Hobbies can protect older people from depression, a study finds

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Most of us love our hobbies, be it reading a good book, knitting or playing chess.

But did you know that a hobby can actually make you happier and healthier, especially if you’re over 65?

Researchers at University College London (UCL) investigated this and found that older people who enjoy hobbies are generally happier, healthier and more satisfied with their lives.

And this isn’t just a one-country thing; It’s a trend that seems to be happening all over the world.

What did the study achieve?

Researchers wanted to find out whether hobbies really made older people happier and healthier, or whether it just seemed that way.

They examined five large studies that had been conducted for many years and targeted people aged 65 and older.

These studies collected data from people living in the United States, England, Japan, China and 12 countries in Europe.

In total, they reviewed answers and information from more than 93,000 people! They wanted to find out whether people with hobbies felt better and were less prone to depression.

They also took into account things like whether someone was married, how much money they had, and whether or not they worked.

So are hobbies the secret to happiness?

Guess what? People with hobbies generally fared better. They were happier, felt better about their health and were more satisfied with their lives.

Additionally, the good effects of a hobby seemed to last; People who had hobbies felt less depressed over time.

Dr. Karen Mak, the lead researcher, said hobbies can make us happy because they give us a sense of control and purpose.

They also make us feel like we’re good at something, which can be very important as we get older and may no longer work.

Hobbies around the world

Interestingly, the benefits of a hobby seemed to apply virtually everywhere, from the United States to Europe to Japan. However, not everyone said they had a hobby.

For example, almost all people in Denmark said they had a hobby, while less than half of people in China said the same.

The researchers assume that this could be because the Chinese survey only asked about social hobbies such as going to clubs and not about individual hobbies such as reading or painting.

The study also found that in countries where people generally live longer and say they are happy, more people also have hobbies.

This makes researchers think that perhaps policymakers should encourage older people to pursue hobbies to improve their lives.

Why should you care?

Why is this study important, you ask? Well, the world’s population is getting older, which means more and more people are reaching the age where they stop working and have more free time.

It is becoming increasingly important to find ways to make these years happy and healthy. Encouraging older people to pursue a hobby they love could be an easy and inexpensive way to do just that.

In simple terms, the message is clear: If you’re older and looking for an easy way to boost your happiness and health, taking up a hobby you enjoy might be just the thing.

So go ahead, grab that book you’ve always wanted to read or start that garden you’ve always thought about. Your future self may thank you.

If you’re interested in depression, please read Studies on levodopa, a Parkinson’s drug that may help inflammation-related depression, and the results of a new therapy that may be better at beating depression than the current champion.

For more information on mental health, see recent studies on How Dairy May Affect Depression Riskand results are displayed Omega-3 fats can help relieve depression.

The research results can be found in natural medicine.

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Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: LauraCoffey@worldtimetodays.com.

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