HOW HOBBIES CAN IMPROVE OUR MENTAL HEALTH
Writing, painting, gardening; while these activities may seem like mundane hobbies, they serve an essential purpose: improving mental health.
There are many ways that a hobby can improve mental health. Studies have shown that having or picking up new hobbies is a great way to check in yourself: how you're feeling, what you're thinking, etc. Taking the time to find something that sparks your interest is a great way to understand yourself better. And performing those tasks makes it easy to avoid the complacency and boredom that can lead to a depressive episode.
Another reason hobbies can be great for mental health is that they are rewarding. If someone's hobby is gardening, they put hours and hours into planting, weeding, watering - all the essential parts of keeping a garden.
But it is not until weeks, or maybe months after that, they get to see their results and get to feel the happiness and pride at hard work paying off. When you put lots of hard work and effort into something and get to see the results, your brain releases chemicals such as dopamine that make you happy and reward you for that work.
Similarly, a hobby can be rewarding; it can also help someone build their confidence. It takes time to develop a hobby and become skilled at it. The more they do their pursuit, the better they get at it and the more rewarding.
Having a hobby is also a great de-stressors. They are the opposite of a job: you don't have to do it for a certain amount of time on certain days. Their flexibility often means that they are what people go to after a long day at work and because of a way to de-stress.
Some science has shown that consistently doing a hobby you enjoy can lower your blood pressure.
Having a hobby also allows your mind to focus on something other than what may be causing you stress, giving your brain a short but much-needed break. Getting rid of that stress and taking a break can also allow you to tackle problems differently than before.
Gaining insight into yourself, lowering your blood pressure, and gaining confidence are just some of the ways that having a hobby (or two) is beneficial to your health.
Overall, it's never a bad idea to pick up a hobby.