8 Reasons Why Having a Hobby Improves Your Mental Health

8 Reasons Why Having a Hobby Improves Your Mental Health

It’s been said that everyone needs a hobby, whether that means playing music, painting, collecting challenge coins, or anything else that someone might enjoy. Hobbies are fun ways to pass the time, but they are also important for one’s well-being. Let’s look at eight ways that having a hobby can improve your mental health.

1. Reduces Stress

Having a hobby is a great way to reduce stress. Studies have shown that painting, drawing, or otherwise creating art can greatly reduce one’s cortisol levels, while more physical hobbies such as playing sports or running can increase the levels of endorphins in your body to reduce stress and improve your mood overall.

2. Improves Physical Fitness

Having a more physical hobby such as playing sports or working out is great for your mental and physical health. We’ve already talked about how physical activity improves your sense of well-being by increasing the endorphins in your body, but it can also improve your energy levels and improve your self-esteem as you get into better shape. Completing a grueling workout also gives you a sense of accomplishment, which goes a long way toward improving your mood.

3. Provides a Sense of Accomplishment

There are few things more satisfying than knowing that you created something yourself. This obviously applies to painters and sculptors, but it can also apply to any creative endeavor. Maybe you’re a writer who just wrote a poem or short story, or maybe you’re a musician who learned how to play a difficult piece of music. You’ve accomplished something that you can be proud of, which will help your self-esteem even if it was “just for fun.”

4. Improves Social Connections

Most hobbies give you the chance to connect with others in some way. Playing team sports for fun all but requires you to interact with others, as does playing music in a band, but even solitary hobbies can give you opportunities for socialization. No matter what you enjoy, there is almost certainly a community devoted to it. Some of these are mostly online, but you can find several opportunities to meet up with others who enjoy your hobbies in person if you take the time to look.

5. Reduces Feelings of Depression and Anxiety

Any hobby that helps you relax can certainly improve symptoms of anxiety, but it can also help reduce feelings of depression. This can come from the social connections that many hobbies provide or the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a challenging task, but sometimes a hobby is a great way to occupy your mind when you’re feeling down.

6. Helps You Discover Your Strengths

A hobby can be a great way to help you discover where your true strengths and abilities lie. You might find that you have some real musical talent if you try to learn how to play an instrument, or you might become a great artist if you try drawing or painting in your spare time. Even if you don’t think you’re very good at a new hobby right away, keep at it if you enjoy it. Your skills will improve, and it might open up whole new worlds to you.

7. Alleviates Boredom

There are few things worse than being bored and feeling like you have nothing to do. That’s another area where a hobby can help you and improve your mental health. If you find that you have a lot of downtime and you get bored easily, find something to fill that time that you enjoy.

8. Prevents Memory Loss

Finally, having a hobby can help prevent memory loss in older adults. No matter what you enjoy doing, engaging in a hobby can drop you into a “flow state” where you are focused on the task at hand. This keeps your mind occupied, which is crucial if you’re older and concerned about memory loss.