Can hobbies break depression?

In this brief article, we will look at the different hobbies that help to break depression. We will also be looking at how hobbies are helpful to people with mental disorders. 

List of hobbies that help to break depression

Hobbies are mere activities that a person is interested in for pastime and recreational purposes. Apart from his daily chores needed for his survival, an individual’s hobbies are based on his free will, therefore soothing the stress out. A person chooses his own hobby based on his likings. Some enjoy reading whilst some enjoy a small walk in nature. 

Can hobbies break depression?

Even though it may not be easy to do so, given that a person dealing with depression has difficulty getting out of the bed, various research studies and clinical trials conclude that having a hobby can definitely improve the situation.

Here is a list of a few important hobbies that can help an individual deal with depression. 

  • Exercising: with keeping our physical self in check, any sort of physical activity can help us with our mental health too. Exercising releases the happy hormones that trigger positive feelings. 
  • Spending time caring for other living creatures: invest your time in taking care of slappings, or pets. Volunteer to babysit your neighbours pets or babies. This might help you stay on the foot. In addition, the affectionate bond shared adds meaning to your life. 
  • Cooking: for those who love cooking, it can be the best way to fight your demons. Apart from the feeling that you are pampering yourself, it also ensures that you eat healthy food, a must need at the times of difficulty. In addition, baking is also known to be therapeutic. The smell of a baked cookie or the whipping of the cream is considered to be soothing. 
  • Writing: all you have to do is grab a pen and paper, and write down what you feel. Journaling is similar to sharing your feelings with someone .The only difference here is you share it with a piece of paper. Research shows that writing what you feel about, can remove the heaviness from your chest. In addition to journaling your feelings regularly, you can also write short stories, poems etc . 
  • Reading : Just like writing, reading can be therapeutic. Reading different books of different genres helps us gain knowledge. Knowledge is a vast ocean. One can never have enough knowledge. Reading helps us with understanding different cultures, values and history. The knowledge makes an individual feel more worthy of themselves 
  • Gardening: the closer you are to nature, the better you feel. Research has shown that dirtying your hands with soil helps  you release serotonin. Hence one can plant various seeds, water them regularly and take care of these slappings like their own baby, it gives a sense of responsibility. Gardening can be the best pastime. 
  • Photography: grabbing your camera and going outdoors to capture the beauty makes one look at things from different perspectives. One understands the liking of the self and others. Photography makes you find beauty in the smallest of smallest things. For example, a broken pot, a caterpillar coming out of the cocoon, the setting of the sun, an isolated door,etc. It helps you add the missing beauty in your life. 
  • Music: music is known to relax and reduce our stress. Apart from listening to your playlist, take a stepforward a learn a musical instrument. It was seen that learning a new instrument like a piano or violin was considered soothing and took people’s mind from their endless to-do list. People were also filled with a sense of achievement after mastering a new skill. Piano is known to be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of depression and improving the overall quality of life. 
  • Art Therapy: Creative activities like drawing, painting, sketching etc are seen to be the most useful. Playing with colors no matter what your personality. It is a great way of releasing and processing emotions one couldn’t possibly have put into words. At other times it was a source of mental and emotional rest. 
  • Knitting: Knitting, for instance, can also help reduce depression and anxiety. Research from Harvard School has shown that  the repetitive movements of knitting released the chemical serotonin, which is calming and lifts mood.
  • Praying: Faith is seen to significantly improve treatment for people suffering from mental health problems. Having a strong belief adds a purpose in your life. Researchers found that those who believed in God were more likely to respond to treatment. 

 Can Hobbies help to break depression? 

Yes, most certainly hobbies can be used to fight depression. Depression is the most common mental disorder prevalent in the world. According to the World Health Organisation Globally, more than 264 million people across all age groups suffer from depression. Depression turns the patient into a mere lump of muscles and bones. It takes away the will to perform any activities. The most vital criterion for the diagnosis of depression is anhedonia. Anhedonia refers to the inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities. 

Hence, hobbies can be a source of joy and liveliness for people suffering from depression. On days when a person has no will to pull himself out of the bed, a hobby can motivate and add a few hours of enjoyment making the day a lot more bearable. Research from University College London suggests that taking up a hobby can safeguard us from depression. The research further showed that those who did not have depression and a hobby, when took up a hobby, had 32% fewer chances to develop the symptoms of depression. 

What are the mental health benefits of having a hobby? 

Psychologist Meredith fuller rightly says that hobbies give us  a break from our entrenched everyday roles such as parenting. They help us discover a novel part of ourselves which uses different skill sets and give us a new identity. Hobbies make us realise that failure is a part and parcel of life, and push us towards improvement  and feeling good about ourselves. 

A study in New Zealand suggested that there is an upward spiral for wellbeing and creativity. This means that people engaging in creative activities like painting, songwriting, sketching etc show an improved wellbeing. This increase in wellbeing is likely to  facilitate creative activity. 

Hobbies are often associated with people who lead a relaxed life. Nevertheless, people leading a busy scheduled life predominantly require hobbies, here are a few benefits of having a hobby. 

