A hobby is any activity you do for personal fulfillment and enjoyment. Gardening, cooking, writing, woodworking, yoga, painting, the options are endless. What makes something a hobby is not the activity itself but the leisurely nature of how you do it.

Work is not a hobby. While work has other important functions in our lives, having a past-time we do just for fun gives us many benefits that positively impact our wellness.

Hobbies Develop Focus and Patience

1. Learning Something New Makes You Smarter

Gaining a new skill and learning new things increases your cognitive abilities. (1) This literally makes you smarter, plus being exposed to new ideas opens even more avenues for learning.

The more we challenge our brains to keep learning, the better it is for our long-term health. People who continue to seek out new activities and knowledge can prevent cognitive decline as they age. (1)

Hobbies are a way to learn something new and make you smarter

2. Hobbies Develop Focus and Patience

Picking up a new skill or interest requires us to cultivate the humility and perseverance of a beginner. As adults, we get used to having the answers and feeling confident in our abilities. Starting something new means investing time to gain the knowledge we need and having patience with the process of moving from novice to expert.

Five Ways a New Hobby Will Enhance Your Wellness

3. You Can Connect with Others Who Share Your Interest

Social connection is essential to well-being. Adults who build strong, healthy relationships and engage in social activities experience better overall health and a longer life span. (2) Plus, doing something you enjoy with other people who can equal your enthusiasm is just plain fun.

Develop a group hobby - Doing Something We Are Passionate about Provides Meaning

4. Hobbies Are a Good Way to Release Stress

Many parts of life carry inherent stressors. Work, family responsibilities, and finances can all contribute to high feelings of stress. We all need a break at times.

In contrast, hobbies are done simply for our own enjoyment. When engaged in a leisure pursuit, people experience decreased stress levels, lower heart rate, and a more positive mood. (3) Regularly engaging in a hobby provides the opportunity to let our day-to-day cares fade for a while, and this can protect our long-term mental health.

Hobbies Are a Good Way to Release Stress

5. Doing Something We Are Passionate about Provides Meaning

Having a hobby we love is an outlet for creativity, passion, and pleasure. This adds richness and joy to life and is a path to a more profound sense of meaning and purpose.

All work and no play makes life dull and unfulfilling. Greater passion and fun are available by choosing leisure activities we love.

Hobbies let you connect with others who share your interest

Make Time for Something New

It may seem like a luxury to devote time to something done purely for pleasure in our busy, full lives. But that is part of why it is so essential. A life dedicated only to the necessities misses out on one of the joys of being human; the chance to do something just for fun.

There are likely free slots in your week that could be used to do that thing you have always thought you’d like to try. Watch a little less TV or get up earlier on the weekend to make time for something new. A hobby you love will pay you back many times over and enhance your well-being for your whole life.