Hobbies and Happiness
Can hobbies really lead to happiness? Absolutely! Developing a new skill or hobby helps keep our minds sharp and promotes overall mental wellness. When we keep our mind and body active as we age, there are unending mental and physical health benefits. “I feel that it is detrimental if we stop growing or stop investing in learning new things,” says Sherry Gibbens, Statewide Clinical Manager at Centerstone. So, whether you like to crotchet, garden, dance, or paint, know that those activities have a multitude of benefits for our overall well-being.
Find your joy: Engaging in a hobby that brings us comfort or sparks creativity can help rekindle joy in our lives and keep depression at bay.
Beat stress: Hobbies can help us feel more relaxed and at ease, and can provide a distraction in times of high stress.
Be a lifelong learner: Because there is no age limit on trying something new, hobbies allow us to continue to grow and learn. They can help our imagination stay sharp and gain new perspectives that can inspire other ideas for self-improvement.
Cope with loneliness: Many hobbies have clubs or groups where you can meet new people who share your interests or provide opportunities to get involved in your community.
However, when trying a new hobby or skill, some people may find that they are comparing their skillset to others, or are experiencing feelings of doubt. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone has to start somewhere, and that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll perfect a new skill on your first try. Instead, focus on the strengths you do have, and if feelings of doubt come up, it’s best to “disrupt the negative thoughts and replace them with positive encouragement,” adds Gibbens. Consider statements like ‘I am still learning’ or ‘with practice I will get better.’ It may also be beneficial to lean on those in your circle who already have experience with the hobby or skill you’re trying to learn, as they may be able to offer advice and support.
Some people may find it challenging to prioritize their interests because they feel selfish or they don’t set firm boundaries for taking time for themselves. “It’s important to remember that it isn’t selfish, and that you can’t be your best self when you continually empty your cup to fill others,” Gibbens adds. Consider the benefits of pursuing your passions and how that can positively impact your life and those around you. Holding space for yourself is nothing to feel guilty about.
While hobbies can help us find joy and cope with depression or loneliness, they may not be the ultimate solution. If you need more support in this area, Centerstone is here to help. Reach out to us directly to connect with a counselor at 1-877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123), or visit our counseling services webpage to learn more about our resources.