Having a hobby is a good way to spend your downtime. Numerous studies have shown how people with a hobby are less likely to be stressed or suffer from depression.
Many people run or play a sport to relieve stress, but you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the mental health benefits of having a hobby.
Here are three CNET says you might want to try:
We’ve all eaten our feelings at one time or another: ice cream when we’re sad or bacon because it makes us happy (unless you’re vegetarian or vegan). Studies have found cooking itself can also make us happy. Research published in March 2021, in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found cooking — and baking — not only relaxed people, but also made them happier.
“The culinary activities, which were considered as a necessity at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown days in the world, turned into a leisure/recreational activity over time and began to function as a tool in improving people’s psychological well-being,” the researchers wrote.
According to CNET, “With each dish, you feel more self-reliant and confident, not to mention the social connections you can make when serving it to others.”
Although CNET broke these out into separate hobbies, journaling, music and painting/drawing are all forms of art. Whatever your passion, art lets you express your feelings in ways you can’t verbally.
Journaling can be a good way of working through any problems you’re having. Research has show just 15 minutes of writing each day can lower your anxiety. You don’t have to have a problem to journal, CNET states. Just writing about your day or what your thoughts are at that time can benefit your mental health.
Making music can bring you a sense of accomplishment. If it brings frustration instead, however, consider listening to your favorite music; it can also lower stress levels.
There is a reason drawing, painting, sculpting and other forms of art are used in therapy sessions. Art “lets you express your feelings and channel your creativity. You may also use it as a way to work through things that are tough to talk about,” CNET wrote.
Unless you plan to sell your artwork, it doesn’t really matter how good it is. Remember: You’re doing this for you, not the public. All that matters is that you enjoy yourself, CNET wrote.
Want to boost your hobby’s positive effects? Pick one you can do outside. Getting some sunshine can raise your serotonin levels, which can make you feel happy and calm, studies show.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature,” lead author MaryCarol Hunter explained in a statement.
Consider gardening as your hobby if you want to spend more time outdoors. But really, nearly any hobby can be moved out to the patio or deck to soak in some sun while creating your stress away.