What the mind thinks, the heart feels, giving rise to words, actions, and experiences. A healthier mind gives rise to healthier emotions, words, actions, and experiences. And this is where hobbies come in.
Are you curious about living through choice? How about learning to make yourself a priority? It’s easy when you decide to gift yourself one hour out of the 24 you get at the beginning of each day.
How do hobbies help mental health? A happy heart feeds a healthier mind and hobbies can make you more engaged, following the one-a-day formula. Think of them as vitamins for your mind and heart.
When you commit to do something for yourself and fulfill that commitment, you keep a promise to yourself. The child in you feels happier and the adult in you is motivated to show up again tomorrow and go on the second date.
The more you show up on this date with yourself and spend time on a hobby, the easier it gets to continue to improve your mental health and well-being. Buddha calls it the magic of continuity. And as a hypnotherapist, I would say that’s the power of a habit. It’s the way to activate a healthy biorhythm.
Here are 7 tiny hobbies that will make you mentally healthier than most people:
1. Go on walks
Besides physical health benefits, walking provides emotional health and mental health benefits. A walk will help you uplift your mood and make negative emotions dissipate.
Photo: Lukas Rychvalsky/Pexels
Also, walks help clear the mind and thereby create mental space for you to get creative. At times, decision-making may be strenuous. Walking helps you find answers as simple as yes or no or as complex as solving a mathematical equation.
Monday evenings are a great time to go on a walk and think ahead. You’ll find the adage “Think on your feet” to be very accurate here.
2. Tend to a garden of any size
When you work with dirt and plants, you connect with the earth, this grounds you and helps you connect with all sentient beings on earth. When you care for a garden, you are nurturing the plants and in return loving yourself. You’re happier. When you’re closer to plants, you inhale oxygen closer to the source.
Healing happens. Caring for another life makes you feel good and empowered.
You could have a garden on your patio, balcony, or even a window sill. Tuesday could be set aside for tending to your garden. You can also find friends with a common interest in gardening.
3. Sing (when no one’s listening, if you prefer)
You may say, “Oh my! I can’t sing!” and I might believe you. Let me ask you: do you like any songs? Of course, you do. Listen to the songs you like and sing along even if it’s only in your head.
They could be songs that make you happy or songs that make you cry. They are your songs and you deserve to sing them on the day you allotted for this hobby. When you sing, you feel happy. An hour of singing on a Wednesday evening could ease your way over the hump day.
This hobby has many benefits. Reading stimulates you mentally, inspires you, and helps you look at the same situation in more than one way.
When you read, you step out of your world and step into someone else’s. You learn to empathize with others.
The more you read, the more you remember. This helps improve your memory not just with what you read but everything else that you feel is important. Your concentration improves and you learn new words.
Thursday evenings with a good book help you slip into Friday nice and easy.
5. Dance (when no one’s looking, if you prefer)
Like walking, dancing is an aerobic exercise. Have you seen a sad dancer at the end of their dance? Dancing makes you happy and a happier person enjoys better mental health.
If you believe you are not a good dancer, put your headphones on, close all your curtains and doors, and dance to your favorite songs for an hour a week. There’s no wrong way of dancing when there is a song in your heart.
Friday evenings are a great time to go on a dancing date with a friend or on your own.
6. Write in a gratitude journal or work on a scrapbook
Writing is my medicine, but it might not be yours. Still, you can spend an hour a week writing down what you’re grateful for from the previous week. Give thanks for your meals, the people you met, and more. Even when you have a very bad day, when you look, you can find at least one thing you learned and one thing you’re grateful for. So, give thanks.
You could write your own weekly op-ed on anything you fancy. Dreams and fantasies are also great concepts to write about in your weekly hour. Studies have shown that writing helps rewire your neurons and improve mental health.
Saturday mornings are a great time to write. If you are totally against writing, you can create an annual scrapbook by working at it an hour a week.
7. Do yoga and meditation
Western science has proven that yoga is good for the human mind. You might already know this or might be new to it. Keep an hour a week aside to do yoga for thirty minutes and then meditate for thirty minutes afterward.
Sunday could be a good day to connect with your higher self through the act of yoga and meditation.
Yoga is meant to unite the mind and body. It also allows a connection with the divine. Meditation after yoga helps you quickly drop into the silence.
Now that you have a list of options, go ahead and take part in a couple of them per week.
An hour a day on a unique hobby isn’t too much to gift yourself, is it?
Keya Murthy M.S., C.Ht. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Spiritual Life Coach, and Energy Medicine Practitioner. She supports her clients in meeting their goals in the area of personal growth and spiritual healing.