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Conquer Stress--With A Hobby

By Jack Zavada

Everyone knows that stress can take a heavy toll on your mind and body, but one simple activity can not only prevent the harmful effects of stress but also make your life richer and more rewarding.

Hobbies have been around since ancient times, yet few people use them as an effective tool to beat stress. The secret is in choosing a hobby that not only picques your interest, but that you find mentally engaging as well. A major component of stress is worry. A fascinating hobby crowds out worry thoughts by replacing them with positive ideas and study.

Watching television or listening to music might be classified as hobbies; however, they rarely provide the mental stimulation needed to leave you feeling refreshed and satisfied afterward. A worthwhile hobby will make you a more rounded, interesting person. It will give you an outlet to explore your creativity. It will also bring you in contact with fascinating people, which can relieve loneliness.

If you have a hobby that you've lost interest in, or you're looking for a new hobby, check out these tips for exploring the endless possibilities before you.

1. Your hobby should interest you.

Don't get into a hobby just because a friend or relative enjoys it. You'll soon tire of it if that's your only motivation. No, your hobby should be an activity that you enjoy. And unless you're truly interested in it, don't take over someone else's collection and add to it. Pick something you like. Be original!

2. Explore what the world has to offer.

If you get an idea for a hobby, the Internet is the best place to research it. Whether it's collecting, art, crafts, or reading about a specific topic, you can find thousands of web sites, clubs, and user groups to give you more information. If your public library doesn't have books on the hobby you're researching, ask a librarian to order them for you through interlibrary loan. This is a free but often underused service of public libraries. A knowledgeable librarian can also help you find magazines and newsletters about your area of interest.

3. Pick something you're passionate about.

What one person finds captivating, another may think is silly or boring. Remember that you don't have to satisfy or impress anyone else with your hobby. This is for you. Pursue something that gets you excited. Don't be discouraged if you try several different pastimes before you succeed. You'll know you've found the right hobby when you look forward to doing it, when you're happy during your hobby time, and when it leaves you feeling relaxed and positive.

4. Pick a hobby that's affordable.

Many people don't consider this aspect, but it's better to do something that doesn't run up debt, tie up a lot of your money, or make you frustrated because you later find it's out of your reach financially. A hobby doesn't have to be expensive to be fulfilling. Again, remember that the object of a hobby is not to impress people, but to do something that's fun and appealing to you.

5. Pick a hobby that is challenging.

Some collectible items are rare or hard to find. The pursuit of them is part of the excitement. Some hobbies, like painting, playing a musical instrument, or baking, have no limits. Today, instructional videos or DVDs are available that can teach you almost anything. Be realistic and don't expect to master your new interest right away. You have the rest of your life to develop your skills. Soon you'll experience a great sense of personal satisfaction as you become more and more accomplished.

A captivating hobby is a positive, healthy way to escape, if only for an hour at a time. As you grow in your hobby, you'll feel more contented as a person and less vulnerable to the stress of your job and everyday life.

About The Author

Copyright by Jack Zavada.

Jack Zavada is an avid wood carver, toy soldier collector, and fisherman, who lives in Streator, Illinois. He is the author of four novels and over 5,000 newspaper and magazine articles. His web site is


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