The Healing Power of Hobbies, Friends and Travel

It’s very easy as human beings for us to become trapped in our own minds. We get stressed, we ruminate, we struggle to be present. This is a perfectly natural part of life that most of us will not be able to help. That being said, being caught up in your own head too often is a maladaptive behaviour that can cause stress, anxiety and depression among other things. It is essential that we have outlets through which we are able to express, release and distract ourselves from our bustling minds. Three of the most effective and important ways to do this is through cultivating hobbies, building friendships and travelling.

For a well rounded life it is highly important that we invest part of our energy into these three imperative things. Each serves a different function, but all work to help you direct your focus somewhere other than your own head. By lending your energy to something or someone else, not only do we improve our mental health but also develop other positive qualities. Putting time into a hobby will likely help us to develop a skill or talent, cultivating healthy friendships will help you to become more selfless, and travel has the potential to give you an entirely new perspective on the world.

Spending time on hobbies is fairly underrated, especially amongst those of us who have particularly busty schedules. Though it may be difficult at first, consistently carving out some space in your day or week to dedicate to a practice that you enjoy has been proven to reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and blood pressure as well as stimulate the production of dopamine in the brain. Our nervous system is soothed as we become laser focused on something outside of ourselves. Though a major perk of developing a hobby is gaining a new skill, this isn’t the most healing part of the practice. Whether your hobby is playing an instrument or simply visiting various galleries to look at art, any activity that makes you happy can be instrumental in improving your mental health and overall quality of life.

It is no secret that healthy friendships are an essential part of anyone’s life. Having people to communicate, connect and share experiences with can be one of the most healing parts of the human experience. Good friends will reflect to you the parts of yourself that you may need to interrogate further, help you to become a better listener and develop a deeper sense of empathy. Further to that they’re people with whom you can let go of your worries and focus on the beauty of connection with others and the world around you.

Travel is healing in an entirely different way. Whether we’re aware of it or not, the purpose of travel is always to gain a different perspective and broaden our world view. Experiencing different cultures and settings encourages us to be more present with the world around us and appreciate something out with ourselves. This mindful appreciation of the bigger picture rather than the minutiae of our own lives allows us to heal in a way that no other experience can.

There is no one path to healing, but there are concrete things that have been proven to gently move the journey along effectively. Taking the time to direct energy into hobbies, friendships and travel consistently will surely help to get you out of your own head and into the present moment.

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