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Seven Ways Hobbies Can Improve Your Life and Wellbeing

By Brian Acton

Hobbies come in many different forms. They demand different levels of physical or mental exertion, they may be solitary or social, and some are easier to pick up than others. But all great hobbies give you more than just a way to pass the time and can provide a wide range of benefits to you. Here are seven ways hobbies can improve your life.
  1. Physical Fitness
Hobbies that require physical activity can contribute to your overall physical fitness and improve your strength, endurance, and overall health. But you don’t have to lift heavy weights or train for a marathon to boost your fitness. Any hobby that requires physical activity - such as gardening, hiking, or shooting pool - can convey health benefits, especially if the alternative is sitting on the couch.
  1. Stress Reduction
Hobbies are a great outlet for stress relief. They allow you to lose yourself in an activity and recover from a stressful day. They also give you something to look forward to during times of stress. Having an outlet for stress relief can help you avoid burnout, boost your mood, and promote psychological wellbeing.
  1. Social Connections
Some hobbies, like group sports, are naturally social and require you to interact with others. They can help you meet new friends that share similar interests. But even solitary hobbies like stamp collecting can help you make social connections if you seek out in-person or online communities dedicated to your hobby of choice. Many studies show the positive impact of an active social life on physical and psychological health. The connections you make with your fellow hobbyists can lead to lifelong friendships and boost your overall wellbeing.
  1. New Challenges
Learning a hobby often requires you to develop new skills. You may have to break with routine and challenge yourself in new ways that are entirely different from work or family challenges. These new challenges can help you make mental connections, think about problems differently, or get outside your comfort zone. No matter the scenario, new challenges can help you grow as a person.
  1. Enhanced Self-Esteem
Simply put, it feels empowering to master a new skill (or even become proficient at one). While learning a new hobby takes time, it can pay off with increased confidence and self esteem.
  1. Improved Work Performance
The new skills you’re learning could also help you get better at your job. While confidence and low stress can certainly help your job performance, learning a new skill could also help you identify a new approach to a work problem or apply your newfound skills to a work task. You may even find a hobby you want to turn into a career.
  1. Fun
If you spend all your time working and running from errand to errand, you may end up overly stressed or burned out. Hobbies provide a break from tedious obligations, giving you a chance to have fun and enjoy yourself.   Sources: https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-benefits-of-stress-management/ https://www.nia.nih.gov/about/living-long-well-21st-century-strategic-directions-research-aging/research-suggests-positive http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/jobs/02career.html
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