5 Hobbies for a Mental Health Boost

Hobbies are important and it is not just because they fill free time. Finding a pastime you love can help you recover from traumas such as addiction, sexual abuse and abandonment. And many come with the added benefit of providing physical activity, which is also good for the mind. Keep reading for the top six hobbies that will enhance your mental health.

1. Crafts

This is a broad category that covers everything from making jewelry to building furniture. Making something with your bare hands is a great way to re-motivate yourself when you hit a flat spot emotionally. In fact, research has shown that engaging in arts and crafts can help with overwhelming stress, a lack of self-confidence, and feelings of depression. There’s also a social aspect, as well; when done in a group setting, arts and crafts can help you build lasting friendships with people who share your passion. Contact your local craft store to find out what classes they have available — many even offer sessions for private groups so don’t be afraid to grab a friend or five, just don’t forget to pack your glue gun.

2. Photography

Photography is a multi-purpose hobby that can help you document the positive aspects of your life. This is important if you’ve suffered abuse of any kind. Photography is proven to increase overall feelings of well-being and reduce depression and anxiety. You don’t have to have expensive equipment; you can get the same sense of satisfaction from a quality smartphone or durable point and shoot.

3. Gardening

When you were a kid, you likely spent countless hours picking flowers, collecting rocks and fossils, and simply digging in the dirt. Gardening is the adult version of these activities and may even introduce you to specific microbes found in soil that can boost your mood. Gardening Know How explains that mycobacterium vaccae can mimic the effects of Prozac and has been extensively studied in quality-of-life tests in cancer patients.

4. Playing music

Music is a double-your-pleasure hobby that can be enjoyed from either end of the playing and listening spectrum. Music is essentially a form of self-therapy that can reduce muscle tension, increase your motivation and provide a safe and effective emotional release. The American Music Therapy Association offers more than a dozen white papers and studies that support the benefits of music for people with mental health disorders, chronic pain, special education needs and cognitive disorders.

5. Hiking

Hiking is one of those activities you can enjoy regardless of your physical health or abilities. There are many paved paths scattered throughout the United States that can give you a glimpse of the wonder of nature without having to don a pair of hiking boots. The National Geographic recently published an article outlining the benefits of nature on the human brain. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by finding a hiking partner and choosing a route that suits you. If you want to take your hiking trips a step farther, you can try out some more difficult trails and go camping as well. For these trips, you will need a quality pair of boots, sturdy tent for sleeping, and possibly a canopy tent to shield you from the wind, rain, and bugs.

After everything you’ve been through, you deserve some enjoyment in your life. These and many other hobbies will offer you benefits beyond the product of your crafting or music session. They can help you center your emotions and reclaim the parts of you that were lost to abuse, addiction or trauma.

After everything you’ve been through, you deserve some enjoyment in your life. These and many other hobbies will offer you benefits beyond the product of your crafting or music session. They can help you center your emotions and reclaim the parts of you that were lost to abuse, addiction or trauma.

Hobbies are not a standalone treatment for mental health conditions; always consult with your mental health provider before attempting any alternative treatment method.

-Cheryl Conklin

wellnesscentral.info

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