Keeping Anxiety in Check with Hobbies
Anxiety is the capacity to identify and respond to stress. When we’re able to reset our “anxiety alarm,” by recognizing and avoiding anxiety triggers, we’re also able to recognize and appreciate our incredible power to determine and control our own self-worth.
With effort, we all have the capacity to learn mastery and earn the respect of others. However, we live in an impersonal and random world, and it’s impossible to control every negative situation we encounter. As a result, it’s important to also find value in ourselves and become our own source of worth. Developing hobbies is an important way to feel empowered and valued as individuals.
Internalizing Negativity and Low Self-Esteem
As adults, our self-esteem comes to rest entirely on the judgment of others. And if someone is displeased with our actions, we judge ourselves harshly and devalue our self-worth. As negative emotions buildup, we develop feelings of depression and anxiety, and begin to feel worthless.
Low self-esteem is a natural part of human development and adulthood. As children, we seek attention from our mothers and learn to behave in ways that will earn their approval. This subconscious need to please is carried with us as we develop and grow – and as adults, we continue to pursue validation from friends, coworkers, and even strangers.
In order to reduce and eliminate this feeling of worthlessness, we need to stop personalizing negative experiences and find new ways to feel validated. It’s important to separate ourselves from the actions, thoughts, and feelings of others that we cannot control and instead, learn to empower ourselves from within.
Finding Personal Validation through Hobbies
Hobbies are an essential way to reset and control our “anxiety alarm,” and renew ourselves from within. Hobbies are activities that we choose to master out of personal desire. They are not activities that we master because they provide us with a skill that’s valued by society at large, or because they’ll earn us the validation of others.
Focusing our attention on hobbies during moments of stress helps alleviate societal expectations that create anxiety, calms our nerves, and prevents us from getting derailed on our personal journey through the world.
Hobbies and the Power of Self-Reflection
There are a variety of different expectation-free hobbies that can help clear our minds. Running, walking, knitting, or coloring, are all hobbies that encourage self-meditation. When we engage in these activities we’re engaging in personal time – time allotted for self-reflection and self-empowerment.
Learning to master a hobby – an activity that does not serve a greater societal function – reminds us that regardless of the approval or disapproval of others, we are ultimately our own source of strength.
Although it’s important to choose a hobby that best suits your individual interests, all hobbies help reduce anxiety by providing us with important moments of personal reflection, and reminding us that our self-worth is determined by our attitude – not by the validation of others.