Hobbies are often thought of in passing as something that people do in their spare time. But, as Dr. Kevin Dalby explains, they can also be an effective form of stress relief as Americans’ lives continue to get busier by the day.
Besides simply relieving stress, hobbies can lead to further learning and improved cognitive function, among other benefits.
Here are five ways that hobbies can improve your life.
#1. They Help You Decompress
Life can feel overwhelming after a stressful day on the job or when you’re facing a challenge at home. Hobbies will help you get through these times by relaxing.
One of the main benefits of having hobbies is they improve mental health. In the last few years, there has been much research that proves that mental health is as important as physical health — simply because the two are intertwined.
Hobbies help people lower stress, work through depression, and lower anxiety.
#2. They Tap Your Creative Side
When humans use creativity, they thrive in their lives. Even people who wouldn’t consider themselves creative are often forced to tap into their creative side when they engage in hobbies.
By engaging in a hobby that pushes your creativity, you’ll be more likely to approach other things in your life with more creativity. This can help you with problem-solving and planning, for instance.
#3. They Help with Self-Improvement
Hobbies challenge us to achieve something every time we do them. Whether it’s playing a sport, woodworking, crocheting, or reading, hobbies always present a challenge in a fun and exciting way.
When we achieve the “goal” of the hobby, we improve our confidence, boost our self-esteem and generally improve our quality of life. Even if there is no “winner and loser” in your hobby, you can still accomplish a goal.
#4. They Help Us Socialize
Hobbies help a lot of people meet new people and socialize. There have been many proven benefits of human interaction, and hobbies can help even the most introverted people come out of their shells.
When we engage in hobbies, it helps us break down the barriers between us and others. Just think of how much easier it is to talk to someone else if you both engage in and enjoy a particular hobby — no matter what that hobby is.
Even if your favorite hobby is an individual activity, you can still realize immense social-personal benefits from it.
#5. They Spice Up Life
Routines are helpful in many ways, but they can also result in life becoming boring. As Dr. Kevin Dalby explains, people tend to take a poor outlook on life and find themselves in an unhealthy cycle when this happens.
Hobbies can help change that up. They can add a spark and excitement to your life, something to look forward to at the end of the day or the end of the week. They are often entirely different from all the other things you must do in your life, which is what makes them so enjoyable.
For this reason, hobbies make all the other “routine” stuff in our days feel that much less stressful and ominous.
About Dr. Kevin Dalby
Dr. Kevin Dalby is a professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he examines the mechanisms of nature and cancer to develop new treatments and teach and motivate students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.