The Power of Hobbies — Steph Miller
Hobbies contribute to our emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing and everyone should make the time to nurture at least one hobby.
If you were lucky enough to have parents like mine, then when you were a child you were probably encouraged at every opportunity to embrace as many hobbies as possible. By the age of 10, I had numerous hobbies under my belt. Writing stories and poetry, dressing up and playing ‘Victorians’ (one of my favourite games which my poor sisters had to endure on many an occasion!), sewing, tennis, swimming, playing the piano and collecting stamps (I copied this from my oldest sister and oddly, thought it very cool at the time!). Children should have all the time in the world to explore potential new hobbies and cultivate the things they enjoy. And if they find something they REALLY enjoy, it can provide many, many happy hours and give them focus as they navigate their way through those often difficult teenage years.
Unfortunately, as we get older our inclination and ability to spend time enjoying our hobbies often dwindles due to the pressures of being a teenager, school work, ‘growing up’, getting a job, having children etc etc. One of the questions I ask my clients in their initial consultation is ‘do you have any hobbies?’ and it is really quite frightening how many say they don’t have any. The main reason most commonly being that they don’t have time for any hobbies. The reality of this is, in my opinion, not true. I firmly believe that we can all, and we MUST all, find some time for at least one hobby! The key, is finding something you really enjoy which you can become completely immersed in for that time which you are devoting to it. And if you’re able to turn your hobby into a way you can make a living, then you’re onto a winner! I turned my passion for psychology and helping people into my business Windmill Wellbeing when I decided to become a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist.
If you’re in any doubt about the benefits of making some time for your hobbies, read on!
Hobbies relieve stress
When we spend time doing the things we enjoy, not only is it a distraction from the stresses of everyday life, but our brains actually release chemicals which make us feel good and help combat stress. And if one of your hobbies happens to involve some form of physical activity, even better! It doesn’t have to be sport in the typical sense though, as anything which gets you active, gets your body releasing dopamine — a key neurotransmitter in productivity, focus and motivation. So spending some time on a hobby, can actually make you more productive in other areas of your life!
Hobbies help keep your mind active
Our brain is a muscle just like any other muscle that responds well to ‘exercise’. Mental exercise takes the form of learning new things and keeping existing pathways in our brain active. The more you use your brain, the healthier it will be, both now and in later life. If you establish some hobbies in adulthood, you are likely to carry these through to later life which will hopefully help you maintain a zest for life and keep you active.
Hobbies broaden your horizons
Want to meet some new people, see new places or open your eyes to things you might otherwise have missed? Hobbies are great for broadening your horizons and opening up opportunities for you to enrich your life in so many ways. In pursuing my hobbies I have met some amazing, like-minded people, who I have also learnt from, and I have tried new things which I would never have known existed had I not made the time for my hobbies.
Hobbies encourage mindfulness and relaxation
When you’re doing something you really enjoy, you are living in the moment. As a result, you are not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This is psychologically one of the best places to be and something we should all strive for in moments throughout our days. As a result, we are more likely to be able to switch off and relax during stressful times. The ability to do this can be hard, but its a skill well worth cultivating!
Hobbies are fun!
It may seem obvious, but hobbies provide a source of fun and how often, as adults, do we just allow ourselves to have fun? There doesn’t have to be any pressure, or time constraints (unless you want there to be) and you can just enjoy it in whatever way you like. If that means playing chop-stix on the piano for 10 minutes a day then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! If it lifts your mood and makes you feel alive, then it’s perfect!
So if you don’t already have any hobbies, get out there and explore! If you do, then make sure you make some time to enjoy them. I firmly believe that adults and children alike should nurture their hobbies and you never know where they might take you!
Originally published at windmillwellbeing.com on June 2, 2017.