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32 Calming Hobbies For People With Anxiety (+ Scientific Evidence)
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Why Do We Have Anxiety?
From the day we are born, there is anxiety in our lives. It sounds dramatic, but it is as natural as it is necessary. Fear is one of our basic emotions and has brought us to where we are today. If humans were not afraid, our ancestors would have entered into a fight with the saber-toothed tiger instead of fleeing and would very likely already be extinct.
Fear is a good thing. It wants to protect us. Today less often from the saber-toothed tiger, but there are still more than enough good reasons for it to come into play. In our everyday lives, we encounter countless situations that can trigger anxiety in us. And it is almost never really about our survival. After all, we feel just as anxious about a job interview, a conflict with a friend, or moving to a new city.
We all know how fast-paced our modern lives are. As a species, we are constantly on the go, trying to achieve one thing after the other. Due to our very nature, we simply do not want to rest. There is always something bigger or better that we want to pursue.
While all of this has ensured that we as a civilization keep on making progress, this has had a lot of detrimental effects on our health. Collectively, our physical, mental, and emotional healths have all taken a hit. And while we are quick to address physical issues, mental health often takes a back seat. We tend to overlook it many times. And when we do want to address it, most of us may not know exactly how to do that.
This is why mental issues and disorders are on the rise. People are increasingly becoming more anxious about the littlest of things. This shows the extreme pressure they are under and the heavy burden they carry on their shoulders. As a race, we need to tackle this problem to ensure that we can live a happy and peaceful life, in addition to achieving our dreams, goals, and desires.
It is important to note that it is completely normal to experience feelings of anxiety from time to time. However, if you are suffering from clinical anxiety disorders, please seek the help of a psychiatrist! The listed hobbies for people with anxiety cannot replace medical advice and therapy.
32 Hobbies For People With Anxiety
In this post you will discover 32 hobbies for people with anxiety that I have personally found helpful for dealing with my anxiety, but that I have also found working for other people. For some hobbies, I also refer to scientific evidence!
Keyword art therapy. Painting is not just for kids! Pick up a pen and paper and get started. Anyone who has already painted knows that doing so creates a strong inner calm and can also help you process negative feelings such as anger.
In many cases, stress arises from being trapped in ingrained habits and ways of perceiving things. This means that experiences from the past shape the way we deal with a situation in the present. Through a creative activity, however, the information can be rearranged so that an alternative solution can be found. Because in most cases the solutions are already present in the subconscious anyway, painting can help to bring this alternative solution into consciousness.
Painting contributes significantly to relaxation, because during the activity the painter, in a sense, dives into a world all their own, to which only they have access. You can already see why painting is one of the best hobbies for people with anxiety!
Immersing yourself in water also has a relaxing effect. If you like to be more active in sports, you can also work out and do something good for your body. A positive side effect is that swimming not only strengthens the body but also provides mental power. Researchers have shown that swimming releases endorphins that fight stress and improve blood flow to the brain.
This sport is not only trendy, but also helps effectively against stress, depression and pain, which is why yoga counts as one of the best hobbies for people with anxiety.
Just as fear can activate our sympathetic nervous system and put us under tension, we can activate its counterpart, the parasympathetic nervous system, via targeted relaxation. Once we understand these connections, a big step has already been taken.
After all, a very crucial aspect of anxiety is the feeling of losing control. People with anxiety usually have the feeling of being powerless over their fear, which in turn intensifies the fear. However, this vicious circle can be broken if we realize that we can very much influence our anxiety. The majority of anxiety takes place externally, triggered by external stimuli, situations, perceived dangers.
With yoga against anxiety, we direct our attention away from the outside world to our inner self. This inner awareness is essential, especially in relation to anxiety. In yoga we learn to observe our physical reactions as well as our thoughts. Only when we see and understand what is happening inside us can we influence it.
Capture the most beautiful moments in photos. Taking photos can help us calm down and reduce stress.
5. Acupuncture And Acupressure
When hitting the right points, the body is relaxed and stress can be reduced. Those who are afraid of needles can also go to acupressure. The execution of acupressure can be learned even by laymen.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is assumed that there are energy channels, so-called meridians, in our bodies. Diseases are attributed to the disturbed flow of the life energy Qi in these channels. If there is congestion, one feels bad. Acupuncture helps to harmonize the energy flow. And even if you do not believe in this, it is still incredibly relaxing and a fantastic hobby for people with anxiety!
