Health & wellbeing

The power of a hobby

Extracurricular activities can work wonders for your wellbeing.

With so much going on in our busy lives, it's easy to wonder where you'd find the time for a hobby!

But science says it may just be worth carving out just a couple of hours a week for a pastime. Here are 5 benefits of finding a hobby you love:

 

1. Cycle of happiness


A New Zealand study found that spending time being creative could increase feelings of happiness, joy, excitement and enthusiasm the following day. This elevation in wellbeing can then lead to even more creative activity.

 

2. Feeling good


Whether it’s hitting ‘publish’ on a blog post, putting the finishing touches on a painting or finally nailing a recipe you’ve been perfecting, completing a creative project will give you an instant hit of happiness. This is because the natural sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from completing something we’ve worked hard on triggers a release of the feel-good brain chemical dopamine.

 

3. Added interest


Having a hobby provides you with something to talk about with other people, and adds dimension to your identity. We tend to be drawn to people who are passionate about something, even if it’s not a shared passion, as it can be a source of stories, experience and inspiration for others. Share your interests with others in Connect using a hashtag, like #gardening or #painting.

 

4. Stress management


If you’ve had a particularly hard day at work, it’s tempting to crash in front of the TV all evening. While this provides a short-term distraction, it won’t address feelings of stress or low self-confidence. Having a hobby to engage in after work will help you feel energised, engaged and like you've had a good day after all. 

 

5. Making connections


A hobby that requires you to get out of the house – such as a sport, evening class or volunteering with a local charity – will connect you with other like-minded people. The health benefits of socialising include living longer, improved physical and mental health, and even the potential to lower your risk of dementia.*


*Remember to follow social distancing guidelines.