Home Lifestyle The Benefits of Learning a New Skill or Hobby

The Benefits of Learning a New Skill or Hobby

by Kai Kahale
7 minutes read

Is there really any point in having a hobby or learning a new skill? When there are so many other things to do, such as work (and trying to advance in our careers, which isn’t always the same thing), family, trying to be healthy, trying to be happy… How can anyone fit anything else in? That thought is probably why some people don’t have hobbies or aren’t interested in learning a new skill; there’s just no time, and even if there is time, everyone’s too tired to do anything more than they’re already doing. 

However, it’s exactly because of that full-on life that most of us are living and the stress that often comes along with it that hobbies are actually so important. And that’s not the only reason to take one up or to engage in some extra learning; there are many reasons why it’s a good idea. Let’s take a look at the benefits of learning a new skill or hobby so you can see why it’s important and understand how you can make time in your busy schedule to do it – read on to find out more. 

Mental Stimulation 

Exercise is important, isn’t it? It’s something that we need to do to keep ourselves fit and healthy and strengthen our muscles, and ideally, it’s something we should be doing on a regular basis (if not every day, then at least a few times a week). The thing to remember is that exercise isn’t just a physical thing; it can be (and should be) a mental thing as well. If you’re going to strengthen your body, it makes sense to strengthen your mind at the same time, and having a hobby and learning new skills is a great way to make sure that happens. 

It doesn’t matter what you do because whether you choose to learn how to play an instrument, pick up a new language, master a game like chess, start a collection, or go in-depth into a specific era of history, for example, your brain is going to get a workout which means it will get stronger, leading to improved memory and quicker thinking. On top of that, studies have shown that learning new skills can even delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline, and if that isn’t a reason to take up a new hobby, we don’t know what is. 

Boost Creativity 

Another reason to keep learning and to try new things is that is can help to boost your creativity. Learning something new often means you’ll need to think outside the box and solve problems in new and innovative ways, and that’s going to make you a lot more creative. 

Take painting, for example. That’s not only going to enhance your creative skills the more you do it, but it’s also something that essentially forces you to see the world from different perspectives. That creative boost can spill over into other areas of your life, turning you into a more innovative thinker – imagine how great that would be at work, for example, and how far it could take you along your career ladder to reach your goals. Plus, being able to be more creative and to think more creatively just adds a little extra spark to life, and that’s definitely not a bad thing to have happen. 

Stress Reduction

Stress is bad. Well, partly, anyway. It might surprise you to learn that some stress is actually good – it can get you to cross the finish line when it comes to deadlines, and it can even keep you safe (that’s what stress is meant to do – it ignites the fight or flight option, and it’s an ancient survival instinct). The problem is that stress can also be dangerous when you’ve got too much of it  – chronic stress can raise your blood pressure, cause heart problems, and lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, among other things. 

It makes sense that we need to reduce the amount of stress we have in our lives, but when you’re in the middle of it, that can seem impossible. However, one way to help yourself is to take up a new hobby. Activities such as gardening, knitting, or playing a musical instrument (and these are, of course, just examples) can give you a real sense of calm and make you feel a lot more relaxed because you’ll be focused on what you’re doing and not worrying about the past or the future (that’s called being mindful, and it’s a great way to reduce stress), plus the repetitive nature of these kinds of hobbies can be relaxing too. 

Build Confidence 

As we’ve said, there are so many benefits to learning a new skill or hobby, and another fantastic one is that it’s going to help you to build your confidence levels dramatically. Every time you learn something new or achieve something, no matter what it might be, that’s linked to your hobby, you’ll gain even more confidence and plenty of self-esteem – you can challenge yourself to do things, and to try to beat your personal best, or you might be involved in a hobby with other people, in which case they might be the ones you’re ‘competing’ against (try not to take things too seriously, though, or you might add to the stress you’re meant to be reducing). 

Once again, gaining more confidence thanks to your hobby and the things you’re learning can translate into having more confidence in other areas of your life too. Maybe you’ll finally feel confident enough to ask for a raise or even apply for a new job, perhaps you’ll feel ready to ask someone out, maybe you’ll decide to go for opportunities in life when they present themselves rather than just ignoring them because you don’t feel confident in your own abilities. Whatever it is, you can see how it could help you hugely. 

Physical Health Benefits 

This point might not be linked to every single hobby you could choose from, but there will be a surprising number that do offer some pretty impressive health benefits, and since health is so important in life, that’s an excellent reason to try something new. 

There are hobbies that are all about movement and exercise, like dance, sports, hiking, swimming, and so on, and you’ll end up with a healthier weight, heart, muscles, and more. Plus, you’ll generally be able to improve your immune system, which means you’ll stay healthier when you might have caught a bug or other sickness without that extra strength helping you. 

Even hobbies that don’t seem as though they’re all that helpful when it comes to your physical health might be better than you think – after all, writing a novel or short story is much healthier than the alternative, which might be scrolling through social media or watching TV. 

Taking up a new hobby and learning new skills is a great idea with many benefits, so why not try it out?

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