The importance of finding a hobby that feeds the soul

| September 14, 2018 | Reply

Guest article by Julie Morris, photo from Pixabay.com

You shouldn’t need an excuse to make the time to do something you enjoy or try something new. However, if you’re looking for justification to pursue that hobby or practice that skill, consider the benefits you’ll reap.

First, you’ll get a break from the daily grind of job and personal demands. Even if it’s something productive — like knitting a sweater or repairing an engine — hobbies allow the mind to focus on one single, enjoyable task.

Second, you’ll challenge your mind. When you learn something new, you embark on a journey to learn, develop, and improve. Research also has shown that people who engage in hobbies or skill-building are at a lower risk of depression and dementia and are generally healthier.

Next, you’ll meet new people. Whether you’re trying something that’s an individual pursuit, it often helps to reach out and network with others who share similar interests, skill sets, and hobbies. Check online groups to connect with others who like to collaborate. Plus, if you’re a newbie with your hobby, you’ll learn and grow even more when you connect with a mentor.

Lastly, research shows that people with hobbies benefit from the stress relief from pursuing a creative outlet. Something you do for the sheer joy and pleasure of the activity gives you an outlet from daily stresses and improves physical health, too.

Not sure where to start? Check out these ideas!

Sports and Fitness

If you like to break a sweat, try jogging, basketball, swimming, weight training, or anything in between. People who exercise regularly experience improved moods and less depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise increases “happy hormones” known as endorphins. Physical activity helps manage and control weight, strengthens and maintains muscles and bones, and increases energy levels, too. It also reduces the risk of chronic disease.

Music

This interactive activity engages both of your brain’s hemispheres. You can learn to play with online lessons, which often offer beginner sessions for free. As your confidence grows, explore opportunities to join the community band or orchestra. Playing music can be intensely personal while still offering a chance to boost your socialization.

Brass, strings, and woodwinds are popular because they improve breath control, strengthen core muscles, increase hand-eye coordination, and relieve stress. You can spend between $200 and over $6,000 for a tuba. The mello cello made famous by Yo Yo Ma will cost between $200 and $1,000 or more. Check out this site for useful buying tips. Living legend Sir James Galway might be one of the greatest flutists ever — if you want to channel his muse, look into learning more about flutes and find one that’s right for you.

Computer Skills

Even if you’re not in a position that demands tech savvy, something cool happens as you develop those skills. Once you learn one part, it’s easier to learn another… and then another. Before long, you can figure out more easily how things work.

Learning to code is a type of problem-solving — at its most basic, you start with a problem that needs solving and you devise the solution, test it, and find and fix the bugs to build a better solution. Tech’s a lot less frustrating when you understand how it works, so learning the basics helps you to decode even more complex problems. You can save money when you can identify problems and find resolutions. And if you’re still working and have tech skills and a certain comfort level working with technology, you enhance how you look to future employers.

Yoga and Meditation

Need a way to counteract life’s stressors? Hoping to shrink your anxiety? Try yoga, which improves balance, flexibility, and strength. Also try meditation, which relieves stress and anxiety and helps sharpen your mind. There are many proven benefits of yoga and meditation.

We live in a task-based society, but even if your plate overflowth, make the time to do something that gives you pleasure, boosts your confidence, mental, and physical health, and most importantly, feeds your soul.

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