Finding Your Happy With A Hobby

This is an excerpt from Dani DiPirro’s Everyday Optimism, the inspirational handbook for living in the moment available now.

Throughout my life I’ve had one hobby or another – from making collages and music mixes to reading, illustrating, designing and Instagramming. Having a hobby (even when you feel you already have plenty to do) has tons of positive benefits.

What better way to relax than to do the things you love doing – things you might not have an opportunity to do on a daily basis at work or school? And what better place to do those things than at home? Although a hobby doesn’t have to be home-based to have positive benefits, a hobby at home is available to you whenever you have spare time and can dip into it, making it more likely you’ll actually engage in it often.

If you don’t already have a hobby, the thought of adding something else into your schedule may seem overwhelming. However, here are some ideas for starting a hobby at home that make it easier to reap the rewards rather than feeling you have simply added more to your to-do list.

Find something you love to do

Spend some time thinking about what you love to do at home. Reading, writing, drawing, model building, doing puzzles, cooking, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, dancing, singing and so on are all good examples. Search online for more ideas, and ask your friends. Don’t worry if nothing grabs your interest right away. Try to keep an open mind and sample some hobbies to see how you respond to them once you actually start practising them. When you find something you love, stick with it. The more you love what you’re doing, the more likely you are to value and enjoy the time you make for it.

Encourage a group activity

I’m one of those introverted types who prefers a hobby I can do alone, but if you feel that a hobby might use up valuable time for spending with the people you live with, consider an activity you can enjoy together. Baking and board games are perfect for a family, while a household book club will allow individual time reading as well as group time discussing. Group activities provide all of the benefits of having a hobby with the added advantage of social interactions that can strengthen bonds with
your loved ones or housemates.

Turn off electronic devices

Distraction is the enemy of being fully present, so turn off your phone, email, TV and any other potential electronic distraction while engaged in your chosen activity. If you need to use a device for the hobby (for example, if your hobby is writing poetry and you do this on your computer), try turning off the WiFi while you write so you can properly get into the flow and avoid derailing your concentration.

Schedule it

With all you have to get done in a given week or month, finding time to fit in something that’s not essential can be tough. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule your hobby. When you put it on the calendar (even just half an hour a week, or an hour a month), just as you would a meeting or an appointment, you give it value and remind yourself that your hobby is just as worthwhile as any of your other tasks – in fact, it’s even more worthwhile than many of them because it truly helps you stay positive in the present. However, don’t focus so much on scheduling things that you eliminate all spontaneity from your life. When you can, grab five minutes to do something you love doing, whether that’s singing in the shower or dancing around your bedroom or just watching the clouds go by…

Start something new

If you’re like me, you’ll grow to love your hobby, but that doesn’t mean you should let it get stale or become habitual. Every few months or so, start a new project based on the hobby you already know and love. For example, if you love building model airplanes, perhaps you want to try your hand at building a doll house instead. If you adore reading biographies, maybe you want to give historical fiction a shot. Or, if you love sketching and drawing, maybe it’s time to see how you like painting. By starting a new kind of project, you’ll maintain your interest levels and focus, as well as expand your talents and challenge your mind to think in new and exciting ways.

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Dani DiPirro (@positivelypresent) is the founder of highly popular website PositivelyPresent.com, dedicated to helping others live positively in the present moment by providing them with fresh ideas and innovative insights for making the most of each and every day.

In Everyday Optimism, the inspirational handbook for living in the moment, Dani shares her knowledge and experiences of being positively present every day, rather than happy all the time. With practical activities, Dani tackles home, work, relationships, love and change, to give you a glass half-full approach to your life.