Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stamp collecting, according to Smithsonian Libraries, is one of several hobbies to which Franklin D. Roosevelt says he owed his life. In the face of staggering challenges, this U.S. president found time and enormous appreciation for leisure pursuits and the many benefits they provide.

Lynne Long's Southern Living article "Guilt-free Pleasures" explains that hobbies can "bring out the best of your creative side." Hobbies can provide such healthy benefits for adults as "stress relief, mental massage, or even practical profits" and, for kids, opportunities to "develop useful skills, such as decision making, goal setting, problem solving, and hand-eye coordination."

"Having something you love to do, not for the pay of it, but just for the sake of it, is the essence of recreation," say Robert Ornstein, PhD, and David Sobel, MD, in their book Healthy Pleasures. "Whether it be sports, collecting material objects (art, stamps, or wine) or experiences (birds sighted, trains ridden, places traveled), or even recreational shopping, some kind of hobby seems an essential complement to healthy work."

And along with satisfying "personal needs such as self-expression, self fulfillment , accomplishment, and purpose," says K.L. Siegenthaler in Parks & Recreation's "Health Benefits of Leisure," studies have found that "participation in crafts and hobbies was most strongly related to high psychological well-being and low depression."

"Take a risk and find a new passion," urges Harvard University psychology professor Ellen J. Langer, PhD, whose Psychology Today article "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" tells how she was taken by surprise when she discovered a love of painting. "It makes you mindful, teaches you about yourself and, perhaps most important, could be enormous fun."

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