Pursue a hobby for better health

Pursue a hobby for better health

Today feels like one of those perfect days when my household chores get done before time and I find some extra time on hand. Days, when I can plan out my work and complete it and be satisfied with myself. And, happy, too!

Yes, my work–my writing and my art–gives me immense happiness. And, on days when I am unable to indulge in either of these, it feels as if I missed out on something very important, which makes me cranky. Writing and art are the two hobbies that make my heart feel contented and my mind, relaxed. And, as I finished my housework before time, I could actually sit down this morning to make an artwork before beginning this post as opposed to every other day when I have to fight for some time for my art.

Hobbies are a part of our life, be it writing, reading, art, sewing, crocheting, gardening, cooking, baking, dancing, singing….the list goes on. These are activities that may not help us earn our livelihood, but more importantly, these help us stay mentally and physically healthy.

HOW HOBBIES HELP OUR MENTAL HEALTH:

IMPROVE FOCUS & CONCENTRATION: When you sit down to read, write or draw, or, in short, spend some time pursuing a hobby, your mind makes space for thoughts related to that activity and gets rid of all the clutter that usually crowds the mind. Your worries, stress, anxiety, irritation, anger, sorrow – all of it gets replaced by a sense of calm and peace. Your attention span improves, you focus wholly on that activity and become oblivious to the rest of the world. Hobbies quieten the restless mind and help you reap the benefits of being ‘still’.

IMPROVE MOOD: The time you spend doing that activity instantly improves your mood, which, in turn, results in a release of your happy hormones–endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. You may have noticed how refreshed you are by the time you have completed the activity. A dancer might feel all the more energetic, or a singer might feel a lot calmer. And, an artist might feel jubilant at having created the art he/she had planned in detail.

REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION : Hobbies are those activities that help us push away all the other thoughts, the what-ifs, the stressors and concentrate on creating something with our hands, our fingers. Watching it ‘coming to life’ drives away the thoughts that make us anxious or depressed and relieve us of all the accumulated stress. Hobbies can, actually, act like a drug that reduces anxiety, increases calmness and helps us sleep better!

HOW HOBBIES HELP OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH:

KEEP YOU FIT: Your hobby keeps you physically active and as a result, fit and healthy. Be it dance, sports, gardening, or any other activity which requires you to step outdoors and get moving, It helps your heart beat wonderfully and exercises every muscle, every bone that would otherwise lie idle, lolling on the couch, doing nothing!

HELP YOU SOCIALISE: If it’s a hobby that requires you to step outdoors and visit places, then you are sure to meet like-minded people, who share your passion for that hobby. You learn to share your experiences, swap ideas and express yourself better. And, if you are an introvert, then be sure to observe a sea change in yourself if you begin pursuing a hobby that asks of you to step ‘out’ of your cocoon! Your social circle is sure to widen and loneliness will become a thing of the past.

HELP YOU WIDEN YOUR HORIZONS: Yes, these are activities that will not only help you health-wise, but also increase your knowledge, change your perspectives and help you learn something much more than you ever imagined. There are a countless things in our world we know nothing about. Your hobby is sure to help you discover something new and help improve your skills, give you new ideas and teach you newer ways of doing things. I learned Zentangle and making the Mandala through the various social media platforms–art forms I never knew existed!

We live our lives in pursuit of peace and happiness. That’s why, in a life that is so short, uncertain and full of stress and difficulties, it helps having a hobby that gives us some moments of respite from all the chaos; gives our mind and body a few moments of peace and joy that give us renewed energy to go back out there and tackle Life and its complicated situations, all over again.

So, what’s your hobby? Do you make time for it in your daily schedule?

Love,

SHILPA..

 

Your hobby keeps you healthy.

 

 

 

 

How your pets help improve your Life.

How your pets help improve your Life.

I came across this little piece of information that this is the Animal-Human Relationship Awareness Week. It was a revelation for me, indeed, that people celebrated an entire week in honour of the relationship we humans share with animals, and hence decided to do this post.

We humans have had animals not only as pets, but also as security guards and hunters since years. However, it is as pets that our animal friends have made us realise their importance in our lives. I have had pets since childhood. My very first pet was a rabbit that I picked up from a play ground. It actually belonged to a friend, who was in the process of disposing of the poor creature.

So, it was as a little girl that I learned to be responsible for another life. And, it has been this magical bond that I have had with all my pets that has taught me a precious lot about Life.

Sharing with you all today…

5 ways in which your pets improve your life:

Pets help you de-stress:

You return from work bone-tired, and as you open the door, this bundle of fur comes dashing across the room with happiness writ large on its face. How do you feel?

I would feel on top of the world! Here was someone who cared about me–really cared about me–and was delighted to meet me at the end of the day. How special it felt! Still does, when I return home and Cookie comes flying towards me and perches on my shoulder, chirping excitedly, as if asking me where I had been!

All the day’s fatigue vanishes in no time and you feel refreshed. You share your day’s troubles with this little creature who does not understand head or tail of what you speak, but at the end of this talk, you feel relieved. Having unburdened yourself thus, you now look forward to spending the evening peacefully, with a happy tail wagging by your side, or twirling around your legs as you prepare supper.

Pets teach you the meaning of true love:

My pet showers me with unconditional love!”

How many times you may have read/heard this line and wondered what’s the fuss all about, isn’t it? But, really, ask a pet owner and you will know what we mean. It was only after experiencing it with Chikoo that I learnt the true meaning of unconditional love. You may be sick/tired/angry/harried/irritated and as a result venting all your frustration on your pet, and all you will get in return is slobbery kisses and eyes dripping with love.

