Why is having enough hobbies and interests important? Tune in to find out while also brushing up on your English listening!
Hey everyone, it's the start of 2023, so let's kick off the year with a podcast about something beneficial for your mental well-being! Let's talk about how to increase your happiness. If you're looking to boost your joy, it's essential that you have various hobbies and activities in your life. But why is this? Let's explore and discuss the topic while you get the opportunity to practice your English listening skills!
✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/english-listening-practice-hobby-happy/
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Beneficial Hierarchy Hobby Belonging Esteem Creative Concert Craft Anhedonia Prescribe Sewing
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Hi there. Happy New Year. All the best wishes for 2023! And let's start this year with a bang! Let's do a podcast about something that's useful to know about your mental health. How to make yourself happy or happier at least. And this is something that I observe as a psychotherapist too. If you want to make yourself happy or happier, then make sure that you have enough hobbies and interests in your life.
This is really important and I'll be sharing a little bit of research data on this, some reasons why I think that this is important and some personal experience. So why not practice your English language understanding at the same time as listening to this interesting material? Here goes.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Before I start, don't forget, please click subscribe. The more subscribers we have for Adept English, the more people will be able to find Adept English. Thank you very much for doing that for us. It means a lot.
So as ever, vocabulary first. You may be wondering what is she talking about? Hobbies? So a 'hobby', H O B B Y, or H O B B I E S for the plural. A 'hobby' is an activity, something that you do entirely for pleasure or for interest. It's something that you do in your spare time because you enjoy it. And the effect that a hobby can have in your life is usually underestimated by most people. It has more positive effect than you think. It turns out that hobbies are really important to your mental health, your sense of wellbeing. 'Mental health' means 'the health of your mind'. Really, whether you're happy or sad.
Now, if you've ever come across something called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? It'll be called something different in your language, of course. But Abraham Maslow and this model may be something that you already know, you're already familiar with. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist. His model, the Hierarchy of Needs, defines what human beings need and in what order. So in order of priority or 'hierarchy'. That's H I E R A R C H Y, 'hierarchy'. And a 'hierarchy' puts the most important things at the front. So Abraham Maslow puts 'Physical Needs' first, like food, water, air, shelter, sleep, clothing, warmth, et cetera.
Next, he puts 'Safety Needs'. So as human beings, we need to feel safe.
And then 'belonging'. That's B E L O N G I N G. If you 'belong', you feel part of something and belonging is important because you need to feel part of a group. You need to have friends, family, you need to feel loved.
After this need comes the need for 'esteem'. That's E S T E E M. And 'esteem' means how important, how worthy and valid do you see yourself? Do you deserve self-respect? If you do, you've got good self-esteem or good self-esteem means feeling you are worthy of respect. And your need for achievement and to have confidence and to feel skilled at something comes into this layer of Maslow's Hierarchy called 'Esteem Need'.
So where do hobbies fit into this? Well, of course, if your basic Physical Needs are not being taken care of, then that is priority number one. You're not going to be thinking about hobbies if you're homeless, for instance. And if your basic Safety Needs are not met, you're not going to be able to feel inspired by something.
But I would say that hobbies does come into the next two levels of need, that of Needing to Belong and that Need for Esteem. I think hobbies can be really important there.
So family and friends and that 'sense of belonging' is really important to most people's mental health, but where these aren't quite as you'd like them to be or where you don't see your family and friends as much as you would like, then hobbies are often a great substitute, something you can do in place of.
So if you haven't got company or the connections that you would like, then a hobby is a good second place. Hobbies can be like old, faithful friends. They're always there for you. They don't leave you or desert you. They're dependable. They wait for you to return to them, and they deliver the enjoyment all over again. That is if you've found the right hobby for you, and it's a very personal business. It's a very personal choice.
A photograph of a man fishing. Are you looking for ways to improve your mental health and make yourself happier? Join us for our first English language podcast in 2023 to learn about how to make yourself more content.
And I think that hobbies can edge into the next level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as well. They're not just like old friends. They also afford us some scope for having self-esteem, self-respect, developing our skills, a sense of achievement. A sense of having value, if you like.
You could even put some of them, like making music or art, right at the top of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - that of 'Spiritual Need' or 'Self-Actualisation'.
I think that hobbies at their best are part of what make you feel alive and human. They make us feel part of humanity and give us meaning, particularly where hobbies involve being 'creative'. That's C R E A T I V E. That means 'you make things', 'you produce things', you create. It can sometimes feel as though you're channelling something bigger than yourself!
Now, hobbies can be all kinds of things. For those of you doing IELTS or English language exams, listen carefully. I'm about to give you a list. A hobby could be playing a musical instrument like a piano, a guitar, or a ukulele. It could be singing in a choir or going to concerts. That means musical performances, a 'concert', C O N C E R T.
