How hobbies can bring happiness – and maybe romance!
Being passionate about travel has also been found to be beneficial to overall happiness. In fact, you don’t even have to be travelling to get the travel high; people anticipating an upcoming getaway have been shown to rate themselves as feeling happier than those with no plans to look forward to. Having the travel bug also has an extra bonus – it makes you more attractive to the opposite sex! A recent eHarmony study found that living and working abroad both increased perceived attractiveness by 10%, while one in five Brits find the ability to speak another language appealing.
Exercise is also a great hobby, and one that helps with happiness and attraction. Just 30 minutes of exercise can provide a boost in happiness levels. And when it comes to attraction, it’s football that appeals most to both men and women. If you’re not a fan, then swimming and sweating it out at a military-style boot camp also score high with both genders – the latter is definitely worth keeping in mind as exercising outside has been shown to be 15% better for your happiness than an indoor gym session.
When it comes to being happy, hobbies will give you a guaranteed boost, and they might even help you attract romance.
Recently, research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology has confirmed that valuing your time more than the pursuit of money leads to feelings of greater wellbeing. And the very best way to value your time is to spend it wisely; whether that be exercising, socialising or pursuing hobbies!
Hobbies contribute to an increase in overall happiness in a number of different ways. If you feel stressed and short of time, then, paradoxically, pursuing a hobby can help you feel like you have more time. By setting aside time in your schedule to take a gym class or attend choir practice, you will have less time to procrastinate in front of the TV or continue a work project into the night. As a result, you’ll be forced to be more efficient in carrying out tasks in order to practice your hobby, actively making the most of the time you have and making it seem much longer.
They can also be great social activities. Not only do hobbies allow you to take part in something that you enjoy, but they also help you to meet people who are just as passionate about it as you are. There have been countless studies that show the positive correlation between social connection and happiness, so it might be time to consider joining that netball team, book club or French class today.
Learning to play an instrument
As well as being a great party trick, people who play an instrument have been shown to exhibit a higher IQ than those who don’t. It also helped to improve mathematical ability, verbal memory and reading skills. Improving any skills can give you a boost in self-esteem and, in turn, a boost in happiness.
Whether you choose to attend a class or try out a YouTube tutorial, practicing yoga once or twice a week will benefit more than just your sense of balance. The exercise, combined with yogic breathing patterns, can help you to feel calmer, more grounded, and more energetic.
Playing video games
It might sound counter-intuitive, but spending an evening playing video games can be great for your happiness levels. Games, especially immersive or virtual reality games, can help you disconnect from day-to-day stress. They can also help to improve your cognitive flexibility, making it easier for you to cope with tough decisions and heavy workloads.
It’s been proven that spending time outside has a positive effect on happiness, and gardening has the added benefit of making you feel more grounded and connected to the earth. In fact, a study undertaken in the Netherlands found evidence that a bacteria found in the soil – Mycobacterium vaccae – might actually lift spirits, stimulating the immune system and boosting the production of serotonin.
If you’ve been meaning to give baking a go ever since the first series of the Great British Bake Off, then now’s the time to try it! You don’t have to create a Showstopper to get a boost in happiness; baking is great for tackling stress as it activates the senses, rather than numbs them, and allows you to be creative. The need to follow a recipe helps improve concentration, allowing you to become immersed in the task at hand and forget about any outside problems for a while.
So, if you’re serious about increasing your happiness, you should definitely take up a hobby or two. Here are a few mood-boosting suggestions: