Hidden ways you can benefit from having hobbies


Special to The PREVIEW

Finding time for hobbies can be difficult. Commitments to work and family take up the bulk of many people’s free time, making it hard to squeeze in a favorite hobby. But hobbies can benefit people in some interesting ways. Understanding those hidden benefits may compel some people to make more time for their favorite downtime activities.

• Hobbies can improve your efficiency. Penciling more activities into your day planner may not seem like something that will help you create more time for hobbies, but it just might. For example, if you know you have a softball game or choir practice at night, then you might waste less time surfing the Internet or talking around the water cooler during the workday.

• Hobbies can foster social connections. In his 2000 book, “Bowling Alone,” political scientist Robert Putnam described a reduction in in-person social intercourse that once enriched Americans’ social lives. By making more time for hobbies, particularly those that promote interaction with other adults, men and women can foster social connections that otherwise might never blossom.

• Hobbies can provide health benefits. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) notes that some hobbies can help people reduce their stress. The AIS notes that some 56 million women in the United States now knit or crochet. That marks a 51 percent increase over the last decade. That revival is attributed to the stress-reducing properties of knitting and crocheting. Men and women coping with stress need not learn how to wield a sewing needle to alleviate their stress. Activities that promote slowing down and induce a relaxation response similar to knitting and crocheting can be equally beneficial.

• Hobbies can increase quality time with your children. Parents with hobbies can double dip, using the time they would ordinarily spend with their children to teach them some of their favorite hobbies. Take kids along when you go fishing or teach them how to plant flowers and tend to a garden. This is a great way to increase quality time with your children while also affording you a chance to continue engaging in your favorite hobbies.