The Best Hobbies To Take Up When You're Feeling Stressed

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JGI/Jamie Grill
JGI/Jamie Grill

Having a hobby has been noted time and again as an easy and productive way to improve your quality of life. That's right — everything from your stress levels to your heart health can be improved by finding a passion that suits your lifestyle.

According to Shape magazine, a hobby like knitting can reduce your blood pressure, while at the same time, engaging your mind.

There's also an element of having something to show for it as your develop your hobby. We love playing Word Streak with Friends on our phones as much as the next person, but it doesn't give the same satisfaction as, say, creating a photo album from pictures you developed yourself.

Take a look at eight old-fashioned hobbies we think are worth trying out — and the many benefits that can come from them:

  • Colour
    Scott Gries/Invision/AP
    By now, you've undoubtedly heard of the adult colouring craze. But what you might not realize is exactly how calming it can be to fill in those blank pictures with colour. The beauty of this hobby is that you can be as exacting — or as wide-sweeping — with colour as you'd like.
  • Knitting
    Chaloner Woods via Getty Images
    As far as calming influences go, it doesn't get more serene than knitting. According to Treehugger, the repetitive motion of knitting helps keep blood pressure low. Plus, if you're trying to quit something like smoking (or snacking), it's a great way to keep your hands busy.
    July 1967: A collection of knitting paraphernalia including wool, knitting needles, a tape measure and buttons.
  • Paint by Numbers
    ruby-jo/Flickr
    Why paint-by-numbers over, say, drawing? For those less artistically inclined, the definitive instructions as to which colour goes where is very reassuring, while for more creative types, blending and creating your own pattern is always a possibility. Plus, you can pass it off as your own artwork.
  • Building Models
    AP Photo/Don Brinn
    If you're good with your hands but don't necessarily have the chance to use that skill in your day-to-day life, completing a project like a model car can be immensely satisfying. You might also learn a thing or two about mechanics along the way, depending on the sophistication of your model.
    Dr. Elmer McKeen, a Huntington Park, Calif., dentist, goes in for unusual miniatures as his hobby.
  • Developing Photographs
    JanneM/Flickr
    This one requires more of a commitment, but that may make it all the more worthwhile. Creating a darkroom where you can process your own photographs will not only give a sense of accomplishment, but also ensures you actually have your memories somewhere ... instead of a just "in the cloud."
    Read about this darkroom here.
  • Needlepoint
    tarboxje/Flickr
    Another hobby that's part of the "handiwork" family (which includes knitting and quilting), as the University of Kentucky points out, doing needlework can improve concentration and even math skills (as you figure out which stitches go where).
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
    liza31337/Flickr
    Using your brain to figure out everything from sorting straight edges into one pile to figuring out exactly what goes where can help with problem-solving skills, memory and fine motor skills (plus a whole lot more, according to this blog). Teamwork is also a key factor here, a rarity for many hobbies.
  • Baking
    San José Library/Flickr
    The precise nature of baking is exactly what makes it not only a smart hobby, but a therapeutic one too. Something that calms the mind and provides you with cake at the end? We're in. Via Historic Photograph Collection (SJPL California Room); Date: circa 1955

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