Are you looking to ease stress? Wait — it’s 2020. Do we even need to ask that question?
The next time you need to blast away excess tension, why not turn to your hobbies? It doesn’t matter if you train for marathons or enjoy building boats in bottles. Hobbies can reduce stress and provide other impressive health benefits in the following nine ways.
1. You Keep Your Mind Sharp
One significant cause of worry if you are an aging adult is protecting your brain health. If you had relatives with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, your increased risk of developing a similar condition could cause panic.
Your hobbies can protect your mental clarity. Research on 800 women between the ages of 38 and 54 revealed that those with brain-improving pastimes slashed their risk of dementia, an umbrella term encompassing Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia and the mixed form of the disease.
Those with physically active hobbies like dancing reduced their risk by 56%. Those who participated in high-level mental activities like completing crosswords lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s by 46% and dementia by 34%.
The moral of this story — don’t stress about your chances of developing dementia. Do something to lower your risk by engaging in hobbies.
2. You Escape Troubles Temporarily
Bad news has been inescapable this year. You can barely flip on the evening news without hearing dire reports of COVID-19 deaths, civil unrest and economic strife. By many measures, the current pandemic and the U.S. response have created worse conditions than those that existed during the Great Depression.
Hobbies let you temporarily shut out the world’s worries. Considering how many exist, any relief, no matter how brief, is welcome.
3. You Could Improve Hormonal Health
Stress impacts your hormonal function. It begins by amping up cortisol production, but the human body is an intricately interrelated machine. When one substance falls out of whack, it affects others, including those necessary for reproductive health.
For example, excess cortisol production can increase your production of estrogen and even lead to dominance. Those with estrogen dominance run an elevated risk of hormone-related diseases like breast cancer.
Can a diagnosis of the “Big C” elevate your stress levels further, especially if you lost your health insurance coverage during the pandemic? Does a bear — you know the rest. Please consider turning to hobbies to help regulate your hormonal function.
4. You May Boost Your Immunity
Cortisol is also a potent anti-inflammatory hormone, but when your body produces too much for too long, it becomes desensitized to the effects. As a result, your inflammatory response amps up, causing painful flares in those with autoimmune disorders — and weakening the immune response.
Think of your immune system as a team of firefighters. If they’re busy putting out an arson-created fire, they won’t have any resources left to battle the lightning-fueled wildfire two miles away. When your body’s defenses become similarly taxed through chronic stress and the resulting inflammation, you get sick more often.
5. You Meet New People
Loneliness is a significant cause of distress among countless Americans. According to a recent Cigna Health study, three out of five Americans reported feeling left out, poorly understood and lacking companionship.
Hobbies can help you meet others in your community. Even walking your dog results in countless approaches by strangers who stop to pet his head and exchange pleasant chitchat. If you join a recreational chess club or softball league, you’ll find friends in your teammates.
6. You Keep Your Body Active
With its endorphin-producing properties, physical exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Sadly, many adults don’t get enough movement between work and home demands.
Hobbies help you get your body in motion. You might adopt a frankly active one, such as playing golf or training for a half-marathon. However, even activities like taking an arts and crafts class get you off the couch.
7. You Improve Your Home
Do you grit your teeth every time your SO comes home and the front door creaks like a haunted mansion prop? Getting out the oil can and doing needed maintenance can eliminate that source of stress.
Many folks turn to home improvement as a hobby — the rewards of a job well done are immediate and intensely satisfying. Go ahead and screen in your deck with glass for the winter to create a playroom. You’ll increase your vitamin D intake while blowing off steam.
8. You Create a Secondary Income Stream
Does anything cause more stress than too many bills and too little money? Finding yourself in an insurmountable financial bind has driven more than one person to the bottle — or worse.
Your hobbies might not save your life, but they can produce a secondary income stream. It might take years to build a viable blog solo, but you can rake in residual advertising revenue once you do. If you need cash more quickly, why not sell some of your hand-knitted afghans on Etsy?
9. You Impact the Lives of Others
If you don’t have a hobby, why not make volunteering your pastime? The act of doing kind deeds spurs the release of all kinds of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
If your landlord won’t let you have a cat, why not socialize kitties for a local shelter? Instead of rolling your eyes when yet another organization asks for cash donations, inquire what you can do to help their cause instead of opening your wallet.
Reduce Stress With These 9 Impressive Benefits of Hobbies
Hobbies reduce stress, which, in turn, slashes your risk of multiple disorders that can increase anxiety levels. Furthermore, they empower you to do something meaningful and productive that can further ease tension. Reap these nine impressive benefits by engaging in your favorite pastime today.