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Want to Combat Stress? This is the Most Relaxing Hobby You Need to Try

Some people thrive under a little bit of stress. However, dealing with too much stress on a regular basis is never good for anyone.

In fact, your body would go on ‘fight-of-flight’ mode when it feels attacked by stress. This response involves the release of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which could then have negative effects on your body at high levels.

Thus, experts often recommend people turn to relaxing activities to reduce the stress they experience in their daily lives. A recent study might have just found the most relaxing hobby that a person can take up to fight stress.

Most Relaxing Activity

fizkes/Shutterstock: Knitting is popular among women across age groups

First, researchers from conducted a survey asking over 2,300 people about the activities they do to reduce stress. This resulted in a list of 20 hobbies including hiking, tai chi, and cooking.

Then, the researchers had 357 men and women in their 20s and 30s to try doing the 20 hobbies over the course of several weeks while wearing a tracker with a heart rate monitor. They did the experiment to determine which activities calmed the participant’s heart rates the most, which they then linked to being in a state of relaxation.

In the end, the researchers found knitting to be the clear winner. According to the data they gathered, knitting lowered the participant’s heart rates by 19% on average.

Stress and Your Heart Rate

G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock: Stress has also been linked to heart disease as its effects put a person at a higher risk of developing buildup in their arteries

Humans typically experience elevated blood pressure and a faster heartbeat when their fight-or-flight response is activated under stressful situations. This observation is what led the researchers to link relaxation with a lower heart rate.

It’s also worth noting that health experts have previously linked clinical anxiety with the risk of developing heart disease. However, it’s still important to distinguish the difference between stress and anxiety.

A Matter of Preference

gpointstudio/Shutterstock: Fishing is the hobby that ranked second in the study

Of course, you can find other ways to relieve stress and lower your heart rate by doing other activities if you’re not a fan of knitting.

You can try other relaxing hobbies like calligraphy or blogging, which tied for third place in the study, and see how it works for you.

There’s also an argument to be made for more exciting hobbies. According to medical experts, it’s still important to have ‘healthy stress’ in your life.

For example, exercising is recommended by the National Institute of Mental Health as a way to cope with stress.

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