Dr Balu Pitchiah MBBS, MRCPsych, CCST,MBA (OXON)



Could Your Hobby Help With Anxiety?

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A wide range of different approaches can be used to treat anxiety, but a recent review of the scientific evidence has suggested that enjoying a hobby such as knitting could have a dramatic effect. Knitting is a particularly good hobby for our mental health as it has been shown to help with everything from our cognitive abilities to our mood. However, there are plenty of other hobbies that can have a beneficial effects too if knitting isn’t your thing.


How Can Hobbies Help With Anxiety?

Hobbies can be the perfect way to de-stress and distract yourself from your worries. Hobbies give you something to focus on, so they can give you a lot of the same benefits as meditation or mindfulness. A hobby is something that you have chosen for yourself and that you can feel in control of, although the best hobbies can teach you to let go too when something doesn’t quite go to plan.

Tips for Choosing the Right Hobby

If you are looking for a hobby to help alleviate your anxiety, there are a few key things you should keep in mind:

  • Something that keeps both your body and mind occupied will usually work better than something that only uses one of these: try gardening, drawing or painting, hiking, cooking or yoga.
  • Most people benefit more from a calming or relaxing hobby than from something that boosts their adrenaline, but everyone is different
  • Choose something that you enjoy. You should feel better during and after you do it, and you should look forward to your next chance.
  • If you relax more around other people than alone, look for a more sociable hobby or find a local or online group that enjoys the same thing
  • Don’t feel like you have to be an expert. You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it and getting better at something that challenges you can be more enjoyable than doing something you’re already good at.

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