stretch

Modern life is peppered with stress and frustration. It is not difficult to see why some people feel the need to retreat to remote areas of the world to get away. Sometimes, it can seem as if it is society’s mission to ruin your personal sense of peace and tranquillity. But distant escapes aren’t for everyone – they can’t be. They get expensive and it’s hard to get the time off work and there is always the inevitable return to normality that wears off your hard-earned calm.

A much simpler way of infusing your life with a little more zen is to take up a hobby that can help you to relax from time to time. Again, it can be difficult to decide what is best to take up, as whatever you choose might end up just frustrating you more.

A good, relaxing hobby is infinitely valuable to daily human existence. It can change someone’s sense of harmony entirely, and heighten a person’s overall contentment with day-to-day living. Here are some common hobbies, and why they’re so popular.

BAKING

The action of creating anything is inherently calming. Focusing on step-by-step instructions, the way you would any recipe, takes your mind off the rest of world for a while. Ingredients are relatively cheap, so this is not the kind of hobby that frustrates the bank balance, and a batch of cookies can be knocked together in ten refreshing minutes. On top of all that, at the end of your baking session, you have lovely, tasty cakes to cheer you up and share with your loved ones.

WRITING

Taking up writing as a hobby does not mean that you have to start churning out award-winning fiction or generate thousands of followers on Blogger. Or Tumblr. Or wherever you might publish your writing. It doesn’t need to get published at all, it can be a personal diary that is only ever seen by you. However you may choose to express yourself, writing is one of the most therapeutic ways to spend your time. To regularly allow your feelings, emotions, experiences to spill out of you, without stopping to worry about the quality of your prose (or poetry, or whatever your medium) will bring all kinds of clarity to your mind. The physical act of writing is famously good for the soul and induces a wonderful sense of calm once all your pent-up internal discord has been spent on paper.

JUGGLING

This one is slightly less common, but unarguably relaxing. It is impossible to juggle when caught up in your emotions. You have to be in total control of yourself and your state of mind in order to be able to juggle even slightly competently. It is a hobby that can be learned in five minutes – even the most basic skills can be astoundingly calming. If you do decide you’d like to learn some more complex techniques, it is a skill that can be unbelievably impressive. Juggling is a hobby that can be hugely personally rewarding, whether you practice for five minutes at a time or an hour.

MUSIC

As with any hobby, if you take up an instrument and try to be the best, you will only be disappointed. The Internet will inevitably provide a video of a small child playing better than you can ever hope to. However, if you focus on playing for yourself and your own personal enjoyment, learning to play an instrument or to train your voice can be an incredibly fulfilling use of time and effort. Learn some simple songs that you enjoy and play them to yourself. There is no escaping that music is a difficult pastime, especially if you begin learning in adulthood, but even small progressive strides can bring about huge levels of personal satisfaction.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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