You know how you feel when you are so engrossed in an activity you enjoy? Time just flies by. You forget your woes and worries for a moment. Yes, it is a pretty awesome carefree feeling.
And that is the feeling hobbies give you. That is how you feel when you are deep in the hobby activity. You forget the time. You get into this beautiful blissful bubble.
You forget worries and anxious thoughts. You get happy. And your mood improves. That is the great power of hobbies on mental health.
Hobbies relieve stress and improve your mood and hobbies are great ways to practice self-care for mental health.
They take your mind off negative things and focus your mind on something that brings you joy.
There are many hobbies to practice but it is good to try a few and see what works for you and helps to calm you down and alleviates dark moods.
Many hobbies really involve creativity and are captivating to the mind. And involvement in the process of creating art is healing, research shows.
Now let’s discuss some of the best hobbies for people with anxiety and depression that will help decrease anxious thoughts and improve mood.
And please note: The advice given here is not meant to replace recommendations from your health care professional or your mental health provider. Please also note I am not a certified therapist. This information is gathered from research and my own point of view.
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Best Hobbies for People With Anxiety and Depression
The great thing about writing is that it can take so many forms, and all are great for mental health. When you have anxiety it is calming to write your thought in a journal for example.
Writing, especially using journal prompts relieves your mind, keeps your thoughts in perspective, and therefore is calming.
You can journal in a notebook-just do a brain dump and let all your thoughts out on paper.
Some people swear by bullet journaling, which is awesome and involves creativity and is such a mindful and meditative process, great for mental health.
A great way to focus your writing is to use journal prompts. Here is some journal prompts to get you started.
And you can journal specifically to hit those anxious thoughts head-on so as to reign in your irrational mind. Try journal prompts for anxiety to calm your mind down and reduce runaway anxious thoughts.
Creative writing can be a great outlet for anyone with anxiety and depression.
Besides you can write not just for fun though fun is great. If you are imaginative and able to write a novel, go for it. You can write novels and become a proud published author.
You can write to be paid as a freelance writer.
You can write your own books. You can create your own journals and sell them.
All of these will do your mind great good. When you are in the creative space and caught up in creating you feel energized and focused leaving no room for anxiety.
While this may not heal especially clinical depression, the moments you are so engrossed writing you feel less unhappy and less anxious.
I highly recommend writing as a good way to reduce anxiety and ease depression.
Gardening is a healing hobby no matter the state of your mental health. But if you suffer from anxiety and depression, gardening will soothe your soul and invigorate your mind. Gardening profers so many health benefits to mind body and soul.
Here are some ways in which gardening improves anxiety and depression:
- Bacteria in the soil may actually activate brain cells to produce serotonin when you have your hands in the dirt- the bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae can trigger the brain to produce serotonin, scientists have said.
- Gardening is actually physical work and therefore a form of exercise and a great stress reliever. This invigorating activity helps more blood reach all your cells including brain cells delivering more oxygen, and happiness neural transmitters. Research has shown that after gardening there is less circulating cortisol and stress levels are down and the mood is better.
- Being outside gardening is a great way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins ( in fact is it not really a vitamin but a prohormone). Vitamin D is essential in mental health, and a deficiency has been associated with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, and others. Being outdoors and getting vitamin D directly from the sun improves mood.
- Besides it is now well documented by research that many people especially in temperate climates don’t get enough vitamin D. Also many people spend too much time indoors. This means vitamin D deficiency is very common. Gardening is a simple way to improve your Vitamin D status and mood.
- Gardening occupies the mind as you pull the weeds, prune branches, plant, and admire the beauty around you you’re so engrossed and occupied you have no space for intrusive and random thoughts.
- The bounty from a garden it so satisfying. And it is so enjoyable and fulfilling to watch something you planted grow. Then you also get to enjoy the food you actually grew. It is such a mental health boost and a way to improve your overall health. If you are like me and dont have a green thumb, try a cactus garden, or learn from someone. A gardening book is a good way to learn at your own pace.
- Gardening feeds your senses so that you are surrounded by wonderful scents of plants and flowers, butterflies, and birds even the very dirt is nourishing to the mind. All that relieves tension and improves your mood.
Are you the kind that enjoys sculpting and working with wood?
Oh, the amazing things you can create! From furniture to one of kind decorative items, let your imagination go.
When you are curving away and using your imagination to create your masterpiece you are in the zen mood.
It is meditative. It quiets the mind as you concentrate to create that masterpiece for do feel happy. The creative process is therapeutic.
Creating something new from scratch feels great. A great way to ease your mind and elevate your spirits.
Painting and drawing
All artistic pursuits including painting and drawing are therapeutic and in fact, are as good as talk therapy maybe even better.
