Pursuing A Hobby Can Improve Your Mental Health

According to the National Institute of Mental Health 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition that is over 40 million American adults. And, whilst healthcare reforms have reduced the number of uninsured adults there are still significant numbers of people not receiving any care.

A study by the American Psychology Association that reported that primary care doctors identify less than one-third of patients suffering from depression. And, figures for other mental health issues read similarly. While the aim is to ensure that access to the appropriate mental health professional is available to everyone who requires it, there are other ways that mental health issues can be managed. Being able to share your own personal experiences as part of a support group can deliver many benefits such as motivation and self-discovery. There is evidence that taking up a hobby or leisure activity can also deliver benefits. And it is this aspect that this article will focus on.

What benefits can be gained from a hobby

When it comes to controlling mental health issues the importance of having a hobby or leisure activity can often be overlooked. There are plenty of professional and academic studies that support the health and well-being benefits gained from hobbies and activities.

In particular pursuit of a hobby or activity can help an individual by reducing stress; help to improve mood and especially effective in managing mood swings; certain activities will promote and encourage socialization that can help combat loneliness; it can help improve memory; and, helps to reduce depression especially if you pursue a hobby or activity that make you extremely happy.

Even if you are undergoing treatment or taking medication undertaking any form of hobby or leisure activity can help lift the spirits and contribute positively to your overall health and well-being.

What hobbies or activities can help

For most people, the pursuit of a hobby or leisure activity are an essential component of the daily routine, but as well as being enjoyable it also contributes immensely to our general mental health well-being. Everyone will have their own pleasures and things that inspire them, but here are a couple of examples of things to consider.

Reading can help improve memory and language but it is also linked with reduction of stress and increased levels of empathy. Sewing, as a beginner it takes a little time to master the basics and it is worthwhile investing in a good quality starter machine but it does provide you with a sense of pride in achievement and an escape from sensory overloads like TV and technology. It also provides a helpful coping strategy by giving you a structured project that you can accomplish in your own time.

Puzzles provide a focus and medical professionals agree that they help reduce stress and anxiety. These can be anything from jigsaws, crosswords, Sudoku or any number of other brain teasers. And today, anyone with a phone can access hundreds of different puzzles and take 5 minutes out of our busy lives to relax.

As life becomes more and more hectic and demanding the number of people with mental health issues is likely to increase. While therapies and medications may help improve the lives of many, taking time out to pursue a favorite hobby or leisure activity can bring significant benefits, regardless of what you choose to do.


Photo by Dinh Pham on Unsplash