Our Hobbies: How Beneficial Are They?

Feature Article Reading broadens our horizons
APR 19, 2019 LISTEN
Reading broadens our horizons

Gone are the days when 'Hobby Times' was a programme on GTV that we relished as children because of how it fuelled our mental and physical growth. We acquired a number of rare and special skills and knowledge through papercraft, painting, sewing, knitting, among many others.

Since growing up comes with its major challenges – because we are bogged down by busy schedules – keeping up with some of these skills has been quite cumbersome.

Because a lot of us also consider hobby as something done for fun or pleasure and not necessarily for any financial benefits, we tend to thrust it aside. However, having a hobby can just be more than a way of having fun.

Picking up a hobby has myriad benefits such as the following:

  • A hobby can give us a sense of self-efficacy.
  • A hobby can be a creativity outlet.
  • Having hobbies will keep our brain engaged.
  • A hobby gives us something to look forward to.
  • It can give us something to be passionate about.

You might perhaps find the following suggested hobbies worth-impacting:

Reading A Book: When was the last time you read a book, a substantial magazine article or any feature in any of our newspapers? In this internet-craze world, our daily reading habits are centered around Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp feeds. Reading a lot more, I believe, should be more than just a pleasant pastime.

Reading broadens our horizons, teaches our mind to focus, and improves our vocabulary. You might want to grab for yourself a copy of any good novel around and start reading today.

Joining A Sports Team: Engaging ourselves in sporting activities is a great way of meeting new people and making friends.

Signing up to play is a fun way of spending time with others – which is one of the keys to happiness. In fact, studies show that social isolation is deadlier than obesity.

Anyway, I have joined a chess club in my neighbourhood. Although I'm making some 'baby' progress, I extremely find it not just entertaining, but also brain stimulating.

Learning A New Language: Ça me plait fait plaisir! (Not many of us remember this expression in French, huh?) Those of us who threw in the towel in the course of studying a new language because of the many challenges we were encountering, might want to reconsider our decision.

Well, learning a new language has the obvious benefit of allowing one to communicate with people who speak that language when one travels. Also, being bilingual or trilingual looks great on one's resumé.

The icing on the cake is that studies have shown that the brains of bilingual people operate much more differently than the brains of single language speakers.

Learning a new language will make one smarter, more decisive and will even make one better at speaking one's mother tongue.

Doing That 'Azonto': Not only is dancing fun, but it also has many benefits. Of course, when we dance, we are consciously or unconsciously doing a physical workout.

According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, dancing may boost one's memory and prevent one from developing dementia as one gets older.

Dancing also stimulates one's inner creativity and helps to loosen up positive emotions. When dancing, we also experience laughter and fun. Laughter helps lighten our mood as well.

Putting Our Pen To Paper: Learning to put our thoughts on paper naturally reminds us to articulate our next step. It is difficult to look back without also looking forward.

As a result, when we keep a journal, we naturally begin to look forward. Keeping a journal can help us to organise our thoughts, plan how we are going to achieve our goals, help us to solve problems and serve as a stress-relief mechanism. A written account allows our story to inspire others – our journal is our story.

Finally, journaling can help us to know ourselves better. We will be able to uncover what makes us happy and what's draining us of energy. With that knowledge, we will be able to do more of what brings joy and distance us from people and situations that are not serving us well.

Knitting Or Crocheting: Experts say that crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain. In fact, crafting has benefits similar to meditation. The repetitive motions of knitting, for example, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which quiets the 'fight or flight' response, according to occupational therapist Victoria Schindler.

Playing A Musical Instrument: Learning to play an instrument such as the piano can increase cognitive development. In addition, it improves eye-hand coordination and fine-motor skills. And here's the kicker: playing a musical instrument raises IQ by seven points – in both kids and adults. This kind of information makes you want to run out and get yourself a keyboard, doesn't it?

Hobbies play crucial roles in our daily lives, and so if you haven't got one, I highly recommend that you start to explore and develop at least one now – as there is a plethora of them that you can choose from. On the other hand, if you already have a hobby hold fast to it for the benefits accruing are numerous.