It is said that good mental health enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment – and making time to do more of things we enjoy, can help us be happy and mentally healthy.
The Head to Health website says that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression. Activities that get you out and about can make you feel happier and more relaxed. Group activities like team sports can improve your communication skills and relationships with others.
Your interests may be creative, athletic, academic, or something distinctly personal. You may choose a hobby that you can do alone or as part of a group.
According to Health Direct, taking some time to do the things you really enjoy can boost your mental wellbeing as “pleasant events can lead to positive emotions that can cancel out negative feelings”.
Being highly involved in an enjoyable activity to the point where you lose track of time, is known as being in a state of “flow”. Health Direct says that this usually happens when the level of challenge is about right for your level of skill. Flow can happen during work, hobbies, creative arts or sports.
According to one of the pioneers of Positive Psychology, happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated: the Good Life, the Meaningful Life and the Pleasant Life.
Martin Seligman, author of the international bestseller Authentic Happiness, says that living a “Pleasant Life” means learning to savour and appreciate such basic pleasures as companionship, the natural environment and our bodily needs.
To fully enjoy the pleasures of life in the present, Seligman says it is also important to find out how to think constructively about the past and gain optimism and hope for the future.
If you’re uncertain about what about what you enjoy doing, you could start by writing a list. If you need inspiration, Headspace and Living Well both provide great lists of some of the things other people say they enjoy doing.
And how to create flow ...
TIPS FROM THE TOP
The Australian Men's Health Forum surveyed men for World Mental Health Month 2020 on the 10 Habits of Mentally Healthy Men. 98% agreed that doing things they enjoyed kept them mentally healthy. Here's what some of them had to say:
Mix it up and keep moving, follow your passion and enjoy the benefits.
Look at the opposite, if you are doing things that make you unhappy, how are you going to feel?
The pleasure you derive from doing things you enjoy can offset low morale.
I will stop and go for a coffee with a mate or by myself. Or go for a walk. I meditate every day and that grounds me and keeps me calm.
I love spending time in my veggie garden.
Read the 10 Habits of Mentally Healthy Men
- Be Healthy
- Be Active
- Be Connected
- Be Happy
- Be Outdoors
- Be A Legend
- Be Challenged
- Be Strong
- Be Resilient
- Be Supported