Zena Wigram singing to her plants

Research shows hobbies, music and nature can make you happier

Taking up hobbies can reduce depression by 30%

A University of London study shows that taking up a hobby makes it much less likely that you’ll develop depression. And if you do have depression, it will help you to get better.

A hobby could be gardening, painting, sewing, making music, volunteering or even doing jigsaw puzzles.

Adrian Iliuta (key influencer - Heathrow) in a garden
Key influencer Adrian Iliuta’s ‘at home’ gardening photo

Contact with nature lowers stress

A research paper published by Frontiers in Psychology showed that 20 – 30 minutes a day of being in contact with nature lowers stress by more than 20%. It doesn’t have to be anywhere specific, as long as you are “spending time in an outdoor place that brings a sense of contact with nature”.

The research was into being in nature without exercising, such as just sitting looking at a tree.

Exercising in a green space could be even better, because exercising also helps to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.

Listening to music makes you feel happier

A study by the The British Academy of Sound Therapy showed that listening to music makes you feel happier.

If you’re feeling stressed, listen to slow music, with a simply melody and no lyrics for 13 minutes. People who tried it felt less tense and more peaceful.

If you’re sad, 13 minutes of listening to music with words that you connect with can help you to feel less overwhelmed and release sadness.

And just nine minutes of listening to fast music with happy lyrics can make you feel happier and more satisfied with life and have more energy.

Fiona Dowling with flowering planters
Wellbeing champion Fiona Dowling with her new planters

As we begin to come out of lockdown, the challenges are changing.

Mental health charity Mind found that 60% of people in England say their mental health has got worse during lockdown, but 31% did not seek help.

They believe the easing of lockdown will bring extra challenges to go with the opportunities. Some people will find things even more difficult. If you need help, try Mind’s website self-help tool.

We have listed places you can get free support with your mental health.

Main photo: marketing manager Zena Wigram in her garden – some people say singing to plants helps them to grow!

Share your tips

Do you have any recommendations for music or hobbies other people can try? Please let us know your suggestions below.

 

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