Updated by Linda Oram – August 2023

I still regularly mention ‘mindful hobbies’ to my clients, in conjunction with the ‘Pleasure Exercise’ from the Human Toolbox!

Apart from distracting you from unpleasant thoughts, they are an excellent way of boosting our happy hormones, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, which in turn, help to lower the two stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.

Personally, I still love to crochet and read, and I also took up painting-by-numbers during the lockdowns, one of which can be seen in my therapy room, and if you look closely, you also will find stones that I have painted dotted around the garden!


I often talk to my clients about doing ‘mindful hobbies’, especially those suffering from depression and anxiety. So what do I mean by a ‘mindful hobby’, I can hear you asking! I mean something simple that you enjoy doing, that needs focused concentration, but is not overly complicated. These sorts of hobbies will distract you from ‘ruminating’, where you go over and over and over the same thoughts, often without reaching a conclusion or solution to the problem, but these hobbies will also bring you pleasure, and hopefully, a sense of achievement.

My own current favourites include crochet, reading, gardening and painting stones. These are hobbies that I can easily pick up and put down, and do from home. For instance, as more and more flowers appear in my garden, there is nothing more satisfying than taking your morning cuppa into the garden, and doing some mindful ‘deadheading’. In fact, there is research to show that 20 minutes spent in the morning light, even if it’s cloudy, improves our well-being, helps us to get better quality sleep at night, and may even assist in lowering our body mass indexes (BMI)! WOW!

Painting stones is so easy and amazingly therapeutic. All you need is acrylic paint and something to make dots; ends of kids paintbrushes, old knitting needles, wooden skewers, etc.. But be warned, firstly, I believe it’s illegal to take stones from beaches, and secondly, acrylic paint doesn’t wash off!

I’d love to know about any of your creative mindful hobbies, as they may inspire others, so please post a comment, and maybe a picture. (I have to be honest and say that the crocheted square in my photograph was not the most mindful as it was very complicated, but my sense of achievement is huge!)