Why are hobbies so important for our overall health and well-being?
The reason why immersing ourselves in the things we enjoy (hobbies) is important is because they bring us a sense of fun and enrichment to our lives. Having hobbies means we can use our spare time in an enjoyable and productive manner. They can also help us escape from the stresses and strains of modern life more than we might think.
It’s also really important that we do something in our lives just for the sake of enjoyment, with no other hidden agenda attached to it. When there is always some other agenda in our minds whilst doing a hobby, it suddenly becomes much less enjoyable and feels more like a strain or a chore. This obviously defeats the purpose of having hobbies.
I recently came to a big realisation that I was missing this in my own life. I always have some sort of purpose tied in to what I’m doing. I normally always research the benefits of the activity before I would start doing something. I get that we are all benefit driven creatures who have purposes. This is obviously important to living a good life. But I wasn’t making any time for anything that I naturally wanted to do anymore. You know, just for enjoyments sake. So I started to re-introduce fiction books to my life. As a child I loved reading Stephen King, in fact I was pretty much obsessed with his books, especially IT. So I’ve re-purchased some of his books again and am reading them alongside my non-fiction pile. Oh the nostalgia!
Whereas before I was just reading non-fiction, specifically personal development. And whilst reading these books are fun, they don’t bring about the same sense of pleasure and enjoyment because there is still some other agenda attached to it. The agenda of self-improvement. I wanted to do something without having the need to improve. There has to be a balance in our lives to achieve overall satisfaction. When I compare my mindset to reading fiction and non-fiction, there definitely is a difference, if only slight.
When I’m reading fiction, I feel more at ease and a sort of playful energy pops up. This is because I’m allowing my mind/imagination to play around with the words on the page. When I’m reading non-fiction, I’m searching for that piece of information which is going to help me. It’s a different mindset. I’m in seeking mode. Seeking for that piece of information which I can share with other people to improve their life experience, and of course mine.
If we don’t currently have a hobby then it’s not a problem because there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of websites all talking about different ideas for hobbies. Some requiring money, lot’s are free and can be done from the comfort of our own homes.
The truth is we can’t force ourselves to do something we can’t enjoy. It just doesn’t work. There really is no point in doing something just for the sake of it if we really don’t want to do it. We only live once so it’s best to really do the stuff we enjoy and minimise the stuff we don’t enjoy. In other words, my advice here is to try something which you naturally feel a pull to. However, unless we try new things, we will never know if we like something or not. So always be trying out and learning new things. You might just find something that lights up your world and makes you feel more like “YOU”.
One of the main benefits to having a hobby is it allows us to escape from our minds. When we are focusing on what we’re thinking or on how we’re feeling, we are burying ourselves deeper and deeper into the minds complexity and problems. We cannot deal with negative thoughts and feelings by focusing on them. This obviously makes us more stressed and miserable.
The way to deal with them is to focus our attention away from our thoughts and feelings and onto something that grabs our attention. Something we find really interesting and enjoyable. When we take our attention away from the mind and stop getting caught up in our contaminated thinking and feelings, it will self-correct and find it’s own way back to balance. It’s like a mental immune system.
It works exactly the same way as our physical immune system. Dwelling on our minds activity, trying to reason with or change our thinking and feelings is like picking at a scab of a wounded thumb. When we stop picking at it, we allow it to heal on it’s own accord, with, of course, the passage of time. This is why hobbies come to play a massive part in the healing process of our emotional disharmony. Basically we are stopping ourselves from getting in our own way when we’re actively immersed in hobbies.
So having a hobby or as many as we like can serve as a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Another benefit we get from having hobbies is that they allow us to replace bad habits without much effort. The truth which I have learnt is that we cannot replace a bad habit by trying to avoid it because we just don’t work that way. What happens is we deprive ourselves of something and so this keeps in place this depriving mentality. Which of course we naturally rebel against and give in to the temptation of the bad habit.
For example, telling ourselves that we are not going to eat anymore chocolate bars from now on because we’re starting to feel a little bit unhealthy. So we pluck up all of that courage and will-power. We feel excited that we’re no longer going to eat any more unhealthy chocolate bars, but reality hit’s our faces and we fall back into our old habits.
For sure, it may work for a few days but before long we are torturing ourselves because we really want a chocolate bar and we’re depriving ourselves of it. As I mentioned a minute ago, deprivation isn’t a solid strategy when it comes to stopping bad habits. The reason for us falling back into old habits? We haven’t replaced that craving with anything else. The way we actually delete bad habits is to replace them with good habits. And hobbies can serve as that replacement. There’s more chance of falling back into old routines and habits by having lot’s of time to think. So by using our time wisely, doing the things we enjoy doing and which are also classed as healthy habits, we can replace old, negative habits.
Hobbies can help us defeat boredom
Another benefit which is really obvious is that hobbies can prevent us from becoming bored. When we fill our spare time with the activities we enjoy doing, then how can we possibly get bored? And, if we get bored with an activity, for whatever reason, the little process of searching for a new hobby in itself can help us tackle boredom. So it’s safe to say that having hobbies and searching for new ones is a must for when it comes to defeating boredom.
The alternative to not engaging in the things we love doing outside of work and chore time is of course being bored. Having too much mind space leads to boredom. It also can lead to creating problems that don’t even exist in reality. Just flicking through the TV channels or scrolling through our social media feeds isn’t going to satisfy our boredom. In fact doing this will actually leave us feeling more unsatisfied and frustrated. Why? Well because it’s not enough. And it’s not something we naturally enjoy doing when we really think about it, is it?
Our minds are always looking for something to chew on, so if we are not engaging in anything that is intellectually delicious for our minds, it will become bored. And what a bored mind does then is create problems out of thin air. At least then it’s still doing something. But we can avoid this predicament we often find ourselves in by immersing our consciousness in stimulating and enjoyable activities.
Here are some other helpful articles discussing the importance of hobbies:
Where I got the information from