Hobbies and Mental Health
Hobbies and Mental Health is a topic that has become more important since COVID19 began and we have all experienced restrictions and lockdowns.
Many of us have struggles with feeling down, anxious and lonely. Sometimes medication can be a way to help us feel better, however, there are other ways. Social prescribing is a where a doctor can ask a patient to take up a non medical intervention such as a hobby to improve their mental health if they are experiencing mild depression.
Studies have show that where patients have been prescribed a hobby such as gardening or walking this is beneficial for their mental health and will improve symptoms of depression more so than antidepressants.
The science behind why hobbies improve your mental health
The reason that finding time for hobbies can work has to do with how they affect the reward system in the brain. When we take part in a hobby that we enjoy, chemical messengers in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) are released – such as dopamine, a chemical which helps us feel pleasure. These feel-good chemicals can then make us want to do the hobby again, and feel more motivated to do so.
So even though we may not feel motivated in the beginning to spend time on a hobby, once we start it and feel the associated pleasure, this will kick – start our reward system and subsequently our motivation to do it again.
Ideas for hobbies
- Crafts – knitting, sewing, card making, art, woodturning
- Collecting – stamps, antiques, records
- Music – playing or listening to
- Taking courses that interest you. If you are older or do not work check out U3A – University of the Third Ages was founded in 1982, u3a* is a UK-wide movement of locally-run interest groups that provide a wide range of opportunities to come together to learn for fun. Members explore new ideas, skills and activities together. There are 1,057 u3as with over 450,000 members; membership costs less than £20 on average per year and is open to everyone who’s no longer in full-time work.
The hobby that you take up might be one you have done in the past and stopped or something completely new. What is really important is that you enjoy it and that you prioritise making time for it. The list above are just a few ideas, ultimately your hobby can be anything at all that gives you joy.
If though you are looking for more formal support call Paul Carter now to book an appointment or to discuss your issues further. At the moment Paul is only working online or the telephone due to COVID. To make an appointment please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can.