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A hobby is an interest or activity that we engage in outside our place of employment primarily because it brings us pleasure. We do it—whether gardening, baking, antiquing, traveling, painting, writing poetry, or tinkering with cars—because we want to. This is a welcome change from having to do the many things daily life requires of us.
Personal pursuits spark and satisfy our curiosity, get creative juices flowing, and exercise our problem solving skills. This is why people who enjoy hobbies have a lower risk for dementia and depression. Enjoyment of our favorite activities helps reduce blood pressure, relieve stress, and elevate mood. These activities add interest to our lives and make us more interesting people to be with.
Author of “Defy Aging,” Michael Brickey, writes that the best hobbies serve three purposes:
Yet, some of our interests may only meet one or two of these purposes and still be worthy pursuits. For instance, playing video games may only serve as a diversion and not be a passion or seem purposeful, but sometimes all we want is to escape for a while.
Other benefits of pursuing hobbies:
Carving out time to enjoy our interests is one of the best things we can do for our mental and physical health. Hobbies provide a lifetime of pleasurable learning and we may discover new talents and interests through our pursuits. Their energizing and uplifting effect will also spill over into our relationships, enriching time spent with our spouse, family, and friends.
January is National Hobby Month. The January doldrums are a perfect time to re-engage an old interest or experiment with a new one.
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