Psychology, hobbies and wellbeing
I consider that having hobbies helps my wellbeing. I used to spend a lot of a day working or commuting. Even having a pastime such as watching the TV helped me unwind. Often I thought it was better to have the unwind time and go for a shorter period of sleep, before getting up the next day to catch the first train back to work. Hobbies helped even more. Now there is a growing consideration of the importance of wellbeing and the benefits of hobbies. There is a selection of articles below from others more knowledgeable in the field. All with thanks and aploigies for copying it here as links sometimes get broken.
Some extracts from Psychology Today
How Hobbies Impact Your Head and Your Heart
New research explains how hobbies can help you feel happier and younger.
Posted Jun 20, 2017
Srini Pillay M.D.
Debunking Myths of the Mind
Many of us have no time for hobbies. Stretched for time, we feel lucky if we make it to the end of the day without complete exhaustion. With our packed schedules, the last thing we might think of is to add another task to the day, yet dabbling in hobbies may be just the activity we need to enhance our lives.
In Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind I explain how hobbies may help you become more successful. For example, physiology professor Robert Root-Bernstein studied forty male scientists who had been interviewed four times between 1958 and 1978. He found that hobbies that involved visual thinking (imagining), learning from doing rather than just thinking, and art and music were particularly advantageous. When scientists engaged in hobbies of this kind, they were more successful. i.e. They had more citations. Key to their success however, was the fact that they saw their hobbies or dabbling activities as having some purpose. They were working on the same thing from a different angle.
Hobbies may also protect your brain. When ageing researcher T.F. Hughes and her colleagues examined how hobbies impacted peoples’ lives, they found that engaging in hobbies for one or more hour every day may protect against dementia later in life. Another study found that having a hobby may also result in your being more functional when you are older and living longer too. And yet another study found that In patients who are surgically treated with breast cancer, having a hobby can be protective and help people live longer too.
By definition, hobbies bring people pleasure. And when they do, they not only make you feel better, but they improve your physiology too. When psychologist Sarah Pressman and her colleagues examined who pleasurable activities impact our wellbeing, they found that enjoyable leisure activities are associated with lower blood pressure, smaller waist circumference, and a lower body mass index. People also feel better physically and are less likely to be depressed.
Follow the link to Psychology Today to read the rest of the article.
Dr John Forbes
When was the last time you did something for you – just because you like it? Too long? It might be time to think about taking up a hobby! In addition to enjoyment, hobbies have lots of benefits in a surprisingly wide range of areas.
1. Hobbies help you to structure your time. Let’s face it, your time will be filled with something – so why not make it something enjoyable? Hobbies help to make the time you spend worthwhile because you’re almost guaranteed of a positive outcome. Also, you won’t be tempted to do things like answer e-mails and catch up on a bit of work if you have to go to a class or attend a club meeting, for example.
2. Hobbies create something called ‘Flow’. This is something where you lose yourself in whatever you’re doing. Those times when time passes without you noticing because you’re so involved in whatever you’re doing. They’re invigorating, because they are usually caused by what’s called ‘active leisure’, where you’re fully immersed in whatever you’re doing.
3. Hobbies help to create and strengthen social connections. They not only help us to meet people, they help us to meet people with whom we share interests, so we have a good foundation of compatibility. We have people with whom we can share our passion – people who understand our passion. So, we can develop new friendships and increase our overall happiness.
4. Hobbies make you more interesting! They give you something to talk about, and something about yourself to share with other people other than what you do for a living. They give you ‘layers’ because there are more aspects to what you do with your life. They also help to strengthen your self-concept, because you can see yourself as a player, an artist, a photographer, or an actor, for example. They also set a good example for your children, your family, and your friends.
5. Hobbies help you to cope with stress. They help you to unplug from the things that are bothering you, and from the mundane routine of everyday life. They provide a space where the whole point is for you to relax, and you know that it will be beneficial for you.
6. Hobbies spill over into the rest of your life. Your enthusiasm for your hobby can be infectious, and they will probably help you to engage in a wide range of areas in your life.
So, why not try something new, or take up something again that you stopped a while ago? Join a club or an organisation. Take a risk with something you haven’t tried before. You never know, you might just surprise yourself with what you can do.
But – do it now! Don’t wait until you ‘think’ you’re going to have time for it – and especially don’t wait until you retire!
By DR. STEPHANIE SMITH
What do you like to do when you’re not working, taking care of your family or doing other things that have to be done?
It’s a question that I ask folks in my office all the time. Why? Because hobbies, or avocations, are an essential part of overall mental health. Really!
Much of our time and energy is taken up by things we have to do:
take care of children, pets, aging family members
clean the house
keep the yard tidy
manage our stuff in all its forms
eat, sleep, take care of our bodies
Many of these things are enjoyable (hopefully work and family are – at least some of the time!) and provide us with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Both very important things!
But in order to achieve and maintain good mental health, there also needs to be some room for hobbies, or avocations. These are things that don’t have to be done, but are simply pleasurable and meaningful in their own right. For some folks, hobbies are what gives our life meaning.
Hobbies can provide us with opportunities to grow and learn. They can also give us opportunities to challenge ourselves and stretch the boundaries of our comfort zones. Some of these kinds of hobbies might be things like:
Often, hobbies also provide us with opportunities to socialize with other people who are interested in the same quirky things we are. But the cool thing about these relationships are that they are born out of mutual interests not out of obligation.
Stay tuned for ideas about how to pick a hobby that works for you!
By DR. STEPHANIE SMITH
Last week I wrote an article about why hobbies are an important part of overall mental health. Mostly because we all need a break from the “business” of life once in a while. And it’s essential to find things that we enjoy doing “just because” and not because they have to be done (like working, taking care of family, etc).
But what if you don’t have a hobby? Some ideas about where to start:
Think back to your childhood. Were there things you absolutely loved to do? Gymnastics? Drawing? Singing? Playing with toy cars? Remember those days when you had lots of free time. How did you choose to spend it?
Spend a few days really paying attention to the times in your day that bring you pleasure. Is it when you’re making dinner in the evening? Talking to your best friend on the way home from work? Listening to a motivational speaker on a podcast?
Pay attention to the signs/notices/announcements you inevitably come in contact with everyday. Maybe they’re tacked up at the post office, posted on your neighborhood Facebook page, or in the newspaper you read. There are opportunities all around us. Once you start paying attention to them, are there some that seem more interesting than others?
Once you have a few ideas in mind from the things you noticed above, spend a bit of time learning about 2 or 3 of them. What does it really take to learn the guitar? Would developing a knitting hobby be worthwhile if you are allergic to wool? Is picking up golf within your household budget of time and money?
Choose one and go with it. Oftentimes folks who are new to the world of hobbies believe they need to be absolutely passionate about something before they dive into it. Not so! In fact, people often need to try out several avocations before they find one or two that stick. And of course there’s nothing wrong with switching hobbies on a regular basis. That’s the whole point – they are pleasure for pleasure’s sake. So let go of your expectations and just enjoy!
Also see Head to Health
There are many other article to be found on similar subjects.