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  • Julie Morris

Hobbies, a healthy way to have fun (and stay alive!)

Here’s some news you probably don’t want to hear: boredom can kill you. According to Dr. Todd B. Kashdan writing in Psychology Today, scientific evidence shows that the more bored you are, “the more likely you are to die prematurely.” Why is that? It’s mainly because if you’ve got a lot of idle time when neither your body nor your mind is doing anything, you’re probably going to turn to unhealthy habits, such as drinking and smoking. And that can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are recovering from an addiction. Plus, a sedentary lifestyle - long, boring hours in front of the television, behind your laptop, or playing video games - can lead to weight gain, poor circulation, higher blood pressure, and more.

So, when your friends tell you to get a hobby, they probably mean it. Hobbies have definite mental and physical benefits. They keep the mind active and involved, which lessens stress, and which, in turn, has an effect on physical health. Plus, some purely active hobbies, such as dancing, hiking, and even gardening, can burn calories and lower your heart rate.

There’s plenty of information online, including instructional videos, for just about any hobby you might choose. But what’s great about some of these hobbies is that you can learn them with a group of friends, which will add a new healthy social dimension to your life. And if you’re in recovery or suffering from depression, being around fun, positive, energetic people while doing something constructive can help you keep sober and improve your state of mind.

The question to ask about taking up a hobby is simple: what would you like to do? Which hobby fits your personality? If you are task-focused and good with your hands, consider knitting or sewing. The great thing about these activities is that you can work toward a finished piece that you can show off or even wear. In addition, you can be part of a knitting or sewing group, where you can work on projects together, help each other, and just have pleasant conversation. Cooking is another great hobby that you can learn by yourself or with friends in a class. While you might not need any special equipment (nearly everyone has a kitchen and some pots and pans), you’ll need to invest in some basic ingredients. But the results will be healthy meals that you (and your friends) have created. Plus, since you’ll be cooking a lot, it will ultimately be less expensive, because you won’t be eating out as much.

You can also learn how to draw or paint. If you have the space and are willing to invest in some tools, you could also learn woodworking. Like sewing, knitting, and cooking, these are creative activities that help you focus your attention, and result in a finished product you can show off (and maybe even sell).

If you love music, why not consider learning a musical instrument? There will be some expense involved, depending on the instrument, but it’s another hobby you can learn online or with some friends. If you want to learn an instrument that’s easy to play, consider the ukulele. If you start slowly, learn chords and fingerings, and are willing to let some calluses form on whichever hand you use for making chords, you’ll have lots of fun. Plus, it’s extremely portable and great to take to parties. It’s an instrument folks love to sing along with.

Hobbies keep us healthy, even if we’re just relaxing with some needles and a ball of yarn in our laps, drilling holes into a dowel rod that’s going to form the back of a chair, or even stir-frying chicken breast chunks with chili peppers in a wok. They keep our minds focused, our bodies active, and, if we’re recovering from an addiction, help keep us sober.

In short: they keep us alive.

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This guest blog post was written by Julie Morris | Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. VIsit her site at

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