Are you spending an inordinate amount of time online looking up your ex-boyfriends’ Facebook Pages? Have you been watching the first three seasons of Game of Thrones consecutively since Christmas Eve? Maybe you have spent the last few days perfecting your “Candy Crush” strategies or following “Pokemon Go.” If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions it may be a sign that you need a hobby. Even if you are not artistically inclined, having a hobby is not necessarily a means to an end, but rather an end in and of itself. There are a lot of benefits to be had by just developing a hobby, and here are just a few.
Clear Your Thoughts
Betsan Corkhill, knitting therapist has found that the rhythmic motion of knitting can induce a meditative state. “If you chose a difficult product,” she says, “you’re concentrating so deeply that your mind doesn’t have time to think of anything else. That gives the mind a break. If you knit a very easy project, you can go into a state where your mind is free to roam.” Women’s health and success coach, Jennifer Racioppi explains that hobbies “help us enter flow states.” Flow states are states of mind which merge awareness and action and help you to focus on what you are doing. If you have ever found time has passed quickly without you being aware of it, you are familiar with flow state.
Intrinsical motivation is the scientific term for the time when the mind is concentrating on something it likes. Such thinking has been linked to creative thinking. Says Racioppi, “If I’m working on a problem, I’m highly creative when I’m in flow. It’s in the process of not thinking about it when I get solutions.”
Social opportunities that arise form hobbies can cause less anxiety. If you’re in a club, you can chose to participate or disengage. Corkhill says, “You’re in complete control of the situation and of how much you participate. So that makes it much easier for some people to attend a social group.”
Hobbies give the mind something positive to focus on when life is stressful. Because the brain has a limited capacity, loading it with pleasurable activities leaves no room for stress. “The more capacity you’re using up being totally absorbed in a task, the less capacity there is left to focus any attention on problems, ” Corkhill explains, “Distraction is one of the most powerful analgesics we know of.”
In these days of technology overload. we need to give it a break by focusing on one task. Racioppi says, ” We want to use the brain in a way that is generative. When you do so, you create and strengthen neural pathways. That has a ton of health benefits in the long term.”
So what’s your hobby? How do you get in touch with your inner creativity. Let us know. It might inspire someone else.