5 Psychological Benefits To Investing In Your Hobbies

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s certainly the enjoyment of hobbies. Between finding peace in baking banana bread, reinvigorating a lost love of art that was pushed aside during the regular school season or aiming for self-betterment through yoga, people around the world have used this period of confinement to explore personal side projects they had previously neglected. However, now, with the world slowly returning to its ‘non-stop productivity’ mindset, more and more of the same people who found joy in their pastimes are abandoning them with the false impression that hobbies stifle efficiency. In an attempt to set straight this self-sabotaging ideology, I’ve gathered 5 critical reasons why everyone should bring these interests into 2021 with them.

1. Time Management: This may seem a little counterintuitive but adding a hobby to your already busy schedule will actually strengthen your ability to appropriately structure your time. Have you ever paid attention to how you spend your time during planned days off in contrast to spontaneous ones? If so you may have noticed that when you schedule ahead to take time off your work, that time is spent more efficiently and enjoyably. Meanwhile, when the decision to take a break is made seconds prior, the break tends to be much longer and still not refresh you the way you need it to because it’s spent languidly and passively. Hobbies promote active leisure. Active leisure can be described as an activity that acts as an interval of interruption from usual demanding work periods while still continuously engaging your brain or body. These periods of active leisure that come from participating in hobbies like journaling or even sports are the secret ingredient to successful time management as they ensure less time is necessary for breaks to unwind. This is because they provide maximum relaxation and endorphin rushes in stricter time restraints.

2. Confidence: An additional incentive to pursue personal past-times is the eventual increase in confidence levels. The progression of seeing a project you’ve worked on regularly for a long period of time causes your brain to associate that same advancement with your skill development. As such, seeing yourself constantly improve and push your limits bring upon self-esteem growth as you triumphantly accomplish new achievements. With every further success after the initial learning curve, each session of partaking in the hobby results in an inherent sense of pride. This advantage is also linked indirectly to building new connections with people. As a result of gaining gratification from each step in the journey of a blossoming hobby, this newfound confidence will further enhance your social aptitude. For some, confidence can lead to having courage to take the initiative and start up conversation with strangers. For others, confidence can create balance and prosper a healthier and more supportive friendship.

3. Stress: Hobbies improve mental health in two significant ways: relieving stress and boosting confidence. Firstly, for many people who struggle to take sufficient breaks because they feel as though whenever they do it’s wasting time, investing in a hobby is an incredible alternative. Not only does it guarantee that you don’t get completely burnt out form the labour intensive task you spend most of your day working on, but continuously performing the same task and visibly making progress on the project more easily convinces your brain that time was used to the greatest effectiveness. Additionally, enjoying a few hours of a tangibly engaging activity refocuses the mind on heartening topics and promotes chemical changes that reduce stress in the body. By seeking pleasure in a familiar task completely unrelated to work, chores or responsibilities, you create a reliable safe space for yourself that can be used as an outlet to let go of daily baggage and find purpose and enlightenment.

4. Personal Skills: There are endless amounts of potential skills that can be built during the practice of a hobby which can be catered to what you believe based on past personal reflections you most need improvement on. For example, if you’re often considered an impulsive and impatient person, it’s suggested you take up a more detail oriented hobby such as knitting and cross-stitching or, if you’re more of an athletic person, ballet. On the other hand, maybe you have a terrible memory and feel that it stems from your current lifestyle neglecting to introduce many mentally intensive tasks. In this scenario, playing chess or learning computer coding could be what you’re looking for to practice cognitive drills. These activities involve forcing yourself to be meticulous and take up an initially unfamiliar activity. Consequently, doing so focuses certain facets of your brain and trains a more disciplined set of skills in that area.

5. Relationships: Whether you partake in social hobbies or simply use your experience of it to strike up conversation, hobbies are the easiest common ground to find when talking to new people. Having the kind of specialized knowledge that comes from hours spent practicing your skill is an incredibly distinctive ability. This expertise can then be taught to others who are curious about the activity or shared with people who similarly partake in it. Since this interest is directly linked to passionate and positive emotions, it can be a strong source of bonding. There’s a variety of deeds that you can even use to fortify pre-existing friendships like perhaps trying out dance classes that are offered in your area or joining an extracurricular baking program that meets weekly to implement new recipes. Adding dynamic circumstances that can result in meaningful memories creates a richer friendship by bringing forward different lights in each other and shifting stale perspectives.

All in all, to write off developing hobbies as simply wasting time is a harsh and disadvantageous mistake, stripping you of all the potential benefits and, most importantly, the joy that comes with a flourishing intimate side project.

We hope that this post provided you insight into the benefits of hobbies! Stay tuned for more blog posts from OYMS! Be sure to check out our website, and follow us on Instagram at our handle @ontarioyouthmedsociety.

About the writer: Raheleh Najafi is a senior at Newmarket High School. She is starting her own path to one day becoming an ophthalmologist and as a result finds herself becoming more and more involved in extracurriculars fixating around medicine. Raheleh especially finds importance in clubs that offer transparency and accessibility to promote equal opportunity in the medical field and the process to post-secondary pathways. She continues to advocate for this goal as a member of PuMP (prospective medical professionals). In her free time, Raheleh enjoys writing, rollerblading, and journaling. To keep up with Raheleh, follow her on her LinkedIn!

Ontario Youth Medical Society is a student-led, non-profit organization focused on educating youth and making a difference in medicine.