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How Hobbies Can Heal You and Fulfill You

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Some hobbies that distract you from your worries and anxieties by making you focus on the present includes making model cars and scale models, scrap booking, cooking, gardening and taking photographs. These are some ideas for us to become so absorbed in the moment that we are able to, momentarily, forget any other stress or troubles we may have. Such pastimes as knitting or making quilts brings a sense of peace and connectivity, it gives you a chance to reflect, to centre yourself, and to be quiet and contemplative. It can also even benefit your relationships with those around you, co-workers, friends and family, because we get “lost” in our hobbies, rather that caught up in the continual stress cycle. In other words, when you take some time out to do something that you love and enjoy that gives you pleasure, not just you but everyone in your life benefits from it. And having finished something you made or build with your hands, will make you feel extremely fabulous about yourself and about something that you have created. The creativity that is involved with any hobby and creating things with your hands is an all out feel good factor.

Pursuing a hobby can also have other benefits such as help stave off boredom and loneliness. Also trying new things and being creative, such as singing, dancing, painting or doing crosswords and brain teasers promotes brain plasticity, in other words it promotes your brain flexibility and growth. Such activities can even prompt your brain to rewire, which will fend off dementia and assist in maintaining a good health. When you stimulate and challenge your brain, your brain cells sprout new connections, called dendrites and new contact points, called synapses, which improve brain communication. So, creative stimulating hobbies can and will help you remain vital throughout your golden years.

To tap into the healing power of hobbies, here are a few guidelines to achieving just that.

1. Determine your personality first of all, then match your hobby to your personality. For example, if you are a detailed oriented person, you will like hobbies that require lot of precision, such examples are beading, making dolls or bears, or even decorative painting. In case you are a more spontaneous person, which likes to make a mess, you would not like activities that make you do a lot of measuring, that will only cause you frustration rather than relaxation. You might rather prefer ceramics, gardening or photography.

2. Rhythmic and repetitive activities such as knitting or sewing stills the mind and relieves stress, evoking a feeling of calm and enhances health and reduces the risk of heart disease.

3. Make sure to make time for your hobby, at least once a week, but ideally every day. For prolonged benefits it is advised that you spend at least 20 minutes a day on your hobby.

4. Create your own space for your hobby, your own dedicated hobby area in your home. This is important for you to be able to play a little whenever you have a few minutes to spare, without the whole unpacking and repacking of everything your hobby involves.

5. It is recommend that you take a class, or join a group that has the same hobbies and interests as you. We are all social being, and research shows that socializing about our hobbies and interests helps relieve stress.

6. Remember to enjoy the process of what you are doing, do not rush it. The fun and the healing benefits are all in the process. That is just when you set aside every day concerns and worries. The whole idea and objective of your hobby is to do something that pleases you, that reduces your stress levels, that feeds your soul and gives you a sense of purpose and wellbeing. Your hobby can even become a source of income for you too.

7. Remember to allow yourself to enjoy your hobby without expecting too much by being a perfectionist and expecting a masterpiece. Be careful not to make your hobby a chore, and that it has to be perfect. You will completely lose out on the therapeutic benefits and fun of it.

8. What other people think of you and your hobby is none of your business, ignore it all, be bold and pursue your hobby for yourself and yourself alone.

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