobbies ensure we don’t burn ourselves out in a world that is burning the midnight oil one too many times.