  • Health benefits of having a hobby: Research has found that people engaging in activities during their leisure time  are less susceptible to fatigue. Further having a hobby is directly proportional to lower blood pressure, total cortisol release, body mass index and better physical functioning. These activities are also correlated with higher levels of psychological states and lower levels of depression. 
  • A nice  break from our busy lives: Hobbies benefit us with a work and responsibility free time in our schedules. People overwhelmed with work and responsibility find it difficult to take a break, can use the hobbies as a purposeful interval rather than just sitting and relaxing. Hobbies free us from the chronic stress caused by our everyday jobs and roles, Hobbies prevent us from burning out and keep up our performance throughout. 
  • Hobbies as the source of Eustress: Eustress refers to the healthy kind of stress, that makes us excited about the upcoming life. Suppose your life is idle and not drawn with a sense of energy , a hobby can help you find that energy. Hobbies are fun and break up the boringness of your life, challenging you with novel conditions. 
  • Increase Social Support: Quite a few hobbies are usually group hobbies. One can always invite their friends and families with them while doing activities such as pottery, painting, or can join groups such as poetry writing groups. Hobbies increase our social support which inturn comes with various benefits like stress relief, meaning to life etc. 
  • Receive Gratifications: Hobbies are the best sources to receive gratification. Gratifications are a kind of challenge that ask us to bring out the best personal skill and engage in a sense of flow where one can lose the track of time and happening in the world. This leads to reduced stress and a great sense of well being. .  

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

How to find the right hobby for you? 

  • Hobbies keep you engaged in something deeply, forgetting your daily concerns, and reducing stress. Hobbies keep us active and avoid us from becoming lazy and watching TV the whole day. 
  • Transform your interests into hobbies. Even though you do not have a hobby, you surely might enjoy certain activities. Walk past a crafts/book store. Pick up the things that you are naturally drawn to. Enroll in workshops and classes for the activities with a friend or family member. Channelize your energy into learning new things. 
  • To find a hobby that challenges you, look for something that you have less knowledge about. For example, if you are good at drawing and painting, try learning a new language or read classics. 
  • Regain your childhood interests. Think of all the activities that you wanted to do when young, but were unable to due to lack of time. for instance, if you wanted to learn an instrument or go backpacking to the Himalayas. Take the opportunity and fulfill your desires. Call a friend and join a class or book tickets to your destination.  
  • Take an assessment. One can also take various personality tests to understand their interests and likings. By doing so, you pick the right hobby for you avoiding the risk of dreading it later. Various personality tests like Strong Interest Inventory or Myers Briggs Personality Inventory can help you understand your personality type. 
  • Take the chance of trying new things without the fear of failure. Try different things, some of your interests, some being a challenge, and see what sticks around. Continue with the activities in which you have a 50% chance of succeeding. 

“Hobbies give you a sense of mastery, you’re developing new skills, new thought processes and really challenging yourself to learn something new and develop your skill set,” says Dr. Kevin Eschleman, an assistant psychology professor at San Francisco State University

Conclusion 

In this brief article, we have looked at different hobbies that help a person to cope with depression, in addition to how hobbies are helpful to people with mental disorders. 

FAQs: Hobbies to combat Depression 

Are hobbies a waste of time? 

Certainly not. Even though hobbies might not fetch us a living most of the time, it is a vital part of our life. Hobbies help us with taking a break from our busy schedule and avoid burnout. While engaging in any hobby, we do not feel productive, this leads us to think that we are wasting our time. On the contrary, hobbies have a positive impact on our work efficiency, which we may not understand directly. It is seen that people who take part in activities outside work have improved work performance, lower blood pressure, lower levels of depression and stress, and an overall better physical and psychological functioning

Who is most likely to suffer from depression? 

Black Hispanic Americans falling between the ages of 45 and 65 are more prone to depression it is also seen that people with lower education and lower earnings and less insurance coverage, belonging to a lower socioeconomic status are more likely to suffer from depression. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also mention that those who were married and divorced are at a greater risk of depression. Finally, family history plays an important role. Therefore, if a close relative is prone to depression, there are greater chances that you too are prone to it. 

How can a hobby improve a person’s self-esteem?

Hobbies improve a person’s self-esteem. In times of unproductivity, engaging in a hobby and moving forward with it helps us achieve a sense of accomplishment, increasing our confidence and making us feel better about ourselves. For instance, during the initial lockdown stages, people sitting ideally, all over the world, begun to engage in hobbies such as baking, reading books, painting, etc. the mere thought that you have read a certain amount of books in the period of 2 months, makes you feel good about yourself. Hence hobbies are a significant source to improve self-esteem. 

Are hobbies useful to deal with stress? 

By all means, hobbies are a great stress buster. Hobbies come with a sense of free will and enjoyment that can help reduce chronic stress. After a stressful job from 9 to 5, a person looks forward to getting home and taking up his hobbies as simple as listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk in nature, or exercising. All of these reduce the cortisol level in turn reducing stress because the person enjoys these activities. 

Do hobbies make you happier? 

A confident man is a happy man. Having hobbies as we know increases our self-esteem and reduces stress. It further also has an overall impact on improving the person’s psychological and physical well being. It is most certain that engaging in activities that you love in your leisure time be it as small as knitting or backpacking can surely make a person happier, 

References

https://www.hcf.com.au/health-agenda/work-life/play/how-to-find-a-hobby-that-can-help-you-be-happy

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-importance-of-hobbies-for-stress-relief-3144574

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