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Hobbies Help Your Brain

Yes, I said it, its okay to have a hobby and take time to play. Your work will thank you.

"You have worked hard, you have found success in your career, you can't take time for anything but work or you won't find success." That statement will lead to burnout very quickly, along with someone who has high stress, chronic stress related diseases, anger issues and depression.

If you were brought up in a family like a lot of us, your parents raised you thinking that taking time for anything but your betterment or chores, was a waste of time. Particularly if you were raised in a home with busy, career focused parents or a family with several siblings. Taking time to play may have been discouraged. I am here to tell you that it is okay, in fact recommended to take some time to find a hobby and do something you enjoy.

Studies have found that having a hobby that you do even once a week will lower your cortisol and blood pressure and bring a sense of meaning and joy to your life. Hobbies provide an outlet for stress and actually use a different part of your brain, the reward system. "When we take part in a hobby that we enjoy, chemical messengers in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) are released – such as dopamine, a chemical which helps us feel pleasure" notes Dr Ciara McCabe in a recent article.

How To Start A Hobby?

If you find it difficult to get started doing a hobby, take baby steps. If you are interested in Photography but not sure you will enjoy, start with the camera on your phone. Take a walk outside and start taking some pictures of scenery, birds, your dog. If you like what you see and want to expand, most camera stores sell used equipment. Start easy with a basic camera and then take an inexpensive on-line course. The good news is that no photographer is perfect, just get out there an enjoy taking the photo.

If you want to start running, don't push yourself to run 5 miles in the first two weeks, that will lead to injury and burnout. Start by walking, then run for three blocks and walk for two blocks. Anything physical that you want to start, we recommend you get a physical and check with your doctor.

What about knitting or painting? Don't know where to start, go to a hobby store. In the US and Canada, Michael's is a great place to start. Ask advise from store employees on what you might need to start, and again, take an inexpensive online course or if pandemic protocols allow, take a course at a local school or through a local organization. Not only will you learn something new and expand your brain, you will meet new people that have nothing to do with work.

The best step you can take is to just start and don't get frustrated with your progress, you are doing this for no one but yourself. Enjoy the journey and the reward will find you.

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