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For most of us the word hobby takes us back to childhood days when hours were spent doing things we loved, whether collecting stamps or doing painting or creating craft items. As we grow, the pace of the world, however, gives us little time and energy to follow our hobbies that we so cherished. But it should be insightful for us to know that cultivating a hobby is in fact one of the best ways of beating stress and keeping up with the pace of life.

Hobby is loosely defined as any activity that one enjoys doing in leisure time. Some people think hobby as a waste of time, something that is done to pass free time. This is a restricted view; hobby has many more advantages and dimensions to it. Hobbyists, psychologists and some researchers maintain that pursuing a hobby that one enjoys provides an emotional and creative outlet that helps reduce stress levels. Hobby allows you to breakaway from routine to do something you are passionate about; one usually does not get stressed doing activities that he enjoys. The satisfaction of seeing your labour of love take shape adds a sense of fulfilment and achievement to life.

Hobbies allow you to develop new skills and discover your latent talent. You may have a niche for learning a new language or playing a musical instrument, the avenues are unlimited. The ideas that you develop or come across while being engaged in a creative activity can be a source of personal or professional improvement. So hobbies do not just offer you relaxation but also self-discovery and satisfaction. Your social network can improve with hobbies as you might connect with people who are interested in the same activities that you are.

Together, the benefits of pursuing a hobby have one profound impact - they improve mental well being. Engaging in a hobby keeps the mind active, the spirits high and the stress levels low. Continuous learning, positive social interactions and happiness chemicals slow down the ageing process of the brain and reduce the risk of cognitive ailments such as Alzheimer. Mental well being also means lesser risk of blood pressure and heart attacks.

What a delight if you are able to turn your hobby into your vocation. "Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!" says Professor Higgins in George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion". Some people do not restrict their hobby to leisure time but build their own enterprise pursuing their hobby skills. So what starts as a curious exploration of interests could ultimately become your profession or business.

Hobbies play an important role in ensuring a smooth transition from work life to retirement life. After retirement, people often find it difficult to pass time and feeling of worthlessness grips them. Pursuing a hobby keeps you gainfully occupied and maintains your self-worth.

If you do not have a hobby, do not worry; it's never too late to develop one. Start with a few activities that you think you have always wanted to pursue, eventually you will find your pick. Find out if your locality or community has any hobby courses or groups of your choice. Joining such groups will help you develop your skills and expand your social circle.

Pursuing a hobby is one of the important positive lifestyle choices you can make to improve the quality of your life.

Pursuing a hobby is good for you

  • Engaging in a hobby is relaxing and rewarding. It improves your mental well being.
  • Hobby is any activity that you enjoy doing. It could be gardening, collecting object, crafts, solving puzzles etc.
  • Allocate at least a few hours every week for your hobby.
  • Meet people who are interested in the same hobby. Exchange of ideas and social interaction is good for developing your hobby as well as people network.
  • If you can find ways of making money by pursuing your hobby it's a bonanza.
  • For women it's a good way to cope up with the 'empty nest' syndrome.

Health Initiative from KS Oils