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‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’
– James Howell, Proverbs 1659
As you can see from the date of the much used and fondly quoted proverb the idea of getting some kind of harmony in a persons’ life has always been a topical issue. Simply put, hobbies give people the chance to play and with this the chance to reduce stress levels. In this article I will discuss some of the way hobbies can improve your life and reduce stress. I will end by mentioning some of the common hobbies that people do that can help to relieve stress.
Firstly a hobby is a break from reality. A hobby provides the person with a chance to focus on building a model airplane, for example, and put all the everyday worries like paying bills, beating the rush hour traffic or finishing a work project on schedule to the back of their mind.
With many hobbies there is an end product that the hobbyist can gain great pleasure and satisfaction from. For instance, the amateur carpenter can create a birdhouse or table that he/she can then give to someone as a present or can install in the back garden and watch birds coming and going. Oftentimes this sense of achievement is in stark contrast to everyday working life where the individual can feel like a small cog in a large and meaningless wheel. This sense of accomplishment can provide a great outlet for stress.
Hobbies have no deadlines, no rules and no pressure to be successful. The hobbyist can potter around for as long or short a time as he/she likes. No boss will tell them to do it differently. This is a great relief and, again, a stark contrast to an everyday job. One can paint a picture as badly as one wants, there is no pressure to sell the painting or even show it to anyone.
Hobbies also allow the individual to expand his/her horizons and learn new skills or develop unknown talents. This can help to relieve the stress of everyday life and often give a person a higher purpose. A person that takes up with the local soccer team can improve his/her physical condition, learn new skills and help the team to win the league title or cup final.
Hobbies provide an outlet to meet new people, develop relationships and socialise to a level that work often cannot provide.
Some popular hobbies include :
Gardening – a chance to create and get out into the fresh air and sunshine
Crafts – any kind of craft from knitting to lathe turning is highly creative and satisfying as it produces an end product.
Arts – painting, sculpting, writing, and photography again give a sense of personal achievement
Physical pastimes – playing sports, fishing and going to the gym are a chance to develop new relationships and skills
Hobbies can help to give the individual a well rounded life and this is the key to relieving the everyday stresses and strains.