One should never underestimate the beneficial effects of developing a satisfying and healthy hobby. Numerous health experts tout the multiple physical and emotional benefits of maintaining a special interest in some activity. In fact, it is estimated that having a successful hobby may add as much as 2 years to your life, about the same as having regular vacations. Not quite as amazing as the added 6.1 years added by flossing your teeth but impressive enough. Involvement in a satisfying hobby is like a mini-vacation you get to take over and over. Learning something new is a definite brain booster and helps hold off problems like Alzheimer’s.
Consider dusting off previous interests and finding new outlets for exercise and creativity. If you just don’t enjoy your current hobby, explore new interests and talk with people who are passionate about what they enjoy doing with their leisure time. Try and look for lifetime hobbies, one’s that can sustain you as you get older. Hobbies are a great way to meet other people and building social networks is another excellent way of avoiding depression and stress.
I have enjoyed photography for a long time. I think this interest arose from my Grandfather who was always taking pictures at family gatherings and used impressive equipment for so long ago like a handheld light meter and flash bulbs that popped really loud and emitted just a hint of smoke. Digital photography puts much better photos within reach of us all, if we can figure out the auto-focus and step away from the auto-program mode. It took me a while to realize that photography really was my hobby and even longer to admit that it was OK to spend a lot of time on something that stretched my mind, improved my creativity, and as we now know added about 2 years to my life that worry in medical school surely took away. I encourage you to find your interest and maybe even your passion and let this wonderful thing called a hobby help de-stress and improve your health as well.