Hobbies to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

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Taking up a hobby is a great way to ease anxiety or stress. It gives you something enjoyable to focus on, at the same time take your mind off anything negative that you may be experiencing. Pleasurable pastimes can be a good way to calm down an overactive mind, alleviate anxiety and lower panic symptoms.

 

Discovering what works for you may be trial and error, what suits a friend might not be your ‘cup of tea’, so be patient and try out a few things to see what suits you best:

 

CRAFT: Many things fall into this category. Drawing, painting, card/candle making, scrap-booking, these are all manual tasks that you can use to express emotions and at the same time can be very rewarding.

 

MUSIC: This could simply be listening to all different kinds of music, especially uplifting tunes.  Dancing and singing are also known to lift our moods.

 

WRITING: Stories, poetry, letters and journaling are perfect ways to express built up emotions.

 

EXERCISE: Exercise releases endorphins which are hormones that make us naturally feel good. It also increases our body temperature which can have a calming effect as well as burning off excess energy that can lead to anxiety.

 

ANIMALS: Studies have shown that interaction with animals can decrease stress. Playing with or stroking an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.  Which leads to us naturally feeling better.

 

READING: Studies have shown that reading can help reduce stress levels from between 60 and 70 percent.  It relaxes your body by lowering your heart rate and easing tensed muscles.  Many people find themselves being whisked off to another place and giving their mind a much deserved break from anxious thoughts.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Nowadays we don’t need an expensive camera to take up this hobby. Most mobile phones take great photos.  Taking photos of nature or the sea is a therapy that many recommend.  Start by just getting out of the house into the open air, then look. If you go out purposely to take pictures, you will be surprised how you see things around you differently.

 

COOKING: It doesn’t have to be extravagant, MasterChef type of food but looking up new recipes, exploring new flavours and different types of food really can be fun.

 

GARDENING: Research has revealed that gardening has a positive effect on our mental health. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is so satisfying to nurture plants. Feeding, watering and helping things grow is very rewarding. You can also enjoy the fruits of labour!

 

Everyone has different interests, but trying out something new could really help turn your life around.

 

Article adapted from No Panic UK