Why Adults Need Playtime, Too

Playtime Isn't Just for Kids...

Mother and daughter playing on slide at playground
Kristen Curette/Stocksy United

It’s important to your stress level and your happiness quotient that you have at least one activity that you do regularly just for fun. Hobbies and other fun activities provide a fun way to sharpen skills, express your creativity, or just blow off steam. Also, when you get really engrossed in an activity you enjoy, you can experience a state of being known as flow, in which your brain is in a near-meditative state, which has benefits for your for your body, mind, and soul.

(You can read more about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation here.)

Hobbies and fun activities can bring added joy and happiness to life, and can be a great way to relieve stress as well. In fact, many hobbyists have told me that they’d originally started learning about their area of interest as a coping mechanism for stress, and that their hobbies continue to be a great source of relaxation and stress relief. Some people are even able to turn their hobbies into careers at some point, and end up with a lifestyle where their work is their play.

Another benefit of fun is the lift in mood that it can bring. Beyond merely bringing positive feelings to your life, doing things that get you into a better mood can actually make you more resilient toward stress.  This is something that has been researched as part of psychology's broaden-and-build theory; activities that raise our level of positive affect, or increase our good mood, can lead us to be more aware of resources in our lives that can help us to remain strong in the face of stress.

When we're more aware of these potential resources, we tend to take advantage of them more, while builds resilience and leads to a further increase in positive affect — what's often referred to as an "upward spiral of positivity," which can really help relieve stress that you currently face, as well as future stress.

Enjoying activities that are pure fun, known as pleasures, or activities that challenge you in just the right way, known as gratifications, can lead to this upward spiral. 

Finally, having fun with others can bring a sense of connection that strengthens relationships and builds social support. Bonding with others while having fun is good for you, and for those close to you. It's more than a frivolous pursuit; it's important for your overall wellbeing.

Are you convinced yet? If so, the following resources can help you discover new potential hobbies that can also be great stress relievers. You’ll also find information on how to get started.

Top 10 Hobbies for Stress Relief

Find a new passion in this list of stress relieving hobbies and related resources. These can challenge you in a way that relieves stress, and many of them build creativity as well.  

Fun Stress Relievers

These stress relievers can also help you to get in touch with your fun side. They're great to try alone, and many of them are great as group activities, so you can help yourself relieve stress, and let your friends or kids join in the fun as well.

One of the best things about fun stress relievers is that they are easier to maintain.

Enjoy Art Therapy — Even If You're Not Particularly 'Artsy'

Enjoying creative pursuits can be good for your stress levels, even if (or perhaps especially if) you're not someone who considers yourself particularly artistic. Read more about why, and find art activities that appeal to you.

Continue Reading