Find Your Hobby to Stay Happy and Healthy

Research shows that finding a hobby not only makes you happy, it comes with its own set of health benefits. Practicing something you love helps you manage stress and improves your mood. Learning new skills opens new neural pathways in your brain. Choosing and practicing your hobby lets you exert individuality and independence in your life, which plays a huge role in psychological well-being.

Any activity outside your job done primarily for pleasure qualifies as a hobby. It engages your play mind rather than your work mind. The best ones stretch your limits.

As you search for your new pastime, keep a handful of things in mind to find the best hobby for you.

Start with a list of all the things you’ve wanted to try. Don’t shy away, no matter how out there the idea. You’re not committing to anything yet, just listing all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Your list might include things like writing a book, learning to play the guitar, studying something like history, or rock climbing.

Explore those interests. Surf the Internet, read books on the subject, talk to friends, and try them out. Pay attention to the way each makes you feel. Rock climbing might seem like just the thing to take your breath away, but the realities may not appeal to you. At this point, you’ve made a minimum investment and can move on to something else.

Set aside regular time to practice your hobby. This time is for you, and regular participation makes it even more satisfying. Maybe you don’t have the time to train for the Boston Marathon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jog a few days a week. If it does, try something else on your list.

Remain open to change. Maybe you don’t have the time or interest to develop the skills necessary to become the lead guitarist in a rock ‘n’ roll band, and that fact ruins it for you. Or maybe you decide that learning to draw appeals to you more and better fits your lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to switch. You can always come back to the guitar later.

Always stay curious. Constantly trying and learning new things, within a hobby or during a new one, keeps your brain active and pliable and keeps you mentally sharp.

[1] 4 Ways to Find a Hobby,