The following is a guest article written by Maria Cannon from Hobby Jr.
Star Wars versus Star Trek. Marvel versus DC Comics. David Tennant versus Tom Baker (for the Doctor Who fans in the house). The realm of geek culture is seemingly full of endless debates, and fans can become just as polarized as they are passionate. Luckily, there’s one thing that experts believe we can all agree on: our hobbies are actually good for our mental health.
“Being geeky is just like being a gourmet food lover, or a car nut, or cricket fan,” says The Nerd Manual’s Brian Collier. “It’s healthy to be interested in making friends, and there’s nothing wrong with having a small number of very close friends who connect well with you.”
To Collier’s point, geeky hobbies aren’t really all that different from any other type of hobby. And like other hobbies, they can have a variety of mental health and emotional health benefits. When it comes to mental health and mental fitness, hobbying can help us to reduce stress and anxiety, offering feelings of accomplishment while taking our mind off of life’s worries. It also helps boost our mood, helping us fight off depression.
We all should be concerned with keeping a healthy, active brain as we age – and there’s more good news here. Hobbies like playing cards, board games or video games actually help to challenge your brain. In addition to building new skills, social games and events – such as Live Action Role Playing (LARPing), attending comic book conventions, or participating in epic card game tournaments – all help to provide opportunities for socializing… and sometimes even allow you the opportunity to meet your favorite celebrities face-to-face.
Recent science shows that hobbies can be useful to those individuals who are recovering addicts or looking to avoid addiction issues which may run in their families. Hobbies are good for preventing and recovering from addiction because they provide us with a social circle, which acts like a support system.
For addicts in particular, hobbies such as gaming or attending social events can offer the mind a distraction from addiction cravings while also easing the mind. Getting out of your head so that you to focus on positive thoughts and experiences is extremely important during addiction recovery.
The only word of advice to addicts is to avoid games which involve gambling, events where there might be drugs or alcohol, or video games which might be used as a form of escapism. As long as you have balance and you don’t feel tempted to return to drug or alcohol abuse, your hobby is probably healthy.
We all enjoy distractions from life’s problems from time to time. However, if you suspect that your hobby is turning into a means of avoidance or escapism, here are some tips to bring it back into a healthy balance.
So go ahead. Dress up in costumes, collect comic books, attend comic cons, and wave your geek flag with pride. Not only is it fun for you and your friends; it might actually be good for you, too.
Author: Maria Cannon