Practicing a hobby generates happiness and reduces depression in the elderly

Infusing the playful side into new interests generates well-being (

(HealthDay News) – the elderly Grab your knitting needles, some paintbrushes, or that favorite novel, because new research suggests that owning… hobby It’s related Less depression In the elderly.

Hobbies can include anything from From gardening to games, arts and crafts, volunteering, reading or joining a clubAccording to the study, which spanned several countries and included more than 93,000 people aged 65 and older.

“Our study shows the potential of hobbies to protect older adults from declines in their mental health and overall well-being. This potential is consistent across many countries and cultural contexts,” said lead author Karen Mack of the Institute of Health and Care Epidemiology at UCLA. University College London. The data comes from people who have registered Five studies In the United States, Japan, China, England and 12 other European countries.

The researchers analyzed data spanning four to eight years and found that engaging in a hobby was associated with decreased symptoms of depression and increased happiness and life satisfaction. Although this observational study could not prove cause and effect, it suggests that it is There can be a connection between hobbies and happiness. The results remained consistent even after adjusting for other factors, such as marital status, employment, and household income.

According to the World Health Organization, 5 percent of adults suffer from depression, and this condition constitutes a major burden on public health around the world (Getty)

“Among the four findings, life satisfaction was most strongly associated with participation in hobbies. Hobbies can contribute to life satisfaction in our later years through many mechanisms, including a sense of control over our minds,” Mack said in a statement from University Press. Our bodies, finding purpose in life, and feeling competent when tackling everyday problems.” The results were published in the journal Natural medicine.

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He added: “Theoretical work suggests that the relationship between hobbies and well-being may be bidirectional: people with better mental health may be more likely to adopt a hobby, and continuing to engage in a hobby may help us maintain better life satisfaction.”

The proportion of people who reported having a hobby varied widely between countries, with only 51% of study participants in Spain reporting having a hobby.

Experts highlight the importance of social communication in reducing the risk of depression and mental health (Getty)

This compares to an overwhelming 96% in Denmark, 95.8% in Sweden, and 94.4% in Switzerland. China had the lowest level of people who practice hobbies, at 37.6%. However, the researchers cautioned that participants in China were only asked about social hobbies, not hobbies in general.

More people reported having a hobby in countries with better life expectancy and higher levels of national happiness. The relationship between well-being and hobby practice was also stronger in these countries.

“Our research also supports policymakers who encourage access to hobbies among older adults as a way to improve their well-being and health,” Mack said.

More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about social engagement later in life.

Source: University College London, press release, 11 September 2023.

*Written by Cara Morris. Health Day Reporters. Spanish Health Day

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