Hobbies can sometimes seem like nuisances to us. They can even seem like something we just don't have the time for in the busyness of everyday life. Addiction treatment, however, thrives on hobbies.
Many discussions around rehab or recovery can have a negative tone, however, today we will be discussing our hobbies and how they can help us on the long road to recovery.
Before we begin, it is important to understand that the connection between mental illness and addiction is so strong. We at Addiction Treatment Services understand this connection between addiction and mental health, and we want to help you on the road to recovery.
First, let's take a look at why hobbies are helpful, and then we will discuss some specific hobbies that can be beneficial during recovery, so that you have a tangible point of reference going forward.
How Are Hobbies Helpful?
Hobbies are an outlet that provide us with something to do while we aren't busy working and taking care of other responsibilities. They keep us active and motivated without stressing us out. While some hobbies are not extremely productive, such as playing video games, for example, they all leave us feeling good and calm afterwards.
It is no secret that human beings today have undergone the process of natural selection over time. See, we have a drive in us as part of our evolutionary history to seek out the things that make us feel good, such as eating food, drinking water, and so on. These activities activate reward centers in the brain to release “feel-good” chemicals to reward us for doing them.
Natural selection has caused us to develop a need to do things that are productive, beneficial to our bodies, or that make us better in some other way. Thanks to the reward centers in the brain, we feel good when we do these types of things. All of this is for the purpose of staying alive. Thus, when we do something that makes us feel good, most of the time, that thing is something that is beneficial to us.
We enjoy feeling productive just as much as we enjoy activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, or hiking. The reason is because these things make us feel alive.
How Hobbies Help Your Recovery
One of the greatest fights you will likely face in addiction is the fight of boredom. Addiction treatment thrives on being busy because otherwise, boredom can quickly lead to relapse. However, none of us want to be busy all the time, since this can make us feel overwhelmed and stressed.
While nobody wants to be busy constantly, in addiction treatment, it is important to have certain activities or hobbies that do occupy the majority of your time in order to avoid the potential for relapse.
Hobbies can take up a large amount of your time. Running takes a period of time, as does drawing, or becoming skilled in playing guitar or singing. These things occupy our time, however, they are a different kind of time killer. These periods of time make us feel fulfilled and leave us feeling good.
This is where we need to differentiate between instant gratification hobbies, like video games and watching television, and productive hobbies. Both are helpful, but in the end, productive hobbies will leave us feeling, well, productive, whereas instant gratification hobbies are simply time wasters that do not lead to anything greater being accomplished.
Chasing this good feeling of contributing to the world, or your own well-being, is the feeling we should want to chase. This good feeling is so different than the instant gratification that substances provide. If we seek instant hobbies, then we will be creating the same patterns of an addiction, rather than the beneficial patterns of productive hobbies.
Hobbies Connect Us
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of hobbies is that they have the potential to unite us in community. We are connected to each other when we do certain hobbies together. Connection is one of the strongest weapons in combating addiction.
Many of these hobbies bring us together for one common cause and allow us to meet others who share our ideas and beliefs. Being able to hike with someone, overcome obstacles on a run with someone, or meet to play music together can bonds us in a way that nothing else can. Having a strong support system is key to overcoming obstacles in addiction recovery.
Now that we have discussed why hobbies are helpful, let's look below to discover which kind of hobbies can best suit us. It can be difficult to discern.
Engaging in hobbies that get the body moving are extremely valuable for our overall health, especially while undergoing addiction treatment. This is because exercise can help speed up the body's detoxification process and lead to more positive feelings.
For some people, running long distances seems insane, yet to others, it can be therapeutic. It is sometimes referred to as the “runner's high” where they experience euphoria and little fatigue after miles and miles of running. Running can help us because it is so good for our cardiovascular system. It can also bond us with others through trials, and give us a lot of time to talk to our friends and loved ones if we run together.
While running may not necessarily be for everyone, there are other hobbies that help addiction recovery. One of them is yoga. Yoga engages the spiritual and mental side of exercise. Prostrating the body into various shapes and poses is actually very taxing work, and it can engage the core of our being as well as help us to relax, calm down, and reflect.
Other active hobbies you can try are swimming, hiking, biking, or playing sports.
Hobbies that are creative give us projects that make us feel like we have made something that contributes to the world in some way. Taking an art class, or just pursuing drawing, or writing, or whatever other creative hobby you enjoy is a great way to get our innermost emotions out on the table.
Along with this, we can bring beauty into the world musically. Musical talent is something you practice, so picking up an instrument or vocal practice is something that you can do every day. This can also bond you with others if you find others to help teach you how to play your instrument, or just to jam with.
Finally, journaling, writing poetry, or blogging are all great hobbies that are able to get our thoughts and feelings onto the page.
Hobbies in Nature
Hiking is a great way to connect with nature. Experts often find that getting out into nature is a great way to improve our overall mood. Camping, fishing, or surfing are all ways we can appreciate the world around us.
Along with this, spiritual practices like meditation are extremely beneficial to helping us be our fullest person. This is not simply sitting cross legged and humming, but more than that, it is simply the practice of being aware at all times, and this works especially well when done in a beautiful place such as at the beach or in a grassy area.
While hobbies are fantastic supports for addiction recovery, it is important to understand that you cannot treat yourself with them alone. Professional addiction treatment is the only true way to get help with your substance abuse problems.
Addiction Treatment Services exists to help you find the right treatment program for you. We numerous locations to serve you and help you on the road to recovery. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling (877) 455-0055. Please do not hesitate. Get started with your addiction recovery today.