Our to-do lists are always growing and it seems our days keep getting shorter and shorter, but this year I encourage you to add another “task” to your list. Pick a new hobby.
There are several benefits to having and regularly doing a hobby. While it may seem like you already have too much on your plate, trying out a new hobby can actually help relieve stress and give you a new outlet to express yourself. Most people have a few things that they have always wanted to try, so make this the year you do it.
Here are seven important reasons why you should pick up a new hobby this year:
1. Relieve stress
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. While it may seem like adding another thing to do will stress you out even more, that’s not the case with hobbies. Doing something you enjoy can be a great way to release stress. Your mind can escape the other demands of the day while you focus on the pleasurable task at hand.
2. Promote happiness
Participating in something completely optional and an activity that you enjoy can bring on feelings of happiness. Doing something that you love can also fuel a rush of excitement and joy.
3. Provides a social outlet
Many hobbies will introduce you to new people and allow you to open up your network of friends. Joining a hiking group or a chorus will allow you to meet new people who you automatically have something in common. You may be exposed to new people and friendships that you never would have met otherwise - and that's good for us.
4. Hobbies bring new challenges
Participating in a new activity keeps your mind engaged and lets you work out new challenges. Challenging your mind in new ways helps break up your mundane routine and keeps you mentally stimulated. Since hobbies are fun and optional, the new issues they present aren’t stressful like a work or family challenge might be.
5. Gives a confidence boost
It can be extremely rewarding to be good at things outside of work and the home. Maybe you are good at your job, but never knew you had talents in woodworking or playing tennis. Trying out new things and discovering what else you can do well can boost your self-confidence. There may be things you’re naturally good at and you just haven’t tried them yet.
6. Good for physical health
Not only are hobbies good for your mind, they are also good for your body! Engaging in enjoyable activities has been associated with lowering blood pressure, cortisol levels, and body mass index. Partaking in hobbies is also correlated to higher levels of positive psychosocial states and helping prevent symptoms of depression.
7. Stops burnout
Taking the time to focus on something extracurricular that you enjoy, gives your brain a break and allows you to refocus, once you return to work. Problems that once seemed unsolvable can be more easily managed after taking a step away and coming back with a renewed outlook.
If you already have a new hobby in mind that you want to pick up, then great! However, if you’re stuck on what new hobbies may interest you, just start by trying something new -- take a cooking class, join a tennis club, go for a hike, start a garden, or make a craft project.
Where do you find something? Check out Meetup groups, a local community college or learning exchange, or stores like Lowes, Michaels or JoAnn that offer classes. By dabbling in a few new things you are likely to find yourself lost in one thing or another and before you know it reaping the above benefits.
You can read more advice from Kurt at Guy Stuff Counseling, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.