Generally, what causes stress are situations over which we feel we have no control, but I think it is safe to say that hobbies are not particularly demanding of us and we can relax knowing that we do it because it is something we enjoy and from which we gain pleasure. Additionally, if we choose, we can usually stop doing it without any responsibilities or regrets. Often it is a pastime that we are passionate about and it fulfills a need in us, and that in itself make us feel good.
This is one of a series of stress articles that relate different areas of our life to how we cope with stress and anxiety and its various effects on our health.
Hobbies are something that we enjoy doing and we often gain a great deal of personal satisfaction from knowing that we have created or achieved something worthwhile. It is very unlikely that what causes stress will be an activity such as this, because the only pressures are those we place on ourselves and we can choose to increase or decrease those pressures whenever we want.
Whatever we choose as our hobby, it is an escape from the normal cares and worries of life and as such, is an excellent release and distraction from our everyday lives. Perhaps we enjoy woodwork or making models or scrapbooking or radio controlled cars or boats. Whatever it is, we can absorb ourselves in our hobby and feel like we have achieved something creative or satisfying. It is one area of our life where we can be absorbed in what we are doing without any pressures on us to perform to a standard. We know that we will not have to cope with any demands that we cannot handle, we can learn at our own own pace, and we can choose to do exactly as we want.
Anyone without a hobby will not be able to appreciate how much this means. To be away from the expectation of others, to be learning and experimenting, and all in an environment where we enjoy the experience. It is such a relief to have this one area of our life where we can escape and this is probably why hobbies are so popular.
What causes stress
What causes stress can often be pinned down to social and family pressures placed upon us. The time we take to involve ourselves in a hobby is often the reason we can cope with stresses put on us at other times and it helps us to manage our life better. I am not suggesting we escape from our responsibilities and duties but I am saying that periods of time when we can do what we enjoy will allow us more stress-free time and better quality of life at other times.
A fishing weekend
For example, maybe we have had a difficult day at work and our boss or a customer has been giving us a rough time. If we can come home and unwind by doing something totally different where the pressures of work are forgotten, it can often make work issues or other things appear in a better perspective. As another example, a weekend fishing not only places us in touch with nature, but also helps us soak up the fresh air, colours, sounds and ambience of the outdoors giving us a different view on our problems and we return with renewed vigour and purpose.
By allowing our subconscious to freewheel in the background while we get on with doing our hobby, we can tap into mental reserves of strength and resourcefulness that we may not have realised we possessed. If our pressures come from mentally stimulating situations, it can be particularly beneficial to have a hobby which is more along manual lines, such as gardening or fishing, or model building. Not only will this release some of our what causes stress but it will also help us to balance the left-right activities of the brain which some people believe, has an overall bearing on how we cope with stress.
Happy and healthy
So, if undue stress has become part of your life, you would be well advised to find a hobby that you enjoy and which can provide a contrasting activity to the area of your life that is causing you to feel stressed. Satisfaction and enjoyment that you experience through your hobby lead to a more relaxed and happy home environment and you will feel the benefits of your new hobby in improved health made possible by a less stressed lifestyle.