How having a hobby can help your mental health
Any creative person knows that having a hobby they enjoy can greatly improve their mental health, in part because it’s something they legitimately enjoy doing, but also because being creative is a wonderful emotional outlet. Whether you’re crafting, sewing, or making things from wood and metal, having a hobby is a great way to get in touch with your artistic side and get creative.
“There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning.” says Dr. Tamlin Conner.
Some of the most popular forms of creativity are songwriting, creative writing, dancing, singing, painting, drawing, and sewing. These can all improve concentration and focus and help the individual feel more at peace and comfortable with themselves. In fact, creative therapy is often employed to help survivors of abuse and trauma and can be greatly beneficial to those suffering from depression or PTSD.
Here are some of the best ways having a hobby can help boost your mood and your self-confidence.
It can help you be more social
The great thing about having a hobby is that you can do it alone or with friends. Sewing circles are a great way to meet new people and get together once in a while to chat and create something together; if you prefer to draw or paint, you can also gather some artist friends and head to a local pub or park to spend some time drawing together. Singers and musicians often hang out with other musically-inclined folks at church or at clubs; if you’re not comfortable singing in front of a crowd just yet, ask a friend to jam with you in the comfort of your own home.
Many people say they don’t believe they are the creative “type”, and that’s okay! If you’re not inclined to sing or paint or dance, find something you enjoy doing and join in. This can be anything from party planning to raising money for a charity; do some research and find the best ways you can help. You can even make t-shirts for your “crew”--the people who donate their time and money to help out--and create a fun group atmosphere.
It can help you unplug
Having a hobby is a great way to unplug from the world, especially these days, when everyone is connected to a smartphone or tablet just about all the time. It can take a toll on your mood to stay connected so much, so taking a break to create something is a good idea now and then.
You can make extra money
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure can relieve some stress if you don’t have to worry about making rent. Having a hobby that you’re good at means you can make some extra cash, so consider opening up a shop online on Etsy or a similar marketplace where you can sell your wares and gain a fanbase.
Speaking of stress…
Having a hobby that you enjoy doing can greatly reduce stress and anxiety and can alleviate feelings of depression. Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Many creative people--artists, especially--are very critical of their own work and are hard to please. Don’t take what you do too seriously. Just have fun with it and try new mediums and forms of expression.
Hobbies can help you find structure
For those suffering from depression, the days often blend into one another. It can be difficult to pull your way out of those feelings and have healthy relationships with your friends and loved ones, but having a hobby allows you to find a sort of structure in your day. Putting your time into something creative and worthwhile also builds self-confidence, which is never a bad thing.
Hobbies are very personal things; you don’t have to choose one from a list, but if you’ve always wanted to try one of the activities named here, go for it! It takes a certain level of fearlessness, but once you find something you enjoy doing, you’ll ask yourself why it took you so long to try it.