In today’s go-go-go world, the idea of having a hobby can often feel like an afterthought. Who has time for a hobby? Nowadays, we are just busy, busy, busy. Between work, kids, family, cleaning the house and so on, how can you find the time for anything fun? As a society, we have put a premium on free time, and it’s all too often that we ignore the time to do something for ourselves. Sure, you do not “need” a hobby, but it can definitely improve your life and is one of the best ways to achieve work-life balance. Here are just some of the reasons why having a hobby can help improve your life.
1. Great Stress Reliever
One of the biggest benefits of having a hobby is that it can help you relieve stress. Hobbies, by definition, are an activity that is done for the purpose of pleasure. With that in mind, a hobby should allow you an opportunity to get your mind off your work project, email overload, or any personal troubles.
Adding an activity shouldn’t create more stress. It should take all of your stress away. Imagine a rough day at work where you were late on a project or didn’t meet your goals. Coming home to the television will only provide a brief distraction. Instead, go to a workout class, go fishing, play a sport, or take up an art class. Any of these activities will get you out of the house and keep your mind distracted.
2. Improving Physical Health
Whatever your hobby is, there is a good chance you may see a benefit on the physical side. That doesn’t mean you will see stronger muscles or grow taller. Instead, having a hobby can provide some benefits in the form of reduced blood pressure or body mass index. That’s true even if your hobby isn’t an exercise class.
A 2009 study with 1,400 people indicated that people who found a leisure activity all had at least one of the physical health benefits mentioned above. For some members of the study, they even found that their waist circumference dropped. On top of that, physical depression levels decreased. All of this data points to a clear connection between having a hobby you clearly enjoy and feeling better both mentally and physically.
In the same way a hobby can improve your physical health, you will also find that a hobby can improve your self-confidence. Finding that you are good at something, no matter what hobby you choose, can provide an immediate self-confidence boost.
Perhaps you never thought you could take up sailing, learn to fly a plane or take dance lessons as a hobby. That confidence will then carry over into other aspects of your life providing you with fresh, new energy to get through the days. The bottom line is that you never really know what you are capable of until you try. Once you do and succeed, the sky is the limit.
4. Meet New People
Hobbies are a fantastic way to introduce yourself to an entirely new group of potential friends and acquaintances. Having a hobby that relates to music, sports and the arts is one of the best ways to connect with new people.
Being around like-minded people who all share a mutual passion is a great way to increase your social circle. This new group of friends will not only boost your confidence but also drive you to participate more in your chosen hobby. Countless studies have shown that making a social connection is one of the key components of feeling happy and having a meaningful life. This new level of happiness will undoubtedly creep into other aspects of your life, providing an overall improved sense of self worth.
5. Take a Break
One of the most underappreciated benefits of a hobby is the reminder that you need to take a break. Hobbies offer the opportunity to step away from all of your stresses, worries and fears. Taking a break allows you the opportunity to step away from the computer. Force yourself to take some time just for you. Instead of watching the screen before bed, read a book. It’s incredibly important that your mind can reset each day so you are ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Taking a break and doing something you can enjoy may be exactly what you need to take on the world head-on.
6. Boost Your Career
While it feels a little counterintuitive to think that a hobby can boost your career, the reality is that it is quite possible for a number of reasons.
A hobby can help you learn new skills. What if you decide to learn computer coding on the side and ultimately shift career paths? In a case like this, hobbies can potentially bring you additional income. Some hobbies will help you discover a better work-life balance alleviating unnecessary stress. You are far more likely to be productive when you are not feeling stressed out all the time. CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg believe that hobbies are one of the best ways he can understand the passion and potential of prospective employees.
The benefits of hobbies will really come down to what you enjoy and how much passion you have for them. Hobbies are a chance to show us a whole new world we never thought existed. You can meet new people, travel to new places, learn something new and re-discover your self-confidence. For those reasons alone, taking up a hobby can improve your life in a massive way.