Creative hobbies have been steadily growing in popularity over recent years.  This may be due to people needing to tighten their belts and be more creative with their money.  The ability to find ways to repair and refashion old, worn out items can extend an items life span. 

Creative hobbies covers a broad and ever expanding range of pursuits, including art and craft activities like painting, sketching, knitting, crochet, card making, sewing, embroidery and much more.  They also include activities such as poetry, song writing, playing musical instruments, singing, acting, computer design, baking, cake decoration, animation and garden design.   Below are some of the positive side effects that can come about through taking up a creative hobby.

1. Sense of Achievement
Learning a new skill can be enormously rewarding in itself and being able to produce something concrete at the end of the process can fill you with a real sense of satisfaction. Often new skills take time to master so be patient with yourself and be prepared for a few false starts and remember that we learn the most from our mistakes.  Also if it was easy there would be no challenge and it would not be so rewarding to see your skills improve.

2. Self Expression
Creative hobbies can be excellent for allowing you the space to explore and express difficult feelings and process your personal experiences.  Often creative outlets can allow feelings to be expressed that may otherwise be difficult to tap into.  Also choosing a less direct form of expression can be very freeing and feel less challenging to those around us than just talking and can allow others to tune into and hear what is being said.

3. Improved Problem Solving
Developing your creativity will have an impact on other areas of your life including your approach to problems and challenges.  Creative hobbies can help you to view situations in new ways and this can lead to the discovery of new solutions to difficult issues.  Scientists have found that creative activities make use of the right hemisphere of the brain and the brains performance is improved with new activity in a similar way that exercise can build muscle strength and power. 

4. Relaxation
As mentioned before, creative hobbies can provide the individual with an opportunity to explore, express and process difficult emotions.  It can also provide a valuable distraction which can help to reduce stress and anxiety.  Once you have invested some time and energy in your new skill you will find it very absorbing and a brilliant distraction from some of the stresses of life.  This will quiet and rest the mind giving you new energy to tackle those issues that are causing you stress.

5. Meeting New People
Creative hobbies don't just need to be done in solitude, they can be done in social settings.  These can be virtual, like some of the creative communities on the internet or through physical classes and hobby groups in your local area.  Your local library will often have information on groups and classes that you can join.  Also websites such as Meet Up and Creative Hertfordshire will give you some ideas.  There are also others in the useful links section of this site.