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Why It’s Important to Have Hobbies

hobbyIn this world of constant stimulation it’s worth a moment to stop and do something that you enjoy.

So many times we’re so overwhelmed with work and responsibilities that we hardly have time to eat, let alone do something we enjoy.

I consider myself blessed because I enjoy writing and somehow, someway I’ve managed to eek out a small living doing it. The same can’t be said for a multitude of others though. Some people have no choice but to work their fingers to the bone in some almost futile attempt to build up their situation. Some people just simply don’t have the luxury of being able to choose what they want to do with their lives. That’s where taking some time to enjoy yourself can be so beneficial. It’s worth it.

What are your hobbies? What would you be doing with your time if you didn’t have to work, if you didn’t have responsibilities? For me that would be taking pictures and being out in nature.

As much as I enjoy writing, it is still a means to an end. It is my work and it’s what I do so that I’m able to eat. If I didn’t have to worry about that though, lord knows I’d be out on a trail taking pictures of landscapes and trees.

We all need hobbies. We all need activities that we do simply for the zen of it. Even if we suck at those activities, as long as it brings us a momentary sense of joy and relaxation it’s important to have.

You may have heard of the concept of flow, essentially flow is a state of that we enter when we’re engulfed in an activity that we enjoy. In a state of flow you don’t notice how quickly time passes and you find yourself without a care in the world other than the activity at hand. It’s a great state to be in and it can be transformative if you regularly indulge.

The thing about flow is that it automatically puts a brake on all the other cares we have in the world, it takes us out of our almost constantly worried states and it gives us a much needed chance to breathe.

That’s the great thing about hobbies, they can provide that flow.

Talk to almost any creative person and they’ll extol the virtues of flow and harp on how great it is.

Many of us though, have trouble finding that flow, many of us don’t have things that take us into that state, and that’s a shame. Many of us simply spend our free time checking Facebook and binge watching the latest thing on Netflix. Surely there are better ways to spend your time.

If you don’t have something that gives you flow or something that you can claim as your hobby it’s worth investing some time to find the thing that does it for you. Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s playing an instrument, maybe it’s photography, maybe it’s drawing but I’d venture to guess that the only reason creative pursuits like this have lasted ages and ages throughout human history is that they gave their creators a moment to relax and forget about the world.

Finding flow is just as much an escape as doing drugs or drinking and I’d be lying if I said people don’t need an escape. Life is hard, we all know that. We all need some time to relax.

Hobbies keep us sane, hobbies ground us and hobbies give us the space we need to breathe.

The next time you find yourself bored or sitting with idle hands consider looking for the thing that gives you flow, consider finding your hobby. You’ll be happy you did.

Why It’s Important to Have Hobbies

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.


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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). Why It’s Important to Have Hobbies. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/two-minds/2015/03/why-its-important-to-have-hobbies/

 

Last updated: 25 Mar 2015
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