The 6 Best Hobbies to Reduce Stress

Stress Reducing Hobbies

Many people looking for a way to reduce stress have found that certain hobbies have a side benefit: relaxing qualities that help you reduce stress.  For example, hobbies can act as a distraction to your everyday life, allowing you to forget about that overdue work project or fight with your friend.

Photo via MDavisDesigns

Photo via MDavisDesigns

If you’re wondering what the best hobbies for stress reduction are, we’ve done the research for you and came up with 6 of the best.  Which one will you take up?

Photo via Lovesince2014


In a poll of 3,500 people, knitting was chosen as the top indoor hobby for 2016.  Knitting has become so popular for stress reduction that you can find organizations devoted solely to the therapeutic benefit of this popular craft.

Photo via PhylPhil is one such organization, devoted to the research and benefits of knitting.  The Craft Yarn Council created the “Stitch Away Stress” campaign to encourage knitting and crocheting as stress relieving activities.  Dr. Herbert Benson, the author of The Relaxation Response says:

The repetitive action of needlework induces a relaxed state, not unlike meditation.
It’s been found to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as reduce the stress hormone, cortisol.

Photo via Berniolie

The side to side eye movement that happens in knitting also has true physiological benefits.  Moving your eyes in this side to side motion for 30 seconds each day can boost memory. It mimics a therapeutic technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. (Source: NY Times.)


The two organizations that encourage knitting for stress reduction, and “Stitch Away Stress” are also big proponents of crocheting.

Photo via marifu6a

Similar to knitting, crocheting uses one needle and yarn, instead of two.  Typically you start the yarn with a chain, working in a repetitive pattern until you finish your desired project, whether it be a bookmark, a hat or a cool coaster perfect for summer decorating.  Crocheting provides immediate relief when you’re anxious, putting you in a calm and focused state.

Photo via EvasStudio


Coloring has become trendy in the adult world, with coloring books for all ages now widely available and popular.  Though not clinically proven to reduce stress, coloring, especially in a round geometric pattern, such as a mandala, has shown to be a good way to relax and unwind.

Photo via countrygarden

You can find coloring books geared towards reducing stress at the grocery store checkout line, your favorite craft store, or a local bookstore.


Reading for pleasure is a great distraction from your daily life.  A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found reading can reduce stress by 68 percent.  The same study also shows that reading works faster than other relaxation methods, like listening to music.  Experts suggest setting aside 30 minutes daily for the best benefits.


Art has longed been used as a therapeutic modality for patients with anxiety, depression and PTSD.  Just the act of moving the brush over the canvas and seeing a creation come alive puts you in a state of relaxation and provides a feeling of accomplishment.

Photo via countrygarden

The act of creating art increases the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine.  Dopamine is known to boost your focus and concentration.  Painting is also used with trauma patients as a way to recover from the traumatic event, focusing your mind on something beautiful that you create, as opposed to reliving past events.
Join the Great Maker Search. Apply here.

Join the Great Maker Search.  Apply here.


The Mayo Clinic states that yoga is the “ultimate mind-body practice, combining physical poses, controlled breathing and meditation or relaxation.”  In the practice of  yoga, an emphasis is placed on breathing techniques.  The ability to slow and control your breath physiologically reduces stress throughout your body and quiets the mind in the process.

Photo via AmoreBeaute

Find a hobby that appeals to you most and give it a try.  For the best stress reducing benefits carve out time two to three times a week to enjoy your new hobby.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a lifestyle blogger and the editor of Whooo’s Reading and Carpe Daily.  She reads a few times a week to wind down and loves spending weekends traveling.  Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07

1 Comment

  • Reply September 13, 2016


    good article, thanks for sharing.

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