Can a hobby help battle anxiety? The art of discovering something you love...

20th February, 2021
Living life alongside anxiety, can be a tremendously difficult and exhausting experience, often leading to a lack of motivation and desire to do anything other than basic survival. Lockdown has tested the mental health of everyone, but there is something to be said for partaking in a hobby that might just be the golden ticket to healthy distraction from the complexity of mental health disorder. Not only does mastering a new skill or two helps your conscious brain by offering a solid distraction, the act of consistently engaging in a hobby can help to relax the body and mind by tuning in to the parasympathetic nervous system and helping you to find a more neutral go-to.

Studies show that 'engaging in creative behaviour such as a hobby leads to increases in wellbeing that last until the next day', showing the positive upward spiral that can be achieved if you add these activities to your routine regularly. Finding the motivation to do even the simplest of tasks can be so difficult for those suffering with anxiety, but any baby steps in the right direction toward breaking your normal routine and trying something new can all be seen as positives.

Photography is one of the best hobbies to help in battling anxiety as well as other mental disorders. Creating beautiful images is amazing Learning new skills is fulfilling, it will take you to places you’ve never been before to have the perfect shot. You will learn to see the beauty around you and most importantly it will get you out of your house!

Whether it be journaling about your worries or taking yourself to another destination altogether, getting thoughts down on a page is something that can help quiet the brain and grant a moment of clarity. Writing and well as typing go hand by hand and are both just as effective. I started writing this blog 6 year ago to help me express my self, and I have to say it has been a wonderful journey so far. Here’s why you should try blogging: You can blog about everything and connect with other people on your wave! You can blog anonymously so that no one knows it's you! It helps to put your ideas in order. It holds you accountable. You will meet amazing people! It's a great way to take a break from the every day!

People who know me well are aware that I love to spend time in my garden, whether it's relaxing with a cuppa, de-weeding my garden or planting new flowers, trimming the grass you name it! Here’s why you should try gardening: It’s a workout, so your brain will create happy chemicals. You will feel proud of yourself when you see the results! It will get you out of the house to get some fresh air. You will want to hang out in your garden more often, just add a relaxing and comfy lounger and grab a magazine to read!

Art therapy is a real thing, and you don’t need to be in formal counselling to feel the benefits. Using different artistic mediums to express your feelings is a great way of venting and channelling emotions that might feel hard to vocalise verbally. One of my best friend recently started painting on canvas to release some trapped stressed and tension - and doesn't she love it! She described it as one of the most therapeutic thing she has ever done and she looks forward to it every day, alongside of a great form of therapy - she creates the most beautiful art of naked women of all body and shape - all from the top of her head. Another friend started to create her own wax melts, she loves working with oils and even some glitter, she enjoys the process and finds it a relaxing experience that helps her to just take a break from every day life.

There’s nothing better than dancing! You can dance at home, in a club or at the gym. You can even take up Zumba or other dancing classes. It is pure fun, and boosts your mood and confidence like nothing else!

In states of dissociation and extreme low mood, it’s easy to feel like the world is moving on around you whilst you’re standing still. Using grounding techniques can help redirect your brain from distressing thoughts and allow you to come into your body and calm the mind. Yoga and Pilates are wonderful, mindful hobbies to take up and require no equipment.

The pubs and clubs might be closed but come hell or high water, we’ll still be bopping around the kitchen with a drink in hand. Tension and uneasiness are common feelings that can manifest in the body of those struggling with anxiety, but dancing freely or committing a routine to memory (yes a TikTok dance does count) can free up headspace by dispelling nervous energy, and release mood boosting-chemicals that unlock a portal to a calmer mind.