The link between hobbies and happiness – It’s no secret that staying active is one of the key recommendations for the over-50s – not just for the mind, but the body too. But that doesn’t mean you need to wake up at 6:00am every day to go jogging or start pumping iron. In fact, staying active doesn’t expressly refer to physical exercise at all; there are plenty of ways to keep the body and mind active without physical stress and strain. One of the best options is simply having a hobby. You may be surprised at how many over-50s don’t actually have any hobbies they’re passionate about, so if you fall into this category, we’re here to explain both the benefits of having a hobby – and how to find one that suits you.
Understanding the mind-body connection
Everybody has to take care of both the body and the mind, but not all of us realise how intrinsically linked these two can be. When you take part in an activity that stimulates both the body and the mind, all of you benefits. That’s why a hobby of any kind is a brilliant idea for people of all ages. Take a hobby like model trains: part of the fun of this activity comes from devising new tracks, new designs and so on; while another part stems from the physical doing of the activity itself. This is representative of the so-called ‘mind-body connection’, and emphasises the need to find hobbies that are rewarding in more ways than one.
How to know which hobbies are for you
If you don’t already have any hobbies, it can be tricky to decide on the one that will tick all the boxes for you. But don’t worry – there’s no stress or pressure, and that’s part of the fun of it. Look back to your childhood: what were the types of activities you enjoyed? Or perhaps as an adult there were certain things you did which you may have lost touch with? Any of these ideas are good places to start looking for new inspiration. But sometimes, it’s a simple matter of stumbling across something you really enjoy doing, so don’t be afraid to try new things whenever you get the opportunity to do so!
The body and mind benefits
So let’s say you’ve found a hobby; like fishing, for example. You might be thinking ‘when do the benefits kick in?’ Well, first and foremost, the very definition of hobbies refers to something you do over and again for the fun of it – so give it some time. And second, remember that the benefits of having a hobby are often subtle and slow to show – but they’re definitely there. Over time, you can expect a reduction in general stress levels, improved energy levels, and you may just find yourself becoming more socially engaged. Even better, you’ll be more contented in general.
Hobbies can easily become a passion and a purpose; so don’t be too quick to dismiss the opportunity to try a potential hobby on for size. You never know: tomorrow may be the day when you find what you’re really good at. It’s never too late to get started.
Written by Simon Morris
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