Many people are plagued by anxiety and stress in their daily lives. Whether you have a serious anxiety disorder or simply suffer from chronic stress due to work, relationships, or financial issues, it’s important to find a way to mentally relax. One of the best ways to do this is with a stress-reducing hobby. This can keep your mind focused on something fun and even alleviate your anxiety.
Of course, some hobbies are better than others for anxiety and stress. While some people find that physical activities help, sometimes it’s better to have something calm and peaceful to destress. It’s also best to avoid anything mentally strenuous that could end up frustrating you. Fortunately, there’s a good option for everyone!
Here are 10 hobbies to help reduce stress and anxiety:
1. Drawing and Coloring
If you haven’t tried drawing or coloring since you were a kid, you’ll be surprised at just how soothing it can be. This helps your mind focus on something other than your daily woes and worries and also allows you to let out your creative side.
There’s a lot you can do with a sketchbook and some pens or pencils. You might want to start by watching a few sketching tutorials on YouTube and trying them for yourself. Once you’ve picked up the basics, you’ll find yourself doodling with ease. Alternatively, you might want to destress by slowly filling in a coloring book.
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Another highly productive yet relaxing hobby you can try is writing. You might find that putting paper to pen or even writing online helps calm your mind significantly. Plus, whether you want to write your thoughts down, make a story, or even write for money, you can write what you enjoy.
Many people find journaling helpful for handling stress. A 2018 study by JM Smyth even found that journaling online for 45 minutes a week helped significantly increase positive thoughts and reduce symptoms of depression within a month.
Cooking is another good way to relieve your boredom and anxiety. It keeps you focused without being too strenuous and you can find all kinds of incredible recipes online. You can even use a recipe app.
You could even learn to start cooking healthy meals. Not only is this a fun way to get into cooking, but eating healthily can also do wonders for your mental health. Alternatively, you might want to get into baking and start making delicious treats like brownies and cookies to boost your mood.
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4. Learning an Instrument
Learning an instrument can be incredibly fun. Even if you sound terrible at first, this is a hobby that becomes extremely rewarding as you learn to play your first song and eventually learn many others.
Whether you choose the guitar, piano, violin, or even the harmonica, you can find tons of tutorials on YouTube to help you learn. Not only is this entertaining and rewarding, but it can be incredibly soothing to sit back and start playing your favorite music.
Although swimming can be strenuous, you don’t have to jump in the pool and start racing laps. If you take your time slowly making your way from one end of the pool to the other, this is one of the best ways to reduce your anxiety and take your mind off everything.
Swimming can be an incredibly tranquil hobby and even give you time to think. You can float on your back and enjoy the cool water as you swim your cares away. Plus, you can use a local pool or even swim at a local lake or beach if you find it more peaceful.
Some people think of gardening as a hobby for retired folk, but there’s a good reason why so many people get into gardening. Not only is it rewarding to watch your garden grow, but gardening is amazing for reducing your anxiety and stress levels.
Planting your favorite flowers, fruits, and vegetables can be both soothing and rewarding. Plus, you’ll get to reap the rewards later. A 2015 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology even found that spending time in your garden can significantly enhance your mood and focus.
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If you just want to lay down, relax, and take your mind elsewhere, then reading is probably the best hobby for you. Reading allows you to relax both mentally and physically, and a good story can have incredible benefits for your mental health.
A 2009 study from the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. What’s more, keeping your mind focused on something can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Whether you enjoy novels or self-help books, sit back and read when you start to feel anxious.
Photography is another fantastic hobby that everyone should try. Nature photography can help you get in touch with the great outdoors and relieve your stress by taking on hiking trails and finding the best viewpoints to get incredible photos.
Even taking photos at home can be fun. You might want to boost your mood by taking a photoshoot with your dog or take fun selfies. You don’t need expensive gear to enjoy photography either, although you might want to invest in a good-quality camera if taking photos becomes a regular hobby for you.
9. Video Gaming
In the past, video gaming was often seen as a waste of time. Nowadays, it’s considered to be one of the best activities for your mental health. A 2020 research review in the Games for Health Journal noted that games can be incredibly effective for reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Taking on a single-player story campaign allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. You can also play multiplayer games with friends for fun. Whichever way, find a game you enjoy and this can be a highly effective hobby for helping you relieve your stress in your spare time.
10. Listening To Music
If you want a completely passive hobby that allows you to simply lay back and take your mind somewhere else, try listening to music. You can create a playlist to invoke the right mood and start listening whenever you start to feel stressed or anxious.
You can even enhance your music listening sessions with some new gear. Noise-canceling headphones are perfect for reducing distractions and improving relaxation. You can also listen to audiobooks and podcasts if you prefer.
Whether you want to learn something new, create something, or simply relax and distract your mind, these are ten of the best hobbies to reduce stress and anxiety, and even boredom. All of these can be effective for improving your mental health, so find out which ones you enjoy and make time for them regularly.
Writing is one of my biggest stress reducers. I love to dig deep and really get to the meat of the matter.
Cooking and listening to music are what I do. Great post.
I love music and reading. I don’t read a lot as I am in a lack of time. But music is always present in my life!
Writing is my job, so it’s not a hobby or downtime at all. Ha! I just started taking pottery, which I love!
Love this! I am a big writer, reader and gym goer!
For me its reading! Whenever I read I instantly feel calmer!
Cooking and listening to music are definitely my top 2!
These are great ideas! Personally, I find writing, coloring, and crafting helpful. Reading is also very effective as it can help us get that sweet escape from reality.
I used to love gardening, then I switched to video games. I’m about to try watercolor painting, even though I’m not artistic.
I love writing and reading! We do have a garden, but I see that as more of a chore.
I’ve been cooking a lot more lately, and it really calming and rewarding. Thanks for sharing!
These are all really great tips and ideas! I will surely keep this in mind
I enjoy a few of these hobbies on your list. I try to spend at least 30 min daily on a task from this list. It helps keep my mental health in check.
This is such an amazing list, I love capturing photos.
You have an awesome list here. I find reading helps calm me down a lot.
Great things to do, the coloring and drawing are fun things to do. These are all good things to do for stress.
Nnniiiiccceeee…these are very good. Does walking qualify here? I love it and it helps me out a lot. Thanks for sharing about it.
Indeed all these activities work towards stress reduction. Tried everything except video gaming.
Writing and reading are my go-to when I am stressed. I always feel good after journaling my thoughts.
Photography and reading are the ones that most resonate with me. I would be happy to do both on a regular (relaxing) basis. 🙂
I love to garden to reduce stress. It’s a great way to unwind. Coloring is also super relaxing.
When I have free time in the morning, I garden outside. It is a relaxing activity plus you get some vitamin D.