Personal Experience Finding New Interests
Several times over now, I’ve mentioned my hobbies. But I want to offer a bit more of a detailed explanation for their importance. Because until that point, I never realized how finding new interests could so utterly change my life. When I was in sixth grade, my grandparents, bought me a guitar for Christmas. (Again, notice how individual actions can be massively impactful for other individuals, if not for the whole world). Ever since then, I’ve been in and out of various bands, most of them metal or some variant thereof. I’ve loved every minute of it, having the chance to give musical expression to my thoughts and feelings while creating something with and for other people to enjoy.
I also greatly enjoy reading and writing stories, and have even started a new blog on nerdy topics. Actually, I’ve been creating stories even longer than I’ve been writing and playing music. My mother used to read with me every morning before school as I ate breakfast. But when I wanted her to read Captain Underpants, she told me I’d have to learn to read for myself. So, in Kindergarten, I did so. Shortly afterward, I started writing my own stories, even though this didn’t develop into a serious undertaking until high school.
Finally, as mentioned in my first blog of this series about leaving a legacy, I recently began an online drawing course.
My main point in detailing these three hobbies is such: there are many things I enjoy doing, and just because I’ve had longstanding interests doesn’t mean I should keep from trying new things and continuing to learn. Chances are, if you give something different a try, you’ll discover a new passion or talent.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing
With hobbies and activities, there are at least two different types of motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the drive to perform or participate in an activity for the sake of the activity. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is the drive to perform or participate in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment. Here, the activity might not be enjoyed, but is actuated nonetheless.
When it comes to the health benefits of hobbies, my advice, is to find something you are intrinsically motivated to perform. But even extrinsically-motivated hobbies can have a positive influence on health – particularly when they are physically-active. Jogging or playing sports can greatly benefit a person’s wellness, especially since regular exercise can help stave off arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. But there’s a bit of an overlap between mental and physical health. For example, there’s an increased risk for heart attacks in people who experience prolonged episodes of mental stress. Having hobbies can help with both mental and physical health.
Because hobbies offer new challenges and experiences, they allow you to explore yourself and your talents while relieving anxiety. In some cases, finding new interests can provide additional income, as with those that are creative in nature, but need not be in order to be enjoyable or worthwhile. One particular study suggests that one of the benefits of hobbies is the ability to ward off depression. In fact, 74% of participants reported that a simply activity like knitting was both calming and therapeutic. So, even something as simple as discovering fun weekend activities can greatly help your mental and physical health. For a more comprehensive list of benefits, see this resource, or simply do a web search.
Where to Go from Here
The final post in this series will cover the importance of learning, not only for professional development, but also for personal growth, and is distinctly related to the topic of hobbies and interests. Be sure to check it out!
Article written by Braden Norwood
Last updated March 10, 2023