Engaging In Hobbies Reduces The Chances Of Depression, Helps Patients Recover

  • There is a 32% reduced probability of developing depression in people who engaged in hobbies or past time activities, research proves.
  • These “hobbies” include handicrafts that range from carpentry to hand sewing, community volunteering, and making music.
  • Increased exposure to nature, anticipating and planning for future vacations, and listening to or making music reduce the chances of depression.

Research proves that engagement in activities that could be considered as hobbies reduces the chances of depression and, at the same time, help people diagnosed with clinical depression recover, University College of London reports.

UCL Researchers conducted these experiments with 8,780 test participants (> 50 years old) already included in the English Longitudinal Study on Aging. Test participants were under observation from 2004 to 2017. Data show that 72% reported having hobbies, while 15.6% were above the threshold for depression per the national epidemiological scale.

The information collected throughout the duration of the experiment indicates reduced probability of developing depression by about 30%. These improvements were observed in both men and women, and were consistent in test participants with depression at the beginning of the experiment and those who developed depression during.

Test participants without depression or hobbies at the beginning of the experiment, but took up hobbies during, reported a 32% reduced probability of developing depression. On the other hand, test participants with depression but incorporated hobbies into their routine reported improvement. Data show that taking up hobbies leads to a 272% increased probability of recovering from depression.

What “hobbies” are included?

The term “hobbies” is defined in this research study to include handicrafts that range from carpentry to hand sewing, community volunteering, and making music.

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Psychologists point out that the improvement in or protection from depressive symptoms was not associated to social interaction. This means that activities done in solitary are no different from group activities in terms of the potential improvement on mental health.

Take advantage of life

Researchers said that engagement with hobbies support the idea of “social prescribing”, especially for patients with low to moderate symptoms of depression wherein pharmaceutical products are ineffective.

Basic activities show potential positive impacts on mental health, even planning for your next vacation could lead to therapeutic effects. Cornwall University published data on how the anticipation of an experience could result in measurable positive effects on mental health conditions.

Psychologists said that planning and anticipating a trip represents a “light at the end of the tunnel”, but there is more to it that just that. The anticipation of activities promises future enjoyment while the planning part could lead to immediate satisfaction.

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There is also increasing interest in cortisol regulation. These hormones are produced inside the body in preparation of how to respond to stress, however, cortisol regulation is more complex. High cortisol levels are associated with anxiety and depression.

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University of Michigan discovered that increased exposure to nature shows potential in decreasing cortisol levels in the body.

“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature,” said Dr. Mary Carol Hunter, lead author.

Even listening to music could help. The British Academy of Sound Therapy started to examine how listening to music helps people with mental health problems. Music as Medicine project recommended 8 to 20 minutes of listening to music symptoms of anxiety and releasing cathartic stress.

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These researches demonstrate how engagement with hobbies are associated with depression. Overall, being in nature, traveling or learning about geography, and listening to or making music supplement patients’ existing care plans.

Source: Good News Network

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