As one draws and paints, they can process thoughts and emotions and express them, and this is a cathartic healing process.
Many artistic forms including drawing and painting require total focus and really being in the moment and harnessing the power of imagination.
These completely engrossing and enjoyable activities are perfect ways to improve your mood.
The very activity of painting or drawing gets your mind in a singular focus and leaves no space for anxious thoughts. The creative process and outcome also can elevate mood.
If you are like me and can’t draw anything except a stick figure, well how about just a coloring?
I know it is not quite the same, but coloring is so calming and is also creative. Yes, creative. You decide what colors to use, right? Yes, and it is quite fun.
And fun things are good for the mind. They boost and lift one’s mood reducing signs of anxiety and depression.
The best thing is now we have on the market many wonderful adult coloring books.
Coloring like many artistic activities puts one in a state of mind and has a meditative quality.
This reduces stress and anxiety and eases dark moods.
Try adult coloring and enjoy this easy form of meditation. Try this 100 Amazing Patterns adult coloring book and calm your mind and feel zen by creating some gorgeous patterns.
Image by marcelkessler from Pixabay
Pottery making is so much fun. It is by far the best hobby for anxiety. Can you visualize how relaxing it is as you smooth your hands over your creation, as it gently spins and as you shape the pottery?
As you shape and smooth your hands over the clay you are in essence meditating.
And this I think is the best way to meditate. Can you feel how calming that would be?
Then when you are all done you have a beautiful vase, or pot, or a plate or cup, or really anything you want to create.
Then you also get to decorate it with beautiful colors and make it into a wonderful masterpiece.
The whole process is soothing and calming and healing.
If you would love to learn any of these artistic skills, just enroll in a class. Now it is even easier as you can take all sorts of classes online.
The learning can be so much fun and what a confidence boost!
When your self-esteem is high due to feeling accomplished your mental health improves too.
This is my one zone of genius. Well to an extent. One cant be good at everything now, can they? But I do ENJOY knitting and crocheting A LOT.
I love knitting because it has this mindful quality to it and therefore I find it so calming.
As long as my hands are moving to the rhythm of the needles, I am in Zen and my spirit is in zen.
Knitting and crocheting are easy to learn and not too expensive.
While you are caught up in this artform it relaxes your mind and distracts you from unwanted thoughts.
I think if you know how this is a great hobby for anyone
Now you can take it further and spin the yarn.
That is so meditative and will keep your mind from getting anxious. with anxiety and or depression. Calms the mind, lifts the spirit.
Another craft that I am first to admit I know nothing of is quilting. But oh, boy, the amazing art that is quilting! I have seen some really amazing quilts.
It is a mind-boggling art form and those into quitting are totally committed.
I have to admire that. I envy them actually because they make beautiful art and I don’t think I can do it.
I think it’s the math. You have to measure things and be all kinda perfect and precise.
I am sorry I don’t do it precisely. I like things in a sort of fluid almost ambiguous form. Yea. that doesn’t work in quilting.
But it is an amazing art form and so engaging. Totally recommend it if you have the brain cells to do the math. it can seem for your mental health.
Photography is a wonderful hobby for mental health.
It allows you to capture Beauty at the moment. It is a great way to explore your world.
Going outdoors and exploring nature through the lens of a camera allows you to get out of your head and concentrate on various wonders of nature.
Even just taking pictures of other people allows you to capture their happy emotions and that can help you feel better too.
You can combine photography with other mindful activities like hiking and reap the benefits of exercise, enjoying captivating nature, and capturing it on film to enjoy later.
Talking about it is making me want to learn professional photography. It is never too late to learn a new skill.
So get out of the house and get your camera out and go exploring. While so engrossed, those intrusive thoughts will be long gone and your mind will be at ease.
Do you read? I hope you do.
Reading takes you off and away to other places and times and you meet people and different problems that take your mind off your own issues.
While you are reading, your mind relaxes. Even your heart rate drops meaning you feel calm.
Some books are so funny that you can be laughing out loud and what better way to lift your mood.
Reading informs, educates, entertains, and takes us to faraway places we may never have experienced.
It educates us, informs us, and challenges our way of thinking.
When you are engrossed in a storyline, your mind has nos space left to be anxious worrisome or even moodiness, or even boredom.
Cooking is a creative activity that really engages one’s mind. If you like to cook or want to learn, cooking can help you forget about the worries you have.
The joy of creating a wonderful meal especially when shared with others fills one with happiness.
When you are preparing a meal you are also caught up in that moment of creating and it is quite calming, enjoyable, and a mood booster.
And making and eating healthy meals is one way to ensure you are feeding your brain the nutrients necessary for brain health.
