6 Surprising Benefits of Having a Hobby


When I was a law school student, I attended a speech by our state’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a woman who was in her late 40’s or early 50’s at the time. Besides being Chief Justice, she was also a mom. 

At the time, I thought I was an exceptionally busy person. I was a full-time student and ran a business part-time. But I still had ample time for myself each day, whether it was watching TV, renovating our 1920’s house, planting a tomato garden, or brewing homebrewed beer. 

So during this event I was shocked when the Chief Justice gave us some advice:

Always make sure you carve out at least an hour each week for a hobby.

At the time, I was shocked. An hour a week? How was it even possible that someone can have so little time for themselves?

Fast forward a few years, I was a young associate at a law firm and a mom to an infant and toddler. I looked back on this advice wondering how anyone could find an hour a month for themselves. 

Now, fast forward a few more years, and I see how the Chief Justice’s advice fits just right. I don’t have an hour each day for a hobby, but I can definitely find that time in a week.  

I play tennis. It’s a skill I’m actively working to improve. I also take time to write.

A hobby is more than just something you do to relax, it’s something that requires you to engage your brain. It’s not about zoning out, it’s about hyper-focusing and finding your flow. 

So why should you have a hobby?

Surprising Benefits of Having a Hobby  

We all know that hobbies that involve physical exercise will improve our health and that having a hobby will help you relax and relieve stress. Additionally, hobbies help you build relationships with those you are engaging in the hobby with.  

But why else should you have a hobby?

Here are the top surprising benefits of having a hobby.

Hobbies Help You Solve Problems

Do you have an issue that you are stuck on and can’t quite figure out? Research suggests that spending time on a hobby will help you solve a problem that is lingering in your head:

“Evidence suggests that taking a break or doing something different can help to weaken those associations and improve problem-solving by revealing a new approach or an overlooked detail.”

Hobbies Help You Build Brain Cells

Whether it’s reading, playing a musical instrument, learning a language, or pretty much any hobby you can think of, learning a new skill helps improve your brain function. If you are interested in learning more about your brain, check out Livewired.

Even Non-Exercise Hobbies Will Help You Lose Weight

Yes, your physical health improves when you take up golf as your hobby. But what about gardening? Or playing the saxophone? 

Evidence suggests that even these hobbies (so long as you enjoy them) will improve your health:

“[Highly enjoyable activities] were associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index, and perceptions of better physical function.” 

You’ll Live Longer

Studies have shown that those with hobbies live longer than those without. Check out this scientific study that showed that those with hobbies had much better outcomes for breast cancer.  

Having a Hobby Will Improve Your Work

You might think your job is so demanding that you can’t make time for a hobby. However, taking up a hobby will actually improve your work. This study showed that:

“Creative activity was found to have both indirect effects and direct effects on performance-related outcomes.”

Having a Hobby Will Make You Rich

Ok, so I can’t find a research paper that directly supports that you will become rich with a hobby, but let’s do the math. Certain hobbies can be turned into businesses, plus we know that having a hobby will improve your work, and help you solve problems.

So, as long as you don’t spend all of your money on a crazy expensive hobby, it seems easy enough to put two and two together and see that having a hobby will make you rich.

The Bottom Line

Whether it’s sports, music, art, cooking, science, reading, gardening, or something else, having a hobby is good for your wallet and even better for your life. 

So, what’s your hobby?

This month we will be focused on fun and leisure, so stick around for more reasons to have fun in your day!