6. Practice Self-Care
In the high-stakes world that we live in, most people are working round the clock. They are either working at their offices or thinking about work even while they are at home. There is such a constant demand for high performance that we forget all about the other spheres of life. Naturally, leisure time has become a luxury nowadays. And this is another reason why anxiety levels are on the rise. If you don’t wind down and take care of your health or focus on things you love, you are bound to feel the heat.
So, it is of utmost importance that you dedicate at least some time every day to self-care activities. Taking care of the self should be one of the hobbies of people with anxiety! Consider this as your window for your own self. Your “me time“. During this time, you can take on any hobby or activity that you love to do. You could take care of your skin, watch some tv shows, take a nap, read a book, listen to some music, take a bubble bath, make some art, and so on. Engaging in these activities will take the edge off and you will much more calm than before.
Get out into nature! The risk of developing anxiety disorders or depression is increased by 40 percent among city dwellers. For this reason, an outing in nature is highly recommended. A walk or a short hike in the snow can dispel worries and fears. This has also been proven by studies.
8. Animals As Therapists
A cat as a companion or a dog as a four-pawed friend can help people who regularly suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. Even petting them for a period of 15 to 30 minutes helps to lower blood pressure by ten percent.
9. Writing A Diary
Writing a diary also has a blood pressure-lowering effect. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to do something good for your psyche.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know how much I love my Paperblanks diaries. I now own 7-8 of them and use them to process emotions and to manifest. The quality is fantastic and you could look at them all day, this they are so beautiful!
Any kind of exercise can help with an impending panic attack, and dancing is no exception. Exercise reduces the stress hormones responsible for the racing heart and other symptoms.
You must have heard people say that cleaning is calming and has a therapeutic effect. You might have had the same experience yourself. There is a good reason why cleaning feels so nice. First off, when you clean something (for instance your room, car, bathroom, house, electric equipment, etc.), you feel like you have completed an item on your to-do list. You feel like you have addressed something that had been on your mind for so long.
Secondly, when you clean, your entire focus is on the present moment. You are merely focused on getting stuff clean. This inadvertently gives rise to mindfulness and your brain releases feel-good hormones that decrease your anxiety levels. So, when you feel anxious, take a broom and start cleaning! If you can’t do this daily, you can give it a shot every weekend.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis plants (marijuana and hemp). Research results and experience on CBD oil’s ability to relieve anxiety are very promising.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause intoxication (“high”) that many associate with cannabis.
I personally vape my CBD or use gummies whenever I feel I need the relaxation, for example before presentations or in the evening after an exhausting day.
What You Need To Know About CBD:
- Anxiety is among the most common reasons for using CBD
- CBD is also often used on animals that are anxious
- There are many positive testimonials
- Studies suggest the positive benefits of CBD for anxiety
- Potential effects: anxiety-relieving, calming, sleep-inducing, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and more…
- CBD is a natural active ingredient
Sewing is just another of the hobbies for people with anxiety.
Watch your hands slowly create masterpieces!
14. Making Candles And Soap
Actually, my aunt started making candles herself a few years ago. It was and is a kind of stress relief for her.
Since then, she has found more and more creative hobbies and I have received very many candles as gifts.
Podcasts are another hobby to relax you. Lie down and listen to other people about how they live their lives and reflect on their lives.
16. Baking And Cooking
Stress baking and cooking, anxiety baking and cooking, you can call it whatever you want. Both are great hobbies for people with anxiety, psychologists say.
They give you the opportunity to get creative and mix different substances together. Seeing the mixture turn into something delicious can have a calming effect on us. Baking and cooking also require you to focus all your attention on the activity – no time to dwell on triggering things! It also stimulates your olfactory senses, which are linked to emotions and memory in the brain.
17. Spend Some Time Outdoors
In the modern world, the idea of work has become synonymous with sitting at your desk. A lot of people spend their entire day sitting in front of a computer and hammering away at their keyboards. Since this type of activity can be engrossing, it can keep you stuck to your chair until you feel absolutely exhausted. Also, since your computer is the gateway to various social media platforms and other media sources, you can spend countless hours scrolling through useless updates and news. All of this can erode your peace and cause anxiety without you even realizing it.
