Learning to play the piano or making homemade cinnamon rolls are more than fun weekend activities. They are hobbies for anxiety that relieve stress, center you, and make you feel better. Indeed, when you regularly engage in an activity you love, it refocuses your attention from worrying about the past and future and allows you to connect to the present moment. It’s an act of self-care that provides fun and freedom. Ready to find one you love?
What Are The Benefits of Hobbies For Anxiety?
Whether training for a marathon or binge-reading a series like Game of Thrones is your jam, research shows hobbies provide several mental health benefits.
- Higher rates of happiness
- Reduces stress, blood pressure, and heart rate
- Enhances wellbeing
- Decreases depression and anxiety
14 Stress-Relieving Hobbies For Anxiety
1. Go green
Learning to take care of plants can be a rewarding and nurturing hobby. Whether it’s an herb garden in your kitchen or a small outdoor gardening space, you will receive many rewards when you get a green thumb. For example, plants absorb indoor toxins, ease your stress and boost your self-esteem. Simply paying attention to the small details of your garden reduces negative thoughts and feelings.
2. Yoga, weights, or sports?
Besides the obvious physical benefits, exercise positively impacts your mental wellbeing and reduces anxiety. It’s a win-win. So, find an activity you love and make it part of your weekly routine. Ideas include walking, boxing, lifting weights, yoga, barre workouts, swimming, or joining a local sports team.
When you think of hobbies, you probably imagine active pursuits. But meditation is just as much a hobby as another item on this list. Even more, it’s also great to practice to reduce anxiety. To begin, sit or lay down for a few minutes each day, focus on your inhale and exhale, and if a thought pops up, acknowledge it and return to your breath. If you need help, follow a guided meditative practice or breathing exercises for anxiety.
4. Journal or write
Writing is always a great option to reduce anxiety. Whether you write a poem, a short story, or keep a private journal for your thoughts, it’s a vehicle for creative expression and mindfulness that lets you release your thoughts to paper.
5. Paint, draw, or color
Getting in touch with your artistic side is a great way to relieve anxious thoughts. For example, sculpting, painting, or drawing lowers stress levels, promotes relaxation, and triggers positive memories. Take an art class or buy an adult coloring book – both options will provide stress management benefits.
6. Get lost in a book
A great book can whisk you away to another place filled with adventure, fantasy, romance, and intrigue. Bonus, it’s also beneficial for your mental health. Indeed, it improves social cognition, reduces anxiety, and enhances your wellbeing. Check out your reading list and pick one to start receiving the benefits.
7. Count the birds
Have you ever seen The Big Year? It’s a true story about three birders who find purpose and meaning in their life through bird watching. Besides being a great movie, it shows how meditative and relaxing bird watching can be. Studies also show getting outside and finding birds reduces stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. So, go for a hike and see how many you can spot.
8. Cook something delicious
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make homemade Italian pasta or French desserts like crème brûlée or pain au chocolat? This is your opportunity to start. There’s something satisfying and comforting about gathering ingredients and eating a meal you crafted with your hands. It’s also a mindful experience that helps you forget about your concerns.
9. Capture the world
Thankfully, taking photos is an accessible and budget-friendly hobby that relieves anxiety and connects you to nature. To begin, go for a walk and look at the world around you. While you’re walking, if you see anything that ignites a rush of creativity or you see something beautiful, snap a shot with your phone. You will be surprised at how differently the world looks when you become mindful of the small things we take for granted.
Volunteering is one of the best stress-relieving hobbies for anxiety because when you’re engaged in the present moment helping others, you’re not paying attention to your concerns. In fact, when we help others, we get a rush of feel-good hormones that boost our spirits and counteract cortisol, the stress hormone. So, contact a local animal shelter, call non-profit organizations, or think about the impact you want to make, and go for it!
11. Play an instrument
Learning to play an instrument is a powerful anxiety-reducing hobby. It captures your attention, strengthens your memory, keeps you mentally sharp, relieves negative thoughts, and gives you an outlet for creative expression. Find an instrument you love and give it a try.
12. Cuddle animals
What feels better than cuddling your pet or petting a sweet puppy at a park? Studies show playing and interacting with animals reduces stress-related hormones and positively impacts our mental health. If you don’t have a pet at home, try volunteering at a local shelter to walk dogs and cuddle kittens – sounds like the perfect situation to feel better.
13. Dance your heart out
Putting on your favorite tunes and letting loose is a great way to relieve anxiety. While many feel pressured or embarrassed to dance, do what feels right for you. If that means dancing around your house with your dog, then, by all means, go for it. Don’t worry about how you look. Instead, focus on the mood-boosting effects. Dancing engages the mind, releases endorphins, and inspires you to be creative – triple win!
14. Get creative
If none of the items on this list spark an interest, that’s okay. What matters most is that you find something you love. Therefore, use this time to get creative and explore. For example, try candle-making, calligraphy, opera singing, martial arts, knitting, or even coffee art with your latte foam. The sky’s the limit.
There you have it, a list of hobbies for anxiety that will make you feel wonderful. And while everyone has different interests, trying a new hobby can positively impact your mental health. Explore and find the one that brings you joy, centers you, and relieves your concerns.
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