It could be making art, like painting or modelling. Or craft, C R A F T of some kind. Like those people who knit or crochet postbox covers in the UK. That's a craft.
Or it could be that you like to visit art galleries and museums for your hobby.
It might be a sport. It might be a sport like cricket or golf or tennis or rowing.
A hobby could also be baking cakes or collecting something. You might collect coins or stamps, or your hobby might be travelling to new places in the world.
It could be breeding cats or dogs or horses. It could be riding horses. It could be gardening or visiting gardens and growing things. Or you might be one of those people who own a steam engine or a train set in your loft.
Whatever is your thing, whatever is important to you, whatever you enjoy, that's your interest, that's your hobby.
One of the things that became much clearer during the pandemic was how much people get out of their hobbies, how much value hobbies give us. If your hobby is a sport that you do with other people, then it's unlikely that during the pandemic you were able to do that hobby.
If your hobby involved going someplace and using specialist equipment, you probably weren't able to do it in the pandemic.
Things I missed particularly during the pandemic? Going to a restaurant and eating out. And rather bizarrely, swimming! I really yearned to swim outdoors. I did finally do it in the River Lot in France, near where my sister lives in 2020, but it was a rare thing!
Most of us realised during the pandemic how much we need other people, to do things with, for our enjoyment.
But those of us who have hobbies that we can just get on with quietly at home on our own - they were really important to us during the pandemic, like faithful old friends, as I've said.
If you feel a bit sad or alone or you're bored, you can simply lose yourself in a hobby for two or three hours or even longer than that if you like.
You have pleasure and a sense of achievement at the end of it. It's like kind of therapy maybe!
If you have hobbies, then you're often in a much better position with regards to your mental health. You know how to fill your spare time. You have enthusiasm for things.
You have activities that you're interested in and motivated about. Things that reward you. And they give you some meaning in your life. When I'm doing my psychotherapy work, I often recommend hobbies as a way to find reward, manage your mood, improve your level of happiness.
The sad thing is many people weren't introduced to hobbies or activities as a child, so they've never found out what it is that they enjoy.
That's why we do all those activities, like taking our children to swimming and ballet and gymnastics lessons between the ages of seven and twelve. That's when people locate their interests, very often. They're introduced to those interests by the adults in their lives.
And some people never had opportunity to explore what it is that they enjoy. So for some people, maybe it's important to do that as an adult, to find out what the rewarding hobbies and interests are for you. Sometimes it takes effort to discover what these are!
So research (links are in the transcript) shows that having a hobby is linked to lower levels of depression, lower levels of unhappiness. One of the signs of depression is something called 'anhedonia'. That's A N H E D O N I A, and it means 'the absence of pleasure', particularly where you're doing something that used to be pleasurable.
You cannot get enjoyment from things, that's what it means. I often think the opposite of depression is enthusiasm rather than happiness. That experience of feeling inspired by something. And carefully chosen, hobbies can give you that, especially if you're not getting that from the other areas of your life.
This is so much so that doctors in the UK are now doing something called 'social prescribing'. If you 'prescribe', that's a verb, P R E S C R I B E - as a doctor, that means you 'order a treatment'. You order something to benefit health. Now, traditionally, that's pills or medicines, but actually UK doctors are now prescribing social activities like exercise and hobbies because they are found to have a bigger effect on improving people's mental health. That's 'social prescribing'.
Another approach to mental health that's being utilised, that's being used? Something called 'Behavioral Activation'. This idea is the result of quite a bit of research, which aimed to find what 'intervention', what type of treatment most helps people? Helps people most effectively in the shortest time with their mental health.
And it was found that prescribing hobbies and pleasurable activities had the most effect in the shortest time. Finding ideas to inspire and excite people. That's the basic idea here.
And there is no end of hobbies. There's such a variety of hobbies around. The important thing is it's the right one and it brings you joy!
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Sewing. That's S E W I N G. That's a hobby that people enjoy. It means making things out of cloth and thread and possibly with a sewing machine. And that's fine for some people. But I hate sewing with a vengeance. That means I really, really don't like sewing. . It just makes me cross. That's not my hobby. That wouldn't be the right hobby for me!
But if you want to know my two hobbies? It's painting landscapes or going to art galleries. That's one.
And the other one is gardening, growing things and visiting other gardens. They're my two main hobbies. And psychologically they do me good. It's like a type of therapy!
My other hobby, if you like? Reading and listening to podcasts, but maybe everybody does that, don't they?
I've got much more on this subject if you would like to know more. In the meantime, listen to this podcast a number of times until you can understand all the words. And use it to help you think about your hobbies and interests and maybe what you want to pursue in 2023.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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