What you need to do is to literally step away. The very act of getting up and walking away from your desk can start the healing process. Add to this a quick walk, or some quality time under a tree at a park, and you can ensure that your mind gets the rest it deserves. But more than this, the disengagement from the internet, work, and stressors of life can help you relieve your anxiety. The different elements of mother nature give you a larger perspective on life and all your troubles start seeming tiny in front of the magnitude and grandeur of nature.
Planting, sowing, caring, enjoying the beauty of flowers, harvesting vegetables, just being mindful in your own little garden – let us call it garden therapy. When we garden, we find ourselves in and engage with nature. Numerous studies have shown that this can help regulate emotions and thus also help with depression and anxiety.
In addition, you get a lot of sun and have to move around. You do something good for your mental and physical health and even get a tan! The all in one package!
Studies show that calligraphy distracts you and is great for anxiety. So what are you waiting for, start creating your own handwriting with this all-in-one set!
Reiki is a way of working with energy and involves light touch on your body. During reiki you are relaxed, feel back into your body, and actively heal yourself. Therefore, learning the art of reiki can be one of the best hobbies for people with anxiety!
21. Practice Gratitude
One major source of anxiety for today’s people is their fear of not having enough or not doing enough to manifest their dreams. They do not realize that this is an illusion that has been meticulously crafted to keep them stuck in a loop. If you are in the same boat, you need to start practicing gratitude. It is a powerful practice that can make your anxiety disappear in days! And all you have to do is start noting down all the things you are grateful for every day in a diary.
What this does is shifts your focus away from what you do not have to what you do have. Instead of feeling “lack”, you start feeling “abundance”. This calms your racing mind and assures you that you have all the things and people in life to live blissfully. It is just a mirage that you lack things and that things can get worse for you if you do not continue to put in hard work. So, start practicing gratitude and snap away from that illusion.
22. Playing An Instrument
Playing an instrument is a kind of meditation, distraction and reduces stress hormones. You need to focus your thoughts on learning the instrument, let alone the songs!
23. Improve Your Sleep
Sometimes, a problem exists because of another underlying problem. When it comes to anxiety, your lack of sleep can be the foundational problem. When we do not get enough sleep, our mind does not get the rest it needs. And when the mind does not feel rested, it obviously feels overwhelmed by the slightest rise in demand of performance. This leads to feelings of stress and anxiety. So, naturally, you should make sure you get ample sleep.
Most doctors say that you need 7-8 hours of sleep every day. But it also depends on the individual. So, try to figure out what works best for you and stick to it. There are many things you can do to fall asleep faster and get much deeper sleep. For one, you can keep your electronic devices away at least one hour before sleeping. Also, make sure your room is dark and light does not seep in. Listening to some meditational music might help greatly in this regard too.
24. Crystals And Gemstones
Already in ancient times, people knew about the healing effect of stones. Meanwhile, the assumption prevails that stones can be used not only for physical problems but also for mental symptoms. Healers all over the world work with the colorful semi-precious stones. Numerous application possibilities are available.
A distinction is made between internal and external applications. Internally, the effect of the stones is harnessed by making healing stone water and elixirs. Externally, stones are used for the application, for wearing on the body, and as a talisman. Also, a suitable healing stone against fears on the desk or in the bedroom is a possible form to work with the healing stone.
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25. Coloring Books
Similar to a yoga or meditation exercise, you find yourself in a state of inner peace while painting – provided, of course, that you are not disturbed in your relaxation by external noise, such as construction noise or the ringing of the telephone.
As studies show, coloring books can lower your blood pressure and have positive effects on depressive moods. You do not need to be an artist to profit from coloring books!
26. Do Physical Exercise
One of the most significant reasons why anxiety levels are on the rise is our tendency to focus only on mental gymnastics. What this means is that we tend to do a lot of thinking and that gives good exercise to our brains. More than what is required actually. But, we do not do the same for our physical bodies. Although it might not feel like it, a lack of physical exercise can eventually have negative effects on the mind. As the saying goes, “A healthy mind exists in a healthy body.”
Therefore, you need to include at least half an hour of physical exercise in your daily routine. It does not have to be intense exercise. Some simple running, jogging, yoga, and even cycling will do. The idea is to keep your muscles strong and to get the blood flowing. This ensures that your brain gets a healthy amount of oxygen which contributes to healing it. There is also an added psychological benefit of feeling like you have achieved something after an exercise session.
Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice that has managed to survive for thousands of years. The only reason why it has stuck around for so long is that it actually works. For millennia, people have turned to meditation for not only their spiritual development but also to improve the various aspects of their health. In today’s world, there is an increasing awareness about the benefits of meditation and why it should be an integral part of life. Even scientists have proven these benefits in studies and actively recommend meditating for at least 15 minutes daily.
You see, meditating for a while helps you calm your mind down. It helps you get rid of unwanted thoughts and emotions that only add to your anxiety. What it essentially does is, it brings your attention to the present moment. This alone solves a great deal of psychological drama that is constantly running in people’s heads. Since the uncertainties of the future are the number one source of our anxiety, it only makes sense to divert our consciousness to the present moment. Once that happens, all of those apprehensions vanish.
28. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Anxiety can act like quicksand. The more time you spend feeling anxious, the worse you will feel as time passes by. Ultimately, you will find yourself at the bottom of a really dark well that exists only in your mind. Trust me, you do not want to do this. Sometimes, all it takes is to shift your focus to something else. It might sound hard to do, but there is one thing you can do to make this an easier task. And that is to spend time with your loved ones.
Have you ever had an experience where you were feeling anxious and then you sat down with your family and forgot all about it? This happens because of many reasons. One, talking to your loved ones takes your mind off of the things you were feeling anxious about. Second, the laughter that you share with them fills you with positive energy. It changes your entire vibrational state and that does wonders for your mental health.
Aromatherapy has become wildly popular in the past decade. This is because people are increasingly looking for ways to relax and let go of what worries them. This therapy has been derived from ancient practices and uses fragrant essential oils to provide a calming effect for the mind and the body. Typically, aromatherapy involves inhaling any of these essential oils. But they can also be used in baths and massages.
There are different essential oils and they differ in their effects. But commonly, they help you relax, improve your sleep, make you feel better, decrease your blood pressure, and thus, relieve anxiety. If you do not know which essential oils to use, you could go for lavender, clary sage, rose, jasmine, and valerian.
30. Start Seeing The Brighter Side of Things
External situations can never be truly under your control, no matter how hard you try. Good things will happen to you and so will bad. That’s just how life works. But what you can control is how you react to challenges and emergencies. A good practice in that regard is to see the brighter side of things. Even if something seemingly bad happens, you should try to look at its positives. Maybe it only seems bad in the short term but will lead to good things in the future? Maybe you needed to learn a lesson and it will only help you grow? Or maybe it’s an opportunity in disguise!
This way of thinking and looking at the situation in hand can greatly mitigate your anxiety. Instead of being a victim, you can be in a power position and can take control of the situation. Some of the most successful people in the world have made this mentality a part of their nature, and so should you! Not only will this lead to better mental health, but it might also help you achieve your dreams faster!
31. Reading Books
Everyone knows that reading is relaxing and that an exciting book can take us out of our everyday lives and into a completely new world. But the fact that reading also significantly reduces stress levels was also scientifically confirmed several years ago. The neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis and his team of researchers investigated in their experiment how much the stress level decreases with different activities.
The team around Lewis looked at various activities, such as listening to music, drinking coffee or tea, going for a walk and reading. They found that reading reduced stress levels the most – by 68%. Reading was closely followed by listening to music with 61%, drinking coffee and tea with 54% and going for a walk with 42%. This makes reading one of the best hobbies for people with anxiety!
An interesting fact is that it doesn’t matter which reading one consumes. The only important thing is that it is a coherent story. Because only then can you immerse yourself and let yourself fall. You should take at least 6 minutes. Because after 6 minutes, our brain focuses on the new activity and we can relax.
The study conducted in 2016 on the topic of “relaxation techniques”, which was implemented by Durham University in England, also resulted in an amazing evaluation. Around 18,000 people from 134 countries were asked what relaxes them best. In first place was reading, followed by nature and spending time alone.
32. Knitting And Crocheting
Doing work with your hands can lower your stress level. Why? Because handwork clears your mind. A 2013 study of 3,500 subjects also found that handwork and cognitive skills are closely linked: The more the study participants knitted, the better their brain activity.
You have more hobbies for people with anxiety? Leave a comment down below with your experiences!
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