During our previous blog, Choose Happy Part 1, we discussed the importance of taking care of our personal interests through hobbies. You may be thinking, Does this mean that having a hobby makes me a happy person? The answer is NO. Although having meaningful activities in our lives is vital to our overall happiness, it’s only part of the equation. Our mind is always looking for some form of entertainment. Think about it this way, have you ever been in jury duty and have absolutely nothing to do? Our mind starts wondering, fantasizing, categorizing people and all the sudden you have the urge to get your phone and open the icon with the letter F. The truth is that we need to entertain our mind and with this in mind we should be able to provide some form of healthy entertainment.
We previously discussed the Productive Hobby, which is something enjoyable that produces some form of tangible or measurable result such as arts, crafts, sports and so on. But what happens when you really don’t feel like doing any of that? What do we do then? Now its time to discuss the other types of hobbies we must incorporate into the picture.
A passive hobby is something productive you enjoy doing yet you don’t have any tangible result. Reading, crossword puzzles, watching YouTube videos (related to your productive hobby) or things like that will be examples of this. Think of this as activities you would do in a waiting area if you didn’t have a smart phone. Sometimes we tend to depend on others for entertainment, but what happens if no one is around. This type of hobby is very useful when there is no one around and you’re bored. After all, boredom is one of the few things in life that doesn’t need a reason to be.
Kid: Mom I’m bored!
Mom: Oh you’re bored! Do you want to do something?
Kid: Yes! Wohoo!
Mom: Bring the vacuum cleaner and start vacuuming the living room then!
When kids are bored, it’s typically because they are missing good passive hobbies. Their ability to be by themselves reading, playing Legos, or any type of creative play is just not there. But, in all fairness, if the parent does not model this behavior how can we expect them to do it. This type of hobby can be a little tough to achieve when you have a lot of people around you demanding your attention; therefore, it’s good to set some private time if the day for it. If everything fails, lock yourself in the bathroom and knock one or two chapters out.
What do you mean by useless hobby? Exactly what it is, something that is completely unproductive and useless. Yes, I am talking about video games, Netflix, movies, TV series and all those things that adults get mad about! Are you saying that is good for my kids to be in front of a TV?? Yes! It is okay for us to take some time to relax and watch a TV series or play a video game.
There are times when people go through really bad experiences that they tend to keep themselves super active and productive in order to not have down time in their mind. There are also people who cannot sit through an entire movie. They are constantly getting up to do something, bringing drinks or cleaning while you’re watching it. This is kind of the same as the productive hobby. You have to dedicate some down time for you and get used to it. We also have to train our loved ones to respect our down time or join us in it. So, if you are watching a movie, put down that phone and enjoy the movie! Just as you wouldn’t be running and on Facebook at the same time, you don’t want to be playing a video game and on Instagram at the same time.
Now that we know what are the categories of hobbies, what do we do with them?
The key to a successful lifestyle with meaningful activities is being able to dedicate the time for all of them aside from our responsibilities. This means that if you read for work, you don’t count this as your passive hobby. If your work involves designing stuff on the computer, you wouldn’t count this as your productive hobby. If your work involves watching TV series, then please leave a comment below and tell me where to apply! The main comment I get this when I talk to people about it is “I don’t have time for this”. This is a true statement for many people establishing a new lifestyle, and the reason is that our life does not have the time designated for it but doesn’t mean that you cannot assign some time for these activities. For example, if you’re starting to work out, you may need to change some priorities in your life. If you decide to go to the gym early before work, then you may not have time for that evening beer with your friends the night before or that next episode on Netflix of the TV series you’re watching. We ultimately have to make time for them.
We have to try to do one of each, every day. The productive hobby will help us get that sense of accomplishment on a daily basis and will let us enjoy the other ones without any guilt. The passive hobby will occupy our mind during our down time and our useless hobby will help us relax.
Just the same way we cannot spend all day watching television, we couldn’t spend all day painting or reading. This is not a time based thing, we will have days in which we will spend more time in one than the other. We just have to make sure that we don’t neglect any and make the time for them throughout the day.
Remember that a lifestyle is not inherited, it is developed.