Research out of University College London shows that taking up a hobby significantly reduces the risk of developing depression.
The study followed participants for over 13 years, periodically monitoring their activities and overall wellbeing.
Researchers found that having a hobby reduced the risk of developing depression by 30%.
Remarkably, the study also found that those with depression who took up a hobby had over a 270% increase in their chance of recovery.
They used previous research to determine what constituted a hobby which included things like painting, sewing, volunteering, carpentry, and making music.
Another noteworthy point from the research was that the benefits were independent of social interaction.
Meaning that someone partaking in a solo activity benefited just as much as someone participating in a group activity.
This study is part of a growing body of evidence that is changing the way we think about mental health treatment.
Certainly, pharmaceuticals are a great option for some people when treating mental health. However, as we begin to understand more about our brains, research like this offers more options for personalized solutions where medications prove ineffectual.
For example, a 2019 study showed that spending 20-30 minutes in nature was very effective in the treatment of anxiety.
This is not to say that anyone feeling anxious just needs to walk it off in the woods. But, the point is that we are learning new things every day about mental health. The more information we have, the more we can improve the quality of everyone’s lives.
And that is good news.
On top of adopting a hobby, there are a plethora of activities and exercises that have been proven to benefit mental health.
We put together a free E-book of 5 mental exercises to increase your happiness.