Cooking will benefit your mood and mental health both in good nutrition and a form of meditative therapy.
Research is showing that there are some nutrients that when deficient can cause mental health problems and cooking and eating healthy meals will prevent deficiency.
Check out these related posts on mental health and nutrition.:
10 Common Nutrient Deficiencies That cause fatigue
The Best Soothing Teas That Calm Anxiety and Reduce stress Naturally
20 Powerful Superfoods for BrainHealth
Depression Nutrition: Food that Improves Mood and Mental Health
So get that inner chef out and harness the powers of cooking as a creative hobby that is good for your mood and total health. Learn new recipes. Go on Pinterest and get inspired and pin the ones you like.
You can even take a class if you want to take it further.
Creating and playing music
This is one thing I have always wanted to learn. Playing the guitar or the piano or any music really is good for your mental health. So go ahead and enroll in a class if you are clueless.
Research has found that playing, listening to, or creating music is healing. It is referred to as music therapy.
It eases and calms the mind and reduces anxiety. Music even improves cognition research finds. Music stimulates the mind and can actually improve the way the brain functions
And the act of playing an instrument involves your mind your creativity and you can be lost for hours in a blissful cloud of creativity.
This is a great way to lift your mood, bring on the endorphins, ease your mind, and keep you calm.
If you are talented and can write music that is awesome too.
Like any type of writing, it helps you put thoughts on paper and out of your mind. It gives you cathartic relief and is healing.
And then you get to play the music you created. This involves your mind so much that you won’t be focusing on scattered thoughts and feeling on edge. It also lifts your mood.
Being an outdoorsman or woman is exhilarating. You can go on hikes, camping, fishing, picnicking, and just explore the outdoor places close or far.
Hiking is a great form of exercise, and exercise is great for mental health.
There is no way you can have a down mood when you are busy exploring the trails.
But, I’ve got to just say that this may not be for everyone. Personally camping is not for me. Too worried about snakes bears and other scary creatures.
However, the very act of walking, as in hiking, provides great exercise and is exhilarating. It is a great stress reliever.
You feel happy standing at the top of that hill or mountain. Not only do you feel like such an achiever you also get great exercise. That is why some people are addicted to exercise- because it gives you such a thrilling high. The best addiction, I think.
Picture yourself standing at the top of the mountain looking at the wonder all around, or walking by a brook somewhere. And maybe enjoying a picnic under a gorgeous tree. Hiking is an amazing way to relieve stress and feel great in mind and body.
Try being outdoor more and you will find that this will bring more peace to your mind. It will soothe the nerves and lift your mood.
I love blogging. First of all, blogging can be such a rewarding creative pursuit.
There is so much involved in blogging that while you are engrossed in the writing process your mind has no time for intrusive thoughts. you have planning to do it. Keyword research.
Finding the right angle for a post. It is t me all such a thrill.
Also, you can help others by sharing what you know. That boosts your confidence and mental health.
Blogging has a lot of elements that require a certain amount of focus and discipline but is so fulfilling.
When you succeed as a blogger the reward is immense- both monetary and the sense of accomplishment that is bound to make you feel proud of yourself.
Now blogging is hard and one has to be careful to find balance. Without that balance, it can be frustrating. So go into it with an open mind and be sure to take breaks.
I do so enjoy the creative process involved in writing a post, creating graphics, engaging with other bloggers online, and so many other elements about blogging.
These creative pursuits so fully occupy the mind so that I have a singular focus and it takes my mind of other thoughts that would otherwise have my mind racing.
Try blogging as a creative pursuit and see if it is a good fit for you.
You might actually be able to quit that anxiety-invoking job or that job that sinks your mood come Monday. That at least is my goal.
Get your dancing shoes on. Ok, bare feet will do too! Yes! Just dance.
And if you have a partner you can both enroll in a class and learn a new skill. This is such a confidence booster that also makes you feel better about yourself.
Really, confident people feel better about themselves and struggle less with mental health issues.
Then there is the exercise. You hate to exercise. I do, so I dance. Head on to Youtube and find a dance exercise and just follow along.
Or simply blare your favorite music and dance like no one is watching!
By the end of your dancing session, your mood will be on high and stress poofed. No space for anxiety when you are enjoying a dancing session.
Try it. You don’t have to be a good dancer. Just move any which way. This too is a form of therapy and you don’t have to talk.
You just let all the feeling out in the movement and you also get the benefits of endorphins from the physical exertion. After a dancing session, you will feel light and happy. Best therapy ever to lift heavy moods and poof anxiety.
And there you have it! What is your best hobby? What do you enjoy doing to soothe and calm your mind and lift your spirits? Let me know in the comments.