Updated 29 August 2017

5 hobbies that will make you happier

Are you stuck in a rut? It might be time to consider a hobby. It's never too late to find an activity you are passionate about.

Remember the time when your school days were filled with sport, art, ballet dancing or music?

It might be time to start considering a hobby again to reduce stress.

Psychologists say that while you might not always be able to find a job you're passionate about, you can get emotional satisfaction – and stress relief – from a hobby you love.

Create balance, decrease stress

Hobbies can add balance to your life, which is especially important if you have a demanding job, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. And a hobby can be both exciting and rewarding.

The study also found that enjoying a creative hobby during your personal time can actually boost your productivity and creativity at work. These findings have led some companies to offer creative outlets for employees, like writing workshops and music classes, in much the same way that other employers provide gym memberships.

Several health benefits

Hobbies will not only add some balance and passion to your life and decrease stress, but a previous Health24 article also suggests that it can help you quit smoking. Instead of that cigarette, grab something else (a paintbrush or a pair of knitting needles) to keep your hands busy.

There are also several other benefits: Research suggests that what we do outside of work, can often benefit our performance and wellbeing at work. Hobbies can boost creativity, cognitive skills and mental function. If you choose to partake in a physical activity such as trail running, dancing or hiking, your overall health will also improve. 

Consider your options

The beauty of a hobby? You don't have to be good at it; you just have to love it! Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Get creative

Did you enjoy painting or crafting as a child? Get some basic art supplies, or join a class in your community. Would you rather ditch the visuals for words and always wanted to write a novel? Consider joining a creative writing programme. You can even try your hand at starting your own blog or YouTube channel. 

woman painting

2. Get dancing

Did you always dream about conquering the stage? Are you and your partner looking for something you can do together? Take up ballroom dancing. Still fantasising about dancing Swan Lake? Find adult ballet classes in your community or city. These classes require no previous experience and are purely for having fun and getting fit. 

adult ballet class

3. Get out there

Need more time outdoors? Join a hiking or trail running club. Not only will you get to explore beautiful routes in your immediate environment, you will also reap the fitness benefits. Hiking or running in a group is also safer and you are bound to meet like-minded people.

trail running

4. Get cooking (or baking)

Whether you are a closeted foodie or just want to brush up on the basics, a cooking or baking class is a fun way to meet other people, learn new skills and develop your own love for cooking.

friends at cooking class

5. Get reading

Are you a bookworm? Take it to the next level by joining or starting a book club.

friends at book club

Just remember that the goal is to have fun and expand your horizons. So it's okay to try a few possibilities before you get fully immersed in one or two.

Image credits: iStock 


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