A recent study by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology has found what we have always felt to be true: having a hobby equates to bucketloads of happiness. Here at Bright Side we have compiled a list of our favourite hobbies that will help you relieve stress, be present in the moment and achieve a sense of wellbeing.
1. Take up a musical instrument
Learning to play an instrument is a sure-fire way of getting your daily dose of happiness, as music has a dramatic effect on our mood and thought processes. Proven to reduce stress and anxiety, the intricate coordination required to translate sheet music into a beautiful tune makes transcending our daily struggles come naturally.
2. Read a book
There really is nothing quite like curling up in a favourite spot with a good book. The perfect opportunity for escapism, reading opens up whole new worlds and experiences. There’s even a name for the kind of happiness derived from being immersed in a good book — bibliotherapy.
3. Get knitting
Knitting has been experiencing a retro revival for the last few years — now classes can be found pretty much anywhere, with many workplaces building lunchtime knitting sessions into the working day due to their positive effect on employee wellbeing. Surprisingly easy to get started once you have mastered a few simple starting stitches, it is the rhythmic, almost musical nature of the knitting needles clicking against one another that makes this hobby so mesmerisingly joyful.
4. Keep a diary
Today, we are more likely to share a short but sweet Facebook status with our friends than write about our day in a diary — and in doing so have lost the valuable art of reflection. The physical act of putting pen to paper is highly therapeutic, and makes it much easier to put any worries or troubles into perspective.
Perhaps it is because of the infamous pottery wheel scene from the film Ghost, but there is something about creating a work of beauty from a lump of clay that appeals to our sense of sensual artistry. Whilst most of us probably don’t, unlike Demi Moore, happen to have a pottery wheel in our apartment, the good news is that classes are plentiful and not too expensive.
A hobby as old as the hills themselves….fresh air, the great outdoors, with nothing but the passing of time and the tread of your own feet to distract you from your thoughts. Now for the science part (that you probably already know): multiple studies have proven that a brisk walk may hold the same benefits as medication in cases of mild depression. So go ahead, get walking and release those endorphins!
The colours, smells, and textures experienced whilst cooking up a storm in the kitchen trigger a happiness response in us that is hard to deny. Immensely self-gratifying, the absolute best thing about cooking as a hobby is sampling your creations afterwards.
Arguably one of the most underrated, yet soul-expanding hobbies out there, star-gazing will leave you with a profound sense of wonder. You don’t need any specialist equipment, as on a clear night most constellations should be visible to the naked eye. Whilst many people find enormous pleasure in mapping and studying the stars, others prefer to gaze upon them and lose themselves a while.
There are numerous physical and emotional benefits to tending a garden, however big or small. The concentration required, and satisfaction gained, in nurturing a seedling into full bloom triggers a perennial sense of happiness. With this hobby, you really do ‘reap what you sow’ – as one of the best things about gardening is sitting back and admiring your hard work on a summer evening.
The connection between art and happiness is an established one — studies have shown that even just looking at a work of art triggers a state of euphoria much like being in love. It stands to reason, therefore, that creating your own masterpiece can spark a similar response. As with knitting and pottery, it is also the simple combination of connecting an abstract idea to a physical process that produces such a strong sense of wellbeing.