During my high school days, I had the pleasure of collecting and exchanging stamps for a hobby. It was indeed a very rewarding past time for me since I always felt like I was acquiring unique pieces of treasures whenever a new stuff came my way. What excited me most, however, was when the new addition was acquired through “hard labor”, like I had to do some research or assignment for a senior student in order to obtain an allegedly rare stamp that was completely strange and unfamiliar in the group of collectors where I belong. Boy, it was really gratifying. I managed to continue the hobby with more passion and sense until now but still fairly puzzled on what benefits do I get from being a self-proclaimed philatelist, though it is evident to me that I am absolutely enjoying the flair and tricks of the trade.
I realized later, with the help of my researches & readings, that a hobby when enthusiastically enjoyed becomes not only pleasurable but also therapeutic.
Hobbies reduce stress, says Alice Domar, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School. They distract you from everyday worries: If you’re focused on the pottery you’re making, you can’t fret about work, says Domar. And knitting, or anything requiring repetitive motion, elicits the relaxation response, a feeling of overall serenity, marked by lowered blood pressure.
Likewise, hobbies provide a calming sense of control, says Domar, and research suggests this strengthens immunity. You may have little say at work, but when you’re woodworking, you’re in charge. You get the credit — and satisfaction — of a job well done.
We recognize that physical activity extends life, but less active recreations, like cognitive relaxation, are healthy as well. A study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine found that those who engaged in cognitive leisure activities, such as reading books or newspapers, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing board games or cards, participating in organized group discussions, and playing musical instruments, were likely to decrease risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in the elderly.
Hobbies like painting and other forms of artistic expressions are likewise demonstrated to have some influence on enhancing our well-being. This was eloquently pointed out in the article The Healing Power of Art written by Christina Grant. It emphasizes that if creative forces or energy inherently present in human body are repressed or held inside they will likely manifest negatively or take other forms such as depression, anxiety, anger, rage, cysts, tumors, and other growths in the body.
These combined evidences clearly suggest that hobbies in whatever form have to be kept or cultivated in order to enjoy good health and life as a whole.
By the way, do not forget, though, that blogging, which is a form of “writing for pleasure”, is a cognitive type of hobby and is certainly beneficial to our health.
What do you think? Do you agree with these findings? Do you have a hobby that you think is not worth holding on?
Feel free to share your thoughts.
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