A “hobby” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure,” so what that looks for you might be totally different than the next person, and that’s ok! What counts is that your hobby is fun, enriching, or somehow beneficial for you.
And whether it’s gardening, crafting, or playing an instrument, hobbies become even more important as we get older. One recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine even found that having a hobby is linked with not only fewer depressive symptoms in people 65 and up, but also higher levels of happiness, self-reported health, and life satisfaction.
No matter your age, though, according to licensed therapist Lair Torrent, LMFT, we all have a “growing edge” to cultivate—AKA some area of our lives where there’s an opportunity to improve. Torrent says figuring out a hobby that aligns with your growing edge can help you focus on yourself and find more joy in your life.
Hobbies can help you tap into the present and work with your flow state. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the founding psychologist of “flow” research, says that “the way to happiness lies not in mindless hedonism but in mindful challenge.” Engaging with a challenging hobby, then, can be rewarding and contribute to positive feelings of achievement.
So without further ado, let’s get into all the hobbies there are to try.