Your pet will never, ever, abandon you, especially when it sees you in this miserable condition. They stay by your side, offering you their quiet company, their shoulder to cry on. They do their best to heal your broken heart and give you the reassurance that, come what may, they will be by your side, always.

*Sniff sniff*

Pets help you socialise:

Being a shy person, communicating with people has always been an Achilles Heel. I would much rather keep my thoughts to myself than share them with others. But, with pets, you learn to open up and come out of your shell, mingle freely.

Taking them out for walks brings you in the company of people and you learn to loosen your tongue. I would always find ways to get out of a situation where I had to speak with strangers. I still do, but now, at least I am prepared to speak if the situation arises. All thanks to my pets, I am, at times, eager to socialise!

 

Pets help you stay fit and healthy:

If you have a dog, it is an accepted fact that if you don’t take him out for a walk, he will bring the house down. If you have pet rabbits, you may not have to take them out for a walk, but you will definitely be down on all fours coaxing them out from under the bed, or running around the house looking for them when they decide to play hide-and-seek.

And, if you have pet parrots, and you decide to let them out of their cages, you spend your time bending down to clean up their droppings or coaxing them to come out of their weird hiding places or keeping an eye on what they put into their mouths!

So, with all of these activities, you are definitely going to stay on your feet, away from the couch, working out and staying physically fit and mentally calm.

Well, it does take a lot of patience getting animals and birds to do your bidding, so, of course it teaches you how to stay calm in every situation!

And, finally,

 

Pets help fight loneliness:

With all the unconditional love they shower on us, it comes as no surprise that pets make for the best companions–better than humans! Your partner, children, friends will all be with you, but only for some time. But, your pets will be with you as long as they live. They place you ahead of themselves; you are their world, so in your moments of loneliness, they will be by your side, licking away those wounds that are seldom visible to others’ eyes.

I remember Chikoo would limp towards me, place his paw on my thigh and assure me that he would be with me, always. Those moments of utter loneliness saw me wade through only because of his presence. And, now, Cookie carries forward the tradition.

It helps having a pet by your side. They distract your attention from stuff that’s harmful to you–your stress, for example. The attention they seek from you helps you forget about your worries and focus on them.  Refreshed, when you get back to the issue that caused you the worry, you realise how futile the exercise was! Don’t you agree?

Do you have a pet? How has it changed your Life? Do share with me; I am a sucker for pet stories!

Love,

SHILPA…

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Pets are good for our health and our life!

 

 

Habits make you.

Habits make you.

It’s the first day of a brand new month, and a good day as any, to begin something new. So, why not do something that I have been trying to work on, but failing successfully for so long now?  My mind was as wide awake last night at 1 am, as it is at 8 am, as I lay in bed, ruminating on the need for something new, something different.

My Geminian nerves get restless if something new and exciting isn’t happening every now and then. I get bored with the little things in life. No, I don’t cast away those boring little things, I just push them to some far corner of my mind and look for something to replace them with; something that challenges me, makes me work hard and changes me in its own little way.

So, as I lay thinking about this much-needed change I wished to bring, a line from an Instagram post flashed in my mind. A blogger friend, Vasantha Vivek shared it–a digital detox tip:

“Stay away from your mobile before 9 am & after 9 pm everyday.

 

These words just popped out of nowhere last night and I almost sat up! Now, that is the kind of change I needed! Since the longest time, I have been trying to break this particular habit of mine, but in vain. I would just give up after a week, or so, and then repent. But, what good was all that repentance when I wasn’t doing anything about it?

So, last night, I decided, that, this is it, enough is enough.  This is what’s been bothering me, and I am going to get it out of my system, altogether. How wonderful it felt! And, today being the 1st of a new month, I felt I needed something new to feel good about.  A good change that would, definitely, help me.

So, today, my phone stayed far away from me till 9 am and after 9 pm and also in between.

Do you wish to know how well I succeeded?

Today, I finished my chores before the usual time.

I finished writing a new article.

I worked on a blog post for the next week and prepared a Pinterest image for the same.

I began reading a new motivational book.

And, finally, my eyes felt less tired as I did not strain them by staring mindlessly at my phone.

So, thank you, Vasantha, if you are reading this!

 

Life was really so much more peaceful and less distracting before these damned smart phones invaded our world, isn’t it? And, we, the idiots, just let ourselves get all carried away, and now, look where it’s landed us!

But, as I said, any day is a good day to break an old habit and work on forming a new one.

TIPS TO FORM A NEW HABIT:

1. Think about the one habit you really wish to change.

2. Write it down in your journal.

3. On a page, write the date you decide on beginning the change. 

4. Mark the date that comes 21 days later (a habit normally takes 21 days to change).

5. Make conscious efforts to make sure you follow the change you have decided upon.

6. Make an entry in your journal everyday about how you fared.

7. Be mindful about how you behave, the activities that you do.

8. At the end of a week, see if there is any improvement. If there is, reward yourself to motivate yourself to keep going.

9. At the end of 21 days, see if you have been successful in breaking the habit for good.

10. Celebrate your victory!

 

 

It does need a lot of work, and patience, to keep working on yourself so that that old, annoying habit doesn’t return and ruin things for us.

I plan on working on it, working on myself and coming back a month later to read this post and write a new one about how I kept my word to myself, so, help me God!

it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. I plan on waiting for 31 days to see how well I succeed. I know, I will succeed!  I quit drinking coffee! Yup, it’s been more than a month now, and it feels so good!

So, do visit Metanoia on the 1st of next month to see if I do succeed!

Do you wish to join me in bringing about a little change in yourself? Maybe something similar to what I have decided–changing the relationship we have with our stupid phones?  Do let me know and we will work towards it, one day at a time, one step at a time. 

Love,

SHILPA..

 

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It is difficult changing old habits. But, it helps to form new ones for the sake of your health.