Practicing hobbies is the recipe that science offers to increase our mental health

Taking up a hobby at age 65 and beyond can be beneficial for you Mental wellness Of people. From the public. This is what a meta study published Natural medicine The researchers examined five longitudinal studies.

Taking up a hobby has been associated with fewer depressive symptoms and more happiness.iStock

Analysis of the results revealed that having a hobby was related Fewer depressive symptoms, better health, more happiness, and greater life satisfactionwhere life satisfaction is most closely related to hobbies.

Regarding the direction of these associations, “increased hobby engagement predicted subsequent reductions in depressive symptoms and increases in health, happiness, and life satisfaction.” Results vary slightly from country to country, suggesting a relative presence Universal response“The researchers say in the publication.

The scientists noted that, on average, there were more people over 65 with hobbies in those countries with higher scores on the World Happiness Index and life expectancy. We are talking about countries like Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. The researchers point out that this “could lead to inflated transaction volumes.” However there are some exceptions.

One is what our country specifically suggests, which is that although people living in Spain have a relatively lower rate of hobby than other countries, the strength of the association between hobby and life satisfaction was similar to that of people living in Spain. Countries with much higher rates of hobbyism, such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. This suggests that the health benefits of hobbies, at least in terms of life satisfaction, are not simply due to higher prevalence rates of participation, but may also be found in countries where hobbies are less common.

The results did not differ according to genderOr the retirement status or retirement age in each country.

“Hobbies can contribute to life satisfaction in older people through many mechanisms, such as a sense of control over the mind and body, Find a purpose in life Researchers indicate that they feel competent to face daily problems. “The association between hobbies and life satisfaction is particularly promising given that it has been observed not only in healthy participants, but also in participants such as those in the United States, where a very high percentage of participants were living with a long-term mental or physical illness.” “Injuries are where psychosocial interventions can be most important,” they say.

Hobbies are defined as those activities that people do during their free time for pure pleasure. Examples include crafts, reading, exercise, gardening, volunteer work, etc. According to the study, these activities involve imagination, novelty, creativity, sensory stimulation, self-expression, relaxation, and cognitive stimulation, “all of which are positively associated with mental health and well-being through psychological, biological, social, and behavioral pathways.” “

A few years ago, a study was published in Journal of Health Psychology He said that Gardensunderstood as a hobby, helped Reducing the effects of stress. In a field experiment, 30 gardeners performed stressful gardening work. The subjects were then randomly assigned to spend half an hour gardening alone or reading indoors.

Salivary cortisol levels and self-reported mood were measured repeatedly. Gardening and reading activities led to a decrease in cortisol during the recovery period, but the decrease was significantly stronger in the gardening group. Positive mood fully recovered after gardening, but deteriorated further during reading.

Based on the results, the researchers concluded that gardening can promote alleviation of acute stress. You’re already taking too long to pursue a hobby if you don’t already have one.


  • Mack, H. W., Noguchi, T., Boone, J. K., et al. Hobbies and mental health among people aged 65 and older in 16 countries. Nat Med 29, 2233–2240 (2023).
  • Van den Berg, A. E., and Custers, M. H. (2011). Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and emotional recovery from stress. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(1), 3-11.
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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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