Crochet tools , yarn, notebook and a cup of tea on the floor
Photo: Giulia Bertelli

Are you looking for ways to reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health? Maybe searching for an enjoyable activity that can boost your skills. Mindful hobbies can be a great way to achieve these goals. I often find myself lost in doom-scrolling and reflecting on different gloomy events surrounding my personal info bubble. The only thing that seems to break the negative cycle is engaging in activities that require full attention and focus. Here are my top 10 favorite mindful hobbies that will help you unwind, relax, and improve your mood.

1. Spending more time outside

Let's start the list with the most obvious, but nonetheless, one of the most beneficial activities! Spending more time outside can involve many things. You could go on long weekend hikes, watch and identify birds in your garden or a city park, or simply soak some vitamin D. These mindful activities can help you burn calories, build strength and endurance, improving your cardiovascular health. 

Buying new equipment to enhance your outside hobby will enable you to have the best experience and get the most out of it. For example, you might enjoy nighttime shooting. Hence, investing in new binoculars could be all you need to enhance your experience and see further whether it is day or night.

2. Blogging or Journaling

Writing is a great way to unload your thoughts, reframe how you think, and live more mindfully. Whether you wish to write poetry or a daily journal, getting your ideas and thoughts out on paper will allow the mind to unleash negative reflections and replace them with positive ones. It helps to reshape the mindset, allowing your thoughts to flow calmer. 

I started this blog as a way to find myself a mindful blog, and can't imagine my life without it. Additionally, you can begin a journal for your most personal, intimate thoughts. Junk journaling or scrapbooking is also an excellent way to improve your mental health. I love gathering and saving little things and memories in my junk journal, additionally practicing mixed artistry.

smiling woman with short hair is sitting on the floor and playing guitar
Photo: Karolina Grabowska

3. Playing musical instruments

One of the best hobbies for mental health includes playing instruments. Not only does the practice allow the mind and body to switch off and focus on the present, but the sound of music is also peaceful and calming for the entire being. Whether you already know how to play an instrument or wish to learn, pursuing music as a hobby is a fantastic way to be more mindful and calm.

4. Playing games

Many people enjoy playing games as it allows their minds to switch off from distractions and stay focused. You could spend hours playing chess or a new board game and get lost in thought and lose track of time. My personal favorites are Civilization and Sims. These two games make time fly by at the speed of light!

Playing games is also a great way to spend more time with loved ones. You likely won’t play games alone, unless you wish to. 

young woman in cardigan and a messy bun hair is meditating in a flowering garden
Photo: Felipe Borges

5. Yoga

Any form of movement is good for the mind and body, with yoga being one of the most popular. Yoga is a practice that has been used for centuries to promote physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Join an online yoga class, visit the closest studio, or practice it alone for maximum solitude and relaxation. 

Research has shown that practicing yoga can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA, which is associated with feelings of relaxation and calmness. Yoga has also been shown to improve self-esteem, reduce feelings of loneliness, and increase feelings of happiness and contentment. 

6. Reading

George R.R. Martin once said that a reader lives a thousand lives before dying. Whether you prefer to read novels, poetry, or non-fiction books, reading can be a great way to reduce stress, improve your mood, and cultivate a greater sense of wellbeing. 

two young women doing yoga in a yoga studio
Photo: Cliff Booth

7. Meditation  

Meditation is a very powerful tool that improves mental health. By quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment, meditation can help you reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and increase feelings of calmness, happiness, and well-being.

Mindfulness meditation teaches you to observe your thoughts, emotions, and body reactions, without becoming overwhelmed by them. And if you practice it regularly, you'll see a major improvement in your ability to concentrate and focus, which can help you feel more productive and less distracted.

8. Photography

Photography is the most convenient and affordable hobby you can possibly imagine. It allows you to focus on the present moment, connect with others, and store your memories and experiences. Plus, this simple hobby will develop your creativity, allowing you to capture and visually express your feelings.

woman holding homemade salad in a bowl
Photo: Jonathan Borba

9. Cooking

Who doesn't love to eat healthy? Cooking allows you to distract your mind, learn something new, and eat healthier. I can't count the number of dishes I tried to copy from the Master Chef show. The final result doesn't matter, however, the creative process will elevate your mood and reduce stress. 

If you aren't sure where to start, and what ingredients to choose and mix, start with a cookie mix. Opt for a chocolate cookie mix, as chocolate is a well-known dopamine booster. 

10. Knitting or Crocheting

When my granny went through a traumatic loss, knitting was her first activity of choice. She recalled her youth, and her knitting lessons and invested her mind and time to knit many pairs of warm socks for me and my family. Knitting and crocheting are simple, repetitive activities that can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. The rhythmic movements and focus required for these crafts help promote relaxation and a sense of calm. Pair it with a cup of chamomile tea, and you'll sleep like a child!

Let's sum up...

There are so many factors that can cause stress, anxiety, and mood swings. By incorporating mindful hobbies into your daily routine, you can help your body and mind to distract from all the negativity and improve your overall wellbeing in a fun and engaging way. Don't procrastinate no more, try one of these hobbies today and you'll see a positive result tomorrow. 

Lots of love,