Embarking on a new hobby can help reduce stress, increase focus and unleash your creativity. So here’s how to…
Time to take up a new hobby
As a new season dawns, it’s the ideal time to make a change – and what better way to enrich your life than by taking up a hobby or learning a new skill.
The benefits are clear, says psychologist Shahroo Izadi, whose book, The Kindness Method, is all about making positive changes. ‘Even when life is at its most hectic, it’s not until you take care of and prioritise time for yourself that you become effective with other people. If you’re on a constant hamster wheel of responsibilities, you won’t have the capacity to be patient, understanding and fully present. Your own happiness will benefit everyone around you.’ WHERE DO I START? Work out what interests you. What engaged you as a child? What activities do you enjoy at work and at home? Is there anything you wish you’d had a chance to learn? Once you know the skills you gravitate towards, you can tailor your research. WHAT WILL I GAIN? ‘Often, people wrongly assume that mindfulness is all about sitting cross-legged and meditating – but in reality, it also means being lost and engaged in an activity,’ says Shahroo. ‘Getting involved in a hobby brings a sense of connection and mastery that greatly benefits our mental health.
‘Putting yourself in a new and different situation fosters resilience and builds self-esteem because it demonstrates our capability. In turn, we’re animated and excited when we have something new to talk about, and this broadens our self-awareness and identity. All of these things feed into our general wellbeing, reminding us of our strengths and assets.’ WHAT IF I’M BAD AT IT? Thinking that we’re not good at something becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘A lot of people think that if they’re not a particular ‘type’ – sporty or arty, for example – then they’ll never enjoy those things,’ explains Shahroo. ‘But by dispelling and challenging these beliefs, we can uncover areas of ourselves we never knew existed. It’s important to remember that when it comes to taking on hobbies, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a natural flair or ability. If you enjoy something and you turn up to learn, you will inevitably get better at it.’ ❖ The Kindness Method: Changing Habits For Good by Shahroo Izadi (Bluebird) is out now