Children spend every free moment playing. They try out things and activities they find interesting without the fear of being judged or laughed at. What they get out of it is pure enjoyment, even when it doesn’t turn out the way they initially might have intended.
This is what we miss when we grow older – doing things just for sheer pleasure, without expecting some reward or obsessing over a perfect outcome. Our minds are constantly in the ‘work’ mode, where we do things for a particular “productive” reason, so we often forget how beneficial it is to sometimes do something just because we enjoy it. And this is where hobbies come in.
Reduce stress levels
Our lives can be hectic and full of stress – deadlines, noise pollution, unexpected situations, confrontations. All this stress can contribute to health issues in the long run, so finding a bit of time each day to spend in silence is essential. Besides calming your busy mind by removing all external interferences, including a hobby weekly can also be of great help to reduce the built-up stress.
Whether you enjoy drawing or quilting, the trick is to relax and find enjoyment in the process, regardless of what the result may be. Even passive hobbies, such as listening to music, can be quite beneficial – 30 minutes of listening to music each day can lower your blood pressure.
When it comes to active hobbies, studies have shown that outdoor activities can improve your mood and the general wellbeing, so unless you live in Sweden and you have forests galore, walk to the nearest park, sit on the bench and enjoy the moment.
Motivate personal development
The more you practice something, the more confident you will feel in performing that activity. The sense of achievement and pride that a successful hobby project brings you can change the perspective you have on your skills and even your career choices. Although hobbies, in their core, are a side-activity, if you become good at it, why not pursue it as a profession?
And don’t tremble at the thought of starting a business in the face of competition, even if you live in a country with a developed startup market, such as Australia, for example. Many have done it, and so can you! Not to mention that in a developed market, everything is simplified, so all you need to successfully register a business in Australia is internet access and 15 minutes of your time. There is nothing that could stop you, and, when you think about it, what could be better than doing something you love and making money from it?
You might not think of yourself as a creative person, and you might believe that the highlight of your artistic thought is when you match the colors of your outfit. Your painting of colorful tulips might not be as majestic as Monet’s tulip fields in Holland, but the aim is not to be as somebody else but to learn something new and have fun in the process.
If you approach it with a laid-back attitude, you will soon find yourself achieving much more than you thought you could. You might discover that you have an aptitude for writing poetry or that you have learned more about brewing beer than you would like to admit to your parents. Also, you might get a new creative skill which will make your resume more appealing.
Increase social skills
A typical introvert dreads the idea of spending time with a group of people, especially those that they don’t know. However, we are aware that in most job positions, you will need to interact with different people so toughening up a bit in that regard can be beneficial for more than one reason. You might soon find yourself looking forward to the next dance lesson.
If you are not ready for being close and personal with a dance partner, you might start by applying to be a mentor to somebody as the first step to resolving your social anxiety. Also, a game of paintball with your office colleagues might not be a bad idea since the role of an individual is as important as being a team player, so this could bring you one step closer to feeling more relaxed in group activities.
Unfortunately, many people believe that hobbies are a waste of time, and what’s worse, they teach their children that same philosophy. Although playing is vital in every child’s physical and cognitive development, parents tend to urge their school-age children to pursue activities they are not interested in because they believe that playing is redundant once they start school.
Although it might be a challenge, find that child in you, the one which is sleeping under a pile of obligations, exams, mortgage, divorce or some trauma. Wake it up and try to discover what it was that gave you pure enjoyment when you were a kid or if there was anything that you dreamt of doing but never had an opportunity to. When you learn what it is, embrace it no matter how many mistakes you might make because, with hobbies, it’s about the journey and not the destination.