Having a hobby you enjoy is about more than passing time doing something you love. Engaging in hobbies can have a serious impact on your quality of life, level of fulfillment, and even stress levels! Whether you have lots of favorite pastimes or are looking for your next passion project, we’ll explore some of the top benefits of hobbies and give you some strategies to find a new hobby you love.
Health Benefits of Hobbies
Doing something you love feels good in the moment, but did you know it may have long-lasting psychological and physical benefits? According to a 2010 study, individuals who engaged in hobbies more frequently reported greater life satisfaction, life engagement, and social support. At the same time, these individuals reported lower depression and had reduced blood pressure and cortisol levels compared to individuals who engaged in hobbies less frequently.1 The same study found that participating in many types of hobbies could provide some buffer against the negative impacts of stress.
Create a Social Life
There’s a reason why book clubs, bowling leagues, and other hobbies are social events - sharing a passion is a natural way to create a connection! In addition to all the benefits of social connections, research indicates that leisure activities are associated with enhanced social relationships, physical health, and psychological well-being.2
Support Cognitive Function
Engaging in hobbies or other meaningful activities, like volunteering, can expose you to new skills, experiences, and challenges. Participating in mentally-stimulating hobbies, like reading, problem-solving, or other intellectual challenges, are known to enhance cognitive functions like reasoning, memory, and processing, and may provide some protection for brain structures responsible for cognitive function.3 4 5
How To Find A New Hobby You Love
If you don’t have a hobby you love, don’t worry! It’s never too late to experiment and try something new. If you’re not sure where to start, try these tips:
1. Transform Your Activities Into A Hobby
Think about what you currently enjoy spending time doing, even if you wouldn’t classify it as a hobby. Have you watched every cooking competition on Netflix? Maybe it’s time to sign up for a cooking class or work your way through a new cookbook. Do you love playing with your dog? Try volunteering with a rescue animal organization. Do you enjoy reading about historical or pop culture facts? Consider signing up for a local trivia team. By starting with something you already like doing, you’re likely to find a hobby you love.
2. Go Back to the Past
It can be easy to leave behind our beloved hobbies when work, life, and social obligations get in the way. Think back to what you loved doing as a kid before life got busy. If you loved putting on shows for your friends and family, look into a local theater or improv group. Did you spend hours finger-painting? Sign up for in-person or virtual art classes to flex those skills. Revisiting what you loved as a kid can help reignite your passion and encourage you to jump into a new hobby.
3. Think of What You Want More Of
Thinking about what you want more of in your daily life can be a great way to find potential hobbies. If you sit all day and crave movement, sign up for a group exercise class! Want to travel the world? Enroll in a language class to bring the world to your doorstep.
4. Keep Trying Everything
The truth is, until you actually start your hobby, you’ll never know if you’ll truly love it or not. You may think scrapbooking is the perfect hobby for you - until it becomes overwhelming or monotonous. If your first few attempts to find a hobby don’t work, that’s okay! Not every activity will be a slam dunk. To find a pastime you truly love, try a bit of everything and see what sticks. If you hate it, cross it off the list and move on. If you love it, keep at it!
It may take some time to find a new hobby you love, but don’t give up. Keep putting yourself out there and trying new things. You’ll learn more about yourself, meet new people, and enjoy the many health benefits associated with following your passions.