Ways to Improve Physical and Mental Health
Spring forward and the vernal equinox sure help me improve mental and physical health! It’s that time of year when we start to come out of hibernation. I have a bit more energy to tackle, well – anything. If you have been around here for a minute, you know how much I love books and gardening. These are a couple of my favorite hobbies. I want to share with you why they also improve mental and physical health in hopes you will be inspired to add a hobby to your life.
Benefits of Books
While self-improvement and memoir are in my top favorites to read, fiction is what is my favorite for escape, relaxation and general enjoyment. Research proves this is not just in my head. Reading fiction can
- Reduce stress by 68% – demonstrated by lowered heart rate and muscle tension
- Enhance “Theory of Mind” which is the ability to understand other’s mental states and show increased empathy.
- Increase your life span. According to Social Science and Medicine, those who read 3.5 hours per week had a 17|% lower risk of dying in the next 12 years. Reading MORE than 3.5 hours per week lower their risk by 23%.
Source: Dr Caroline Leaf
Benefits of Gardening
Gardening can be equally healthy – both mentally and physically. You don’t have to have an elaborate or expansive property, even a simple container garden on the balcony of an apartment can bring you benefits.
Benefits of Hobbies in General
While books and gardening might not be your jam, I cannot encourage you enough to find your jam. Hobbies give you a respite from the grind. You are more than the sum of your work hours. Whether that work is something that gets a W2 or not you need a hobby.
- Stay at home moms need time to give to themselves just as generously as they give to all of their people ALL DAY (and sometimes night) LONG.
- CEOs need to take off the high heels and put up their feet to just be, not to solve all the problems.
- And where are my teachers? Sheesh, you are the CEO, mothers, tech support, and educators that the rest of us can’t even pretend to keep up with.
It is more important to find some kind of hobby that to find the perfect hobby. No matter what you try, the simple pursuit of a hobby is what will reduce your need to escape your life.
Hobbies are just as important as laughter. If you want bonus points towards creating a life you don’t need to escape, check out this “No’s of Hobbies” podcast episode.