The Mental Health Benefit of Hobbies.


(Image courtesy of Bing)

We are all born with different bodies and brains. I am in no way knowledgeable when it comes to the field of biology, but my understanding of who human beings are as individuals is that we are born with predispositions toward our likes and dislikes. Our bodies, so intricately interwoven with our brains, play their parts in what activities, physical or mental, we may like and are good at. Our brains, so intricately interwoven with our bodies, also play their parts in determining what activities we like and what we are good at. Of course, environmental factors play a massive part in influencing what hobbies we pursue throughout our lives as well.

My favourite hobby has to be football (soccer). I play a game of six-a-side every Thursday. Unfortunately, it is the only hour  I play each week. I have been meaning to join a club but have never got around to it. My inspiration for writing this post is the feeling I experience while playing. With the ball at my feet, the whole world stops and all there is, all that exists, is the ball, and what I am going to do with it. I find it rare to be in a state of such engrossment but playing football causes this in me. A state of total focus. But what does this mean exactly?

In my case, it means my body moves quicker than my mind or at least, that is how it feels. In terms of doing my part to win a game, this can produce mixed results. The focus described above can cause moments of instinctive movement that are an absolute joy to experience. Conversely, it can cause me to trip over the ball and lose it, which happens several times a game! The only thing I can liken this instinct to is how the terminators in the movies of the same name see things. Vision is capable of locking onto a key empty space in the wall of bodies on the pitch that can be exploited or a runner is sensed to the left or the right along the wings. But the body is not always capable of doing as the mind directs, which is often down to meddlesome opponents doing their best to get the ball for themselves.  If I try to run for too long, somebody will generally tackle me and get the ball. But keeping the ball until just the opportune time to pass or shoot can be the difference between winning and losing. Being involved in a series of passes that leads to a goal is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, whether I am the scorer or not.

An activity that allows us to focus and thus let go of everything else for a brief period must be a boon for our mental health and our general well-being. Everybody has something which allows them to do so, in my opinion, be it sport, playing a musical instrument, reading a great book or something else. It is important that we don’t neglect these parts of our lives. On a winter evening it can be so easy to choose to stay in, or having become tired of practicing the same old songs over and over again on an instrument, to choose to forego a rehearsal session. But our brains benefit from being stimulated and challenged by the activities we love and that is very important nowadays, when we can find ourselves devoted rather unhappily to tasks we must perform to make a living. Keep loving your hobbies!       

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue C. says:

    I agree. Hobbies are important and as I get older I’m finding it even more important to keep the old brain active. Hence I blog, when I’m not involved in writing a novel, and the old body can’t take winter activities so I exercise the brain. 🙂
    Thanks for becoming one of my followers.

  2. Thanks for reading, Sue! You are very welcome, as I’ve said before, I enjoy your posts. 🙂

  3. Joey Zompaws says:

    I couldn’t agree more. What is more, neglecting hobbies really can have a negative effect. I refused to do any art for almost 2 years post university, initially it had been lack of motivation and inspiration. Then the lack of being creative its self was the issue, I became depressed and frustrated that what was in my head wasn’t coming out. Hence my new years resolution to do more art in 2013! It truly has helped.

    1. You have fantastic artwork, it really drew me in. Fair play to you 🙂

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