Millions of people worldwide suffer from some form of anxiety. Anxiety does not discriminate on age, gender, financial status, sexual orientation, or pretty much anything else.
According to a psychology study conducted in 2016, people that engage in some creative hobby tend to deal better with their anxiety issues, compared with those that didn’t have any hobby or engage in some creative activity.
From learning calligraphy to baking bread, people find relaxation in all sorts of hobbies and activities.
What follows is an overview of some of the most common habits and activities that are known to help people relax and keep their anxiety levels low.
Feel free to try at least one of these hobbies or activities if you are concerned about your levels of stress and anxiety.
There is an actual study from the “Journal of Health Psychology” that examined the effects of gardening over the symptoms of anxiety and stress. According to that study, gardening tends to lower the cortisol which is a stress hormone.
The herbs, the flowers, and the produced food are an added value to the calmness that you get from your gardening activities.
So, maybe it is the right time to get your hands dirty and step into the world of gardening.
#9 Wilderness therapy
If you live in Sweden, a doctor can recommend an outdoor therapy that includes spending time in an environment such as a forest, mountain, or pretty much anywhere far from the city.
Nowadays, there are plenty of wilderness therapy programs that are all about spending time in nature. Many of these programs combine experimental education with interpersonal self-improvement, and group therapy methods.
So, don’t wait for the doctor’s prescription, head out to the closest forest, and see what the fuss about it is. The bond between humans and nature is always strong, maybe it is time for you to rediscover that.
So no, knitting is not some activity that is exclusive to grandmas. Ditch that stereotype and start knitting yourself. According to Psychology Today, knitting is somewhat similar to meditation. Knitting as such is based on repetitive movements that can bring people in the present moment. As a result, people experience increased release of serotonin. This neurotransmitter will make the knitter feel positive and calm which are feelings diametrically opposite of anxiety and stress.
#7 Working out
Exercising is good for dealing with anxiety and by now that is almost common knowledge as countless studies are pointing in that direction. Whether it is bicycling, jogging in the park, or hitting the gym couple of times every week, it can help you keep your anxiety at bay. Or at the very least to be able to manage it easier.
If you are not into working out, you can even try goal-oriented fitness classes such as hip-hop dancing or martial arts.
#6 Get a pet
Quite a few studies are proving that having a pet can improve your overall mood, as well as lower your anxiety levels. Furthermore, it increases your sense of responsibility and helps you feel less lonely.
#5 Take a self-improvement class
The most limited resource in modern living is time. Sometimes it looks like mission impossible to squeeze a weekly class in our busy schedule.
But if you’re serious about dealing with your anxiety you should find a way to add at least one weekly class into the mix.
Whether it is a class about cooking, language class, pottery, or something else, you should do it. By doing so, you will be able to simultaneously distract yourself from all the things that trigger your anxiety, as well as boost your self-confidence.
#4 Yoga classes
Yoga is not great just for toned muscles and posture, but it can also bring a ton of emotional benefits. Some of those emotional benefits include reduced symptoms of anxiety, sleep better, improved cognitive skills, increased serotonin, and so on.
All of that has been confirmed by a resented study conducted by the National Institutes of Health.
Typically, beginners start practicing Vinyasa yoga that is less demanding than power yoga as there are no challenging poses. Vinyasa yoga is more based on combining breathing techniques with coordinated movements.
The best part is that you can start at home for free. There are plenty of excellent free online classes that can help you learn yoga practices.
#3 Filling up a coloring book
It may sound a bit weird, but a coloring book with intricate designs can be a great distraction. It will keep you engaged for long periods instead of worrying and feeling anxious.
In 2017, a study run by the Creativity Research Journal revealed that filling coloring books can lead to a plethora of mental health benefits. The study showed that those who took part in coloring daily experienced way lower levels of depression than participants that didn’t engage in any coloring.
The study concluded that daily coloring could bring many mental health benefits such as decreased anxiety and stress levels.
Nowadays, there are plenty of free coloring books for adults and children that can be downloaded for free and printed. Also, many coloring books of this kind can be found in most bookstores.
#2 Practice mindfulness
Managing anxiety is all about learning how to deal with the chaos that exists in your head. Mindfulness is proven over and over as an effective method for dealing with that stress.
Every hobby that makes you more present is welcomed. That’s because mindfulness makes you stay grounded and doesn’t allow for anxious thoughts to take over your brain.
Common mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga can slow down unwanted thoughts that usually lead to feelings of anxiety. The more mindful you become the better you will become at dealing with anxiety.
There are hundreds of studies on the effects of meditation and mindfulness on human mental health. By default, they all prove that it can do wonders for your mental condition.
Same as with yoga, there are a ton of free videos online that can help you learn about meditation and mindfulness. On top of that, dozens of mobile apps can also guide you through the world of meditation and mindfulness.
#1 Books and TV shows
One of the easiest ways to distract yourself from unwanted thoughts and anxiety attacks is to redirect your focus onto someone else’s concerns, even if those are concerns of imaginary characters and not those of real people.
Therefore, if you don’t have a Netflix account or a library card, you might want to do something about that.
Psychologists agree that, sometimes, eliminating symptoms of anxiety can be as simple as finding the time to read a book or watching a TV show. Immersing into other people’s stories, getting to know their characters, how they act when thrown in a bad situation, all that can be both fun and therapeutic.
If you go through the classics you might even learn a thing or two on what it takes to live an authentic life and make better life decisions.
If things go bad with your anxiety issues, there is no shame for asking professional help. But, if you are not there yet, you can try some of our recommendations to control and manage your anxiety levels.
The hobbies and activities described here might seem somewhat generic and simple. They are simple, there is nothing particularly difficult about them, but they are efficient. They have helped hundreds of thousands of people with anxiety issues.
Thanks to them, they have reported feeling much better, and that they can deal with their anxiety.
Worst-case scenario, you will learn something new like a new language, read a few more books, binge-watch some TV show, or something in line with the recommendations above.