It seems that as time goes on, there are more and more people struggling with depression. While it’s estimated that about 5 percent of adults have depression, that’s only from those that have been diagnosed. Depression is much more common than we think, and some feel like they’re fighting an endless battle. If you find yourself in this situation, there are some hobbies that can help you get back on track, and here are five of the most effective ones.
Depression can be brought on by a culmination of stress in your life, and one of the best ways to help battle back against stress is through meditation. Meditation helps to change the way you think, as well, with research showing that those who meditated for 30 minutes per day dramatically improved their depression symptoms over just two months. If you begin to feel symptoms, try this hobby to help block out the negative sensations that your brain may experience.
It may seem like a simple task, but there’s something about gardening that can help alleviate depression greatly. Gardening tends to give you a higher sense of purpose since you’re helping to create a lifeform and also brings the chemicals needed to improve your mental health. You feel a certain hit of serotonin and dopamine when you’re working on your garden and this is especially true around harvest time. Overall, your self-esteem improves greatly while gardening, too.
This seems like the obvious one, but for a lot of people, exercise is more of a hobby rather than a weight loss tool or a competition. Exercise is the most natural way for your body to produce endorphins, and it helps to get rid of some of the other key contributors to depression. Those who exercise on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from insomnia, and that improved sleep goes a long way in helping depression. Your self confidence also improves after each workout and that fresh air and vitamin D from exercising outdoors is an added bonus.
For a lot of us that have dealt with depression, the absolute last thing that you want to do is cook for yourself or anybody else. However, studies have shown that getting yourself into the kitchen can actually reduce signs of depression significantly. Perhaps one of the more notable examples of people taking to cooking to fight depression was during the COVID-19 pandemic. With people stuck in their homes for a significant amount of time, depression rates climbed quickly. Those that learned new hobbies, especially cooking, were able to help combat depression while attaining a distracting skill that will last a lifetime.
The best way to improve your mental health is to not keep your thoughts bottled up. As a result, writing is a great way to help treat your depression. Whether it be writing in a journal, working on a story that you’ve always wanted to do or just making some quick haikus, writing is the ultimate form of expression. One study showed that those who ranked high (between 30-35) on the Beck Depression Inventory dropped to around 20 when journaling on a daily basis.