Finding Lifelong Interests and Hobbies

  • Jan 22
Finding Lifelong Interests and Hobbies

The Benefits of Hobbies

Several times over now, I’ve mentioned my hobbies. But I want to offer a bit more of a detailed explanation for their importance. When I was in sixth grade, my grandparents, on a whim, bought me a guitar for Christmas, and that gift changed my life. (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 Discover a New Passionbeen writing and playing music. My mother used to read with me every morning before school as I ate breakfast, and at the point where 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 – and shortly after that, 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. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, but not had the opportunity to learn to do it well. I’ve seen how it can help in my other hobbies, especially by sketching out scenes and characters from my novel, and have taken a serious interest in bettering that skill.

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 Benefits

Physical and Mental Benefits of HobbiesWhen it comes to 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. My drive to create music, to write, and to draw are all intrinsically motivated – they’re hobbies that I simply enjoy doing.

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. I could say, for example, that in elementary school, I was extrinsically motivated to do my math homework. I hated math – numbers aren’t my thing. But because I wanted good grades, I performed to the best of my ability – not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to avoid the punishment and repercussions of doing a poor job.

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, hobbies have the potential to 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.

The final post in this series will cover the importance of finding your passion, 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