The 10 Benefits of Hobbies

Last Saturday I was asked to lead the discussion for my men’s small group. The title of my talk: The 10 Benefits of Hobbies. Though I would never encourage someone to focus so much on a hobby to where it becomes an idol, I believe God is pleased when we express the creative gifts and talents He’s graciously given us. Hobbies come with many benefits that not only bless the one practicing the hobby but also those on the receiving end.

I asked each of the guys to tell about their hobbies and the perceived benefits. Here are 10 nuggets I excavated from that discussion:

Good for you physically. Some hobbies help keep us active. They keep us young. Take hiking for example. I love to get out and explore the outdoors, and it doesn’t even feel like intentional exercise. Your hobby might be walking, skiing, kayaking, swimming, weight-lifting, archery, hunting, fishing.

Helps your mental health. Practicing a hobby creates chemical reactions in your brain that may stave off mental illness for some. Also, hobbies can improve mental alertness and concentration. I think it also boosts one’s self esteem.

Improves creativity. Who doesn’t want to be more creative? And talk about idea generation. I’m always coming up with ideas as I hike down a leafy path or kayak on a lake. Getting out of life’s deep ruts, helps me see connections I never saw before.

Grows you spiritually. One article I read likened practicing hobbies to meditation. A way to calm your mind and connect with the number one Creative. The Good Book says we were created in His image.

Reduces stress. We all need a healthy distraction that takes our thoughts off negative problems or challenges. Crafting helps me to unwind and forget about struggles I have in other areas of life. Personally, I don’t think it’s a great idea to multitask or focus on negatives. The mind should focus on a few things at a time, and what’s positive.

Strengthens your relationships. Here’s a big plus that involves others. Finding things to do with your friends and family besides watching television strengthens and encourages lifelong bonds. Over the years, my son and I have loved the outdoor pursuits of hiking, hunting, and fishing.

Improves your career. A hobby can improve skills you never knew you had. Creative skills, design skills, sales skills, communication skills, networking skills, or business skills. Who knows–your next job promotion might be attributed to your woodworking hobby.

Transitions you to retirement. I’ve witnessed so many people turn 65, retire, and a year or two later, they’re dead. A hobby can help you have a life outside of work. When my dad retired he didn’t look back. He just plunged further into his hobbies of beekeeping, gardening, and fishing. That was over 10 years ago. He’s still alive and doing well.

Provides additional income. Not everyone wants to turn their hobby into a business, but some can benefit from extra income. And some may decide to quit their regular job and go full-time with their hobby.

Enables us to give back. We are blessed so that we can bless others in return. You might introduce someone else to your hobby like a kid without a father figure. A girl without a mother. A lonely person who needs a companion. I love to make things and give them away. It’s my special way of saying thank you to others. My dad introduces others to beekeeping by teaching classes at the local nature center.

How about you? Do you have more benefits to add to the list? Also, feel free to share your hobbies in the comments field.