How Hobbies Can Boost Your Mental Health and Help Fight Depression ~ click here to comment July 17, 2017 00:00

Guest post by Maria Cannon

Happy #TCJMonday Everyone! 

TCJ intro: There has been a lot of buzz lately about how knitting, hobbies and crafting help with depression and the positive benefits creating has on the brain for all ages.  I am a big believer in knitting/crafting as a form of meditative therapy to help manage everyday stresses, big and small and to increase concentration and build community.  In this day in age of electronics and mass amounts of information constantly bombarding us, it is important to take a minute to knit, crochet, craft or just create something handmade. 

Please welcome Maria as she gives us some great informative tips about why crafting is so great and how we can incorporate it into our lives:

If you're battling depression, anxiety, or simply not feeling like yourself and need a general mental health boost, there are a variety of remedies you may be prescribed. Among these, one of the best ways to improve your overall mental wellness without any sort of side effects is taking up a hobby, or immersing yourself further in something you love to do.

Hobbies provide a distraction

Whether you're fighting depression, on a recovery path from alcohol or drug addiction, or simply wish to rid yourself of bad habits, having a hobby provides a crucial distraction.

When you're depressed your energy levels can drop drastically, but the last thing you want to do when feeling down is to keep yourself from getting up. It's a physiological fact that activity fights depression, notes PsychAlive.org.

Hobbies are a top tier stress-buster

You don't need science to tell you that spending some time doing something you're interested in is a great way to reduce the stress of everyday life. Whether it's knitting, gardening, golf, or cooking - performing a hobby is a top-tier way to bust stress.

After three days, the researchers found that people who engaged in leisure activities were 34 percent less stressed and 18 percent less sad during the activities. Not only did they report feeling happier, but their heart rates were lower and the calming effect lasted for hours, says Shape magazine.

Hobbies get our brains working

Idle minds are unhealthy minds, and having a hobby is a good way to get your brain working.

Personal pursuits spark and satisfy our curiosity, get creative juices flowing, and exercise our problem-solving skills. This is why people who enjoy hobbies have a lower risk for dementia and depression, notes PsyWeb.com.

Hobbies provide a safe outlet

People need to dispel their energy somewhere, and without safe, productive hobbies, that energy can be expelled in unhealthy ways. Safety is one of the main reasons why having a hobby helps people with mental health issues. Of course, that emphasis on safety must extend to the actual logistics of the hobby itself. If your hobby is woodworking, for instance, it's vital that you focus on proper safety techniques when using the various equipment necessary for your hobby. Even knitting has some things to consider.

Whatever your hobby, it's going to be of great benefit to your overall mental health as long as it's a healthy one. By providing a distraction, giving you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and giving you a safe outlet to manage life's stressors, hobbies are a vital tool in the battle against mental health issues, mental fatigue, and boredom.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

About the Author

Maria Cannon.  Photo below is Holly, the beloved Dachshund.

Holly

Quilting is my favorite pastime, but it's much more than that, too. As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, I've also found that having a hobby, like quilting, can be the perfect prescription for boosting mental health, not to mention that it challenges the brain.

In general, no matter how old you are, hobbies can reduce stress, improve mood, offer feelings of accomplishment, and provide opportunities for socializing. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes the benefits of hobbies, so I have started looking for more resources and information to share with people of all ages. I created Hobby Jr as an outlet to share my found information including useful links, resources and articles about how to get started.