Top 10 Hobbies for a Calmer You

By:Ariba Khaliq, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Dec 29, 2014

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Different people have different hobbies and whichever you enjoy, works towards making your mind calm and serene. By indulging in your hobby, you forget about the things that bother you in day-to-day life. Here are top 7 common hobbies of people that are great stress-busters.
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    Hobbies to Calm an Overactive Mind

    Enjoying a hobby is a magical way to calm an overactive mind. It helps you to unwind from your busy, stressful life and clear your mental plate. Hobbies bring on relaxation and provide a mental state like that in meditation so that you can shut out everything that bothers you. Simply put, hobbies induce a mental state characterized by complete absorption and enjoyment by involving your creative abilities. Also, creativity and an open mind to new possibilities are ignited by your hobbies. A productive hobby can even help you redefine yourself. So, just rekindle an old interesting hobby or cultivate a new one to lift your spirits and tune into the real you. Here are the top 7 hobbies that can help calm your mind.

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    Music

    Perhaps the most common medium of art and healing, music, both listening to and composing it help relieve stress and calm your mind. According to studies, music therapy reduces anxiety, improves cognitive health, decreases pain and promotes feelings of power.  In fact, rhythmic music may have a therapeutic effect for treating a range of neurological conditions as it stimulates the brain and may even change brain function, indicate research by Stanford University. Enjoy kind music with a familiar melody to reduce your level of the stress hormone cortisol, and prevent it from wrecking havoc on your mind and body. Playing musical instruments also helps you express yourself and relieve tension. Slow beats, in particular, are associated with meditative states as they encourage slow brainwaves.

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    Gardening

    Just the simple act of being out in nature is an enjoyable experience that soothes your soul. The sounds, the smell, the breeze and the sunlight- all of these help calm your mind and improve your mood. Plus, the repetitive nature of gardening tasks soothes your mind. It may sound bizarre, but the bacteria in soil may help activate brain cells to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin that works like an antidepressant, suggest scientists. Researchers believe the bacteria in soil can help increase learning behaviour, too. In fact, gardening also contributes to your physical health as activities like digging, planting, weed pulling and harvesting strengthen your bones and muscles.

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    Painting

    A beautiful and soothing way to tranquilise your mind is to paint. It uses different colours that have different energy levels and can significantly impact your mood. Blue, for instance, is associated with calmness, purple with creativity and meditation, green with freshness, yellow with optimism, orange with vitality, red with passion, and so on. Painting is an entertaining hobby that opens up your creative outlet and makes your mind sharper. You can release your pent-up tension and anger through painting. There is also a thing called meditative painting. Just take a minute to reflect on your thoughts and feelings and paint abstractly without references and with no known conclusion. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had rightly said, “There is no better deliverance from the world than through art; and a man can form no surer bond with it than through art.”

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    Crafting

    Working on craft projects, such as sewing, knitting, scrapbooking and a wide range of DIY projects, is another interesting hobby that keeps you occupied and puts your mind at ease. During crafting exercises, you focus on a particular item or pattern and thus forget the things that stress your mind. The pent-up energy and frustration is released through this creative outlet. Indulge in crafting because it acts as an antidepressant and even protects your brain from aging. In a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81.5% of the participants (3,500 knitters worldwide) with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. The activation of the parasympathetic nervous system that counteracts the “fight or flight” reaction when you knit, can be the reason behind this.

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    Photography

    Another creative and fun hobby that can also prove to be productive, is photography. Seeing the world through a photographer’s lens can be a deeply contemplative practice as you begin to see things differently. Photography takes your focus off of yourself and involves finding beauty and purpose in everything makes the art soothing and satisfying. Plus, your pictures will help you continually appreciate the beautiful side of life and train your mind to keep a positive outlook.

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    Reading and Writing

    In order to relax, both reading and writing are common hobbies that people use. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Sussex showed that reading can be the best way to relax. Simply reading a newspaper or book, even for just 6 minutes, can be enough to reduce stress levels by 68%. It helps slow down the heart rate and ease muscle tension. On the other hand, writing down your emotions and reactions to things going on in your life in a journal can help you clarify your thoughts, making them less stressful. Studies have also found that creative expression promotes wellness and healing.

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    Cooking

    A great stress buster, cooking is pleasurable and stress-busting. It almost works as a therapy to clear your mind and serves as a creative outlet. Simply cutting and chopping food can be a great calming ritual. And it is not just the immediate gratification that cooking offers, but also the good sensory experience because of all the aroma, flavours, visual delight and sizzling sounds is a benefit of donning the chef’s cap. The fact that it allows you to nurture others makes it all the more meaningful and fun.

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