7 hobbies guaranteed to stop debt stress in its tracks
Do you regularly worry about money? You’re not the only one; nearly half of Australians cited personal finances as their biggest cause of stress over the past five years. But if you’re tired of fretting over your finances and how they’ll impact your credit score, why not try a new hobby to take your mind off things? We’ve compiled a list (backed up by research, naturally) of ways to help manage your money worries.
Socialising with friends
You’ve probably read ‘socialising with friends’ on a dating profile before and assumed it was a euphemism for ‘loves beer’. You were probably right. However, regular get-togethers with friends and family could significantly reduce debt stress and even alleviate symptoms of depression.
Socialising with family and friends is a great way to lower stress, research shows.
A University of Dublin study found that people who were receiving traditional treatment for mental health problems also reported more confidence and improvements in their wellbeing after participating in social events.
“Supporting the development of positive relationships and increasing social activity helps with the treatment of mental health difficulties,” said Dr Ann Sheridan, lead author of the study.
The psychological benefits of exercise are well established, so we won’t bore you with all the research that emphasises how good hitting up the gym or getting involved in sport is for your physical and mental health. (Spoiler alert: There’s a lot.)
Ultimately, exercise is known to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, while boosting ‘happy’ hormones like endorphins. Tackling the treadmill will also release neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids, which are linked to the brain’s reward system. This all contributes to the euphoric feeling many exercise fanatics will recognise as “runners’ high”.
Are you more of a couch potato than an athlete? Don’t worry, you can now tell your friends that a tertiary study found that watching TV can reduce stress.
Sadly, you may not be able to just stick on your favourite horror flick or rom com to alleviate money worries. A University of California Berkley study found that only nature programs have a beneficial effect on mood, with participants experiencing reduced stress, anxiety and tiredness when watching BBC’s Planet Earth II. Nevertheless, the news will no doubt please many Australians; 85 per cent of us already try to prevent debt stress by tuning into the TV.
Taking up yoga
No debt stress article would be complete without mentioning yoga at least once. It is estimated that approximately two million Australians currently strike a pose on a regular basis, with Roy Morgan Research claiming it’s the fastest-growing sport/activity in the country. But does yoga work? Well, many people have found it to be a helpful way of managing stress.
Yoga can reduce stress and alleviate depression (but we don’t expect you to be this good right away).
Last year, a study tracked attendees of an intensive three-month yoga retreat and asked them to self-report their mood levels, while researchers also measured various biological markers. The upshot was that yoga was found to boost stress resilience, reduce depression and increase mindfulness. Not bad for a bit of light stretching.
Listening to music
According to a recent study, four-fifths of Australians listen to music as a way of managing their stress levels, making it one of the most popular relaxation options available. Science also proves your favourite tunes can help lower stress, but perhaps not in the way you might expect.
A recent study found that you may actually need to be listening to music in the presence of others to really benefit from the stress-reducing effect of a good track. If you’re on your own, music can still work, but the research suggests that you have to be deliberately making an effort to relax.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 29 per cent of households in the country are over indebted.
Reading is another hobby that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, and – according to the research we’ve uncovered – it blows most other activities out of the water.
In a study conducted at the University of Sussex, it was found that reading for just six minutes reduced stress by up to 68 per cent. Researchers examined heart rates and other indicators to measure the impact of various pastimes on stress, with listening to music coming second (61 per cent lower levels). The decidedly British experiment ranked having a cup of tea in third place (54 per cent less stress).
Reading for just six minutes reduced stress by up to 68 per cent.
Organising your finances
If you’re tried all the above activities and you’re still asking yourself ‘how can I reduce debt stress?’, then now may be the time to tackle the problem head on. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 29 per cent of households in the country are over indebted, so you’re not alone in your money worries. In fact, nearly one in every three people is feeling the pressure of debt.
Not sure how to get started? We have a number of money management tips to get Australians back on the road to financial recovery. You can click here to find out more.
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