Having a hobby brings more than personal enrichment to our lives. By learning new skills, resurrecting dormant talents and by sharing them with others, hobbies bring us physical, mental, and relational health. They reignite passion and a sense of value in our lives. The world awaits with exciting activities that you can explore. Here are 5 important things everyone should know about hobbies:
A study conducted by several psychologists found that people who said they engaged in hobbies or enjoyable leisure activities had lower blood pressure, decreased total cortisol, smaller waist circumference and reduced body mass index. So we know that hobbies like knitting, crafting and playing an instrument are connecting us to better health.
Another study assessed participants while they were participating in hobbies. Results revealed that participants had a more positive mood, more interest, less stress, and lower heart rates when engaging in leisure activities. The benefits of participating in a hobby extend to hours, or even days later. The same study found that people with hobbies continue to be happier and to experience lower levels of depression and negative feelings even after the practice ends.
Whether it’s building a birdhouse, knitting a baby outfit or volunteering to play piano for a church service, hobbies give us an opportunity to contribute to the community around us. We receive the joy of giving of our talents while others experience the joy of receiving the gift itself. Sometimes, our hobbies can even earn a bit of extra income like it did for our friend Ann:
“With time on my hands and broken knees, I felt that I had to find something to do with my hands. I brought out my knitting needles and found a pattern for chickens. I made one for the little girl next door and she loved it! I enjoyed making each one look unique and I laughed out loud every time I tied the knots for the chicken knees. I chose a unique name for each chick, and included my husband in selecting a color and a name. My daughters even put them in their cars, took them along on vacations, and posted photos on a Facebook page they set up. While the travelling chickens experienced the cacti of Arizona and the pool side lounges of California, they gave me the opportunity to sell a few more to people who found them online. This hobby strokes my creative side, brings my family joy, and I feel like I am doing something special. I bring a chicken or two to family gatherings and give them away. Bringing a little sunshine to the day with my knitting hobby gives me a purpose and an outlet for creativity.”
Many hobbies are done in the company of others or shared with others as a gift. Starting a new hobby can connect you with other people “of kindred spirit” and give you a sense of comradery. Once you find a hobby that you love, you can also share it with loved ones. Some have even brought a new spark to a dull or repetitive marriage with a hobby that can be done together such as cooking. Connecting hobbies with other people will help you learn new things and improve your skills while also making friends.
John, a resident living at Cristwood Park shares his woodworking talents with other residents by fixing furniture in the woodshop. He picks up broken furniture and repairs it for his neighbors who are grateful for his talents as well as his generosity in sharing them. He also gets to join others of like mind in the woodshop for coffee and a bit of carpentry conversation every so often.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This is more than just a proverb, these are wise words Hobbies change your perspective and make you more of an interesting person to be with. Without a hobby or outside interest, life can become pretty boring. Participating in any hobby or new leisure activity gives you something new to share with others. You learn new things that bring fresh excitement to each day and are able to share fun stories and experiences with others.
Author Nicholas Sparks once said, “It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or faith… the saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.”
We’ve listed just a few of the many benefits to having a hobby. We recommend taking time each day to devote to a new passion or diversion. Do some research and find a few things that pique your interest, then give it a try. Even if you don’t stick with the first thing you initiate, you will have abolished boredom, brought joy to others and eliminate any risk of having a dull day.
CRISTA Senior Living is connecting & celebrating generations through grace, compassion & inspiration, you can find out more at www.cristaseniorliving.org
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