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  • Writer's pictureHayley Stevens

Why Having A Hobby Is Important For Your Mental Health

Nowadays, our lives can feel painfully and overwhelmingly busy! Finding time to take up a hobby seems like an unrealistic indulgence. However, studies have shown that having a hobby can reduce the effects of depression, stress and anxiety and can even act as a preventative measure.

Studies have shown that social prescribing programmes that ask patients to take up hobbies such as gardening or art are beneficial for mental health and wellbeing.

Evidence also shows that even for those with clinical depression, certain psychological treatments – like behavioural activation, which requires patients to schedule in time to do things that bring them pleasure and joy – improve symptoms of depression.

Hobbies affect the reward system in the brain. When we take part in a hobby that we enjoy, chemical messengers in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) are released – such as dopamine, a chemical which helps us feel pleasure.

Taking up a hobby is a great way to ease anxiety or stress. It allows you to focus your mind on different tasks which are often a welcome distraction from any stresses you are currently experiences. Enjoyable hobbies can be a good way to calm down an overactive mind, alleviate anxiety and lower panic symptoms.

It is a great way for you to build your self confidence. It’s also a great way to get out and meet new people in an environment that makes you happy meaning you are more at ease helping ease social anxiety symptoms.

Hobby ideas:

  • Gardening

  • Painting

  • Art Classes

  • Photography

  • Join a Book Club

  • Learn To Play A Musical Instrument

  • Rock Climbing

  • Dancing

  • Floristry

  • Chess Club

  • Tai chi

  • Archery

  • Quilting

  • Baking

  • Poetry

  • Cookery Classes

  • Learn Stand Up Comedy

How to make the time to enjoy a hobby

When you look back at your day can you honestly say hand on heart you used every minute productively? How much time did you spend scrolling aimlessly through social media? Did you actually ask your partner if they could cook dinner or watch the kids for one night a week or did you just assume they couldn’t? Binge watched an entire series on Netflix when you could have watch an episode or 2? Did you wake up later than you should have?

There is no denying life is busy but it is certainly possible to find time, even one hour a week to indulge in a hobby you enjoy and once this becomes a habit it will be your new normal! The benefits that come from doing something you enjoy and focusing your mind on to it is worth finding the time for.

Hayley Stevens

Clinical Hypnotherapist

0207 459 4661

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