Life is stressful, and you need to find ways to relax. Here are a few hobbies that'll help you de-stress (and reduce your heart rate in the process).

This life is full of stress. We try our hardest to stay relaxed, but no matter what, something stressful is bound to pop up. 

These stressful situations can cause our heart rate to jump up, which can cause some lasting effects if it happens regularly.

Since you can’t avoid stress, the best thing for you to do is learn to combat it. These seven hobbies have been proven to help do just that.

1. Puzzles

When you face a dozen problems in life but are unable to change your situation, the best thing you can do is complete a puzzle.

This allows you to engage your mind on a problem that you can fix, which releases dopamine, a relaxing chemical in the brain.

To effectively complete a puzzle, you need to slow down your brain to focus on the visuals of each piece. This methodical placement is a form of meditation, which we all know has calming effects.

Puzzles help improve concentration, which can later be used to reject negative thoughts from our minds. 

One of the best things about puzzles is that they can be done solo or in a group, so you can complete them no matter where you are or who is with you.

2. Dancing

Dancing is fun no matter how old (or young) you are. 

Since aerobic exercise is proven to reduce stress, and shaking your booty is very aerobic, you’ll be doing your body and mind some good by cutting a rug.

Exercise eases stress through the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is a chemical that generates the feeling of happiness.

Dancing can also be therapeutic as it is a method of self-expression. When you can’t talk about what is bothering you, dance it out!

3. Coloring

Do you remember your favorite coloring book when you were a kid? Did you ever get excited about getting a new pack of crayons?

Well, you’re not the only one. Adult coloring books have been on the rise because lots of people want to feel that same feeling again. These books are made for grown-ups, though, with pictures of mandalas and butterflies instead of cartoons and dinosaurs.

It might be hard to believe that simply filling a white page with color can relieve stress, but it’s true. Coloring is an active method of meditation that relaxes the amygdala, which is responsible for triggering fear. 

Are you often fearful of the future or making difficult decisions?

Coloring can help.

On top of that, staying inside the lines and turning a blank page into beauty helps you push all stressful thoughts to the side and focus on something else for a while.

4. Hiking

Again, exercise is proven to combat stress, so anything that gets your heart pumping can help you let out some of that pent up energy.

Even walking!

When you take that walk to the next level, like going on a hike, you double its stress-relieving capabilities.

Hiking involves nature, another stress-relieving factor. The American Heart Association suggests spending time in nature as a way to manage stress and anxiety.

And if hiking intimidates you because you expect to face challenging trails and steep mountainsides, don’t worry — you can take a leisurely stroll at your neighborhood park. Just remember to keep a steady pace and wear comfortable clothing!

5. Music

Did you know that singing or playing a musical instrument can relieve stress? One study shows that singing actually makes people happier and may even extend our lifespan!

This is due to the fact that singing reduces cortisol levels and increases the immunoglobulin in the body, improving the immune system. 

Not musically talented? Good news:

It still works if you can’t carry a tune!

And if you’d rather not sing at all, listening to relaxing or upbeat music can relieve stress. Creating music, however, involves more of your mind and can be an outlet for self-expression. 

6. Journaling

Many people consider journaling a chore. And although it may feel that way at first, writing down your thoughts can give you a new perspective. We often struggle with vocalizing our feelings, but putting them down on paper can be easier.

This release of emotion into words is similar to venting to a friend — sometimes you just need to get it out. 

Journaling also allows you to go back and read what you wrote to better understand or try to analyze the main cause of your stress.

Poetry or storytelling can help you get out of your own head. It gives you the opportunity to live in a peaceful world of your own creation, even if just for a moment.

7. Gardening

If you love plants, dirt, sun, and rain, gardening may be just the thing you need to release your stress.

There is something about planting a seed and caring for it as you would a child that can help you forget about life’s problems. 

You’ll mostly be out in nature while you garden (remember what the American Heart Association said about being outside). Plus, the feeling of accomplishment you’ll get by seeing your hard work grow into something edible or beautiful is very rewarding.

Sometimes, you can even work hard enough in your garden to work up a sweat, which brings the benefit of aerobic exercise back into play.

Because of that, gardening is really a triple-dose of soothing relaxation with nature, exercise, and accomplishment to bring your spirits up.


Whether you pick up just one of these hobbies or try all seven, you can rest assured that they’ll help you relax. Not only will you find enjoyment in an activity that relaxes the mind, but you’ll also relieve your heart of any excess stress it’s been enduring.

And remember, have fun!

[Client bio]
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer specializing in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Palmia to help them with their online marketing.