Justin Orlando of Monroe, Connecticut is a graduate of UCONN, youth athletic coach, and a dedicated advocate for the seamless integration of hobbies into a healthy lifestyle. In the following article, Justin Orlando provides perspective on the symbiotic relationship between leisure pursuits and overall well-being. Below, an exploration on how nurturing hobbies can be the cornerstone of a thriving, balanced life.
Justin Orlando of Monroe says that children almost always hear the phrase, “Find a hobby,” at some point in their lives. It was something of a catch-all response to boredom, needing to get out of the house, or difficulty finding friends. For adults, it’s still seen as a good way to meet new people, discover a hidden passion, or just pass the time.
It turns out that finding a hobby has deeper benefits as well. Hobbies don’t just make life more interesting. They may also help people live healthier lives as well.
Justin Orlando Explains the Enduring Love of Hobbies
While the popularity of some hobbies comes and goes and comes back again, some never go out of style. According to a June 2023 Statista ranking of the most popular hobbies, cooking/baking tops the list (40%) followed by reading (36%) and pets (34%). Video gaming (33% just barely edges out outdoor activities (31%).
Justin Orlando of Monroe notes that while becoming healthier isn’t typically the primary motivation for starting and keeping a hobby, most come with that added benefit. After all, hobbies are supposed to be activities that make someone happy or fulfilled. It should be something that someone doesn’t just like to do but loves to do.
Hobbies run the gamut from meditation to skydiving, from dancing to solitary hiking. No matter the type of hobby, all have the potential to boost one’s health now and in the future.
Improved Mental Health
Justin Orlando of Connecticut says that it should be no surprise that an activity that brings one joy and happiness helps improve mental health. But hobbies appear to do so in innumerable ways.
Spending time doing certain activities doesn’t just boost happiness at that moment, but that general feeling often carries over into one’s professional and personal life. Going on walks helps lower anxiety and improves sleep.
Justin Orlando of Monroe Having a hobby has been found to make people become more empathetic, improving relationships with others. It allows someone to develop and improve important problem-solving and creative skills. Participating in a hobby often makes people feel calmer and more relaxed.
The impact can be immediate. One study found that a hobby that brings out one’s creativity felt uplifted and more positive just a few days after the activity. Multiple studies have found that having a hobby may help people feel less depressed and less prone to experiencing stress or low moods.
One study published by the Society of Behavioral Medicine suggests that people have more positive moods, more engagement, less stress, and a lower heart rate when pursuing hobbies and other leisure activities.
While many people derive their self-worth from their professional job, that isn’t always a good thing. To feel fulfilled, most health professionals urge people to find their joy outside of the workplace. A hobby is a good way to find that.
Justin Orlando of Connecticut explains that health is a multi-dimensional concept and good self-worth comes from not relying on one element of life to make someone happy. Stress or setbacks at work should not hold the majority of weight when it comes to self-worth and happiness. Hobbies broaden the scope of fulfillment and fill needs that a job just cannot.
Justin Orlando of Monroe says that consistent time spent on hobbies also has the potential to increase self-esteem. For example, the sense of accomplishment when trying a new recipe and nailing it cannot just build self-esteem but boost it. In fact, many counselors recommend patients try cooking classes to decrease negative thoughts.
Hobbies can also lead to new experiences and new friendships. It can create new challenges but at the same time motivate someone to improve. Through hobbies, many not only broaden the scope of their own experiences but open themselves up more to others, leading to more social interactions and long-term improvement in one’s social life.
A More Active Brain
When someone starts a hobby, they are often trying something new — and that has numerous health benefits. Hobbies typically keep the brain active and doing something creative taps into brain power that may be underused day to day in the workplace or in one’s personal life.
Justin Orlando of Monroe reports that hobbies can declutter one’s life in positive ways. By focusing on one activity, people can practice effective mindfulness and become more engaged physically and mentally. Meditation certainly can declutter the mind, but other hobbies are just as effective in that way, including sewing, drawing, and knitting.