How to Find Feel-Good Habits and Hobbies

How to Find Feel-Good Habits and Hobbies

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Here at Stress Reset, we talk a lot about developing “feel-good” habits – habits that sustainably help your nervous system feel good. Like deep breathing, taking a walk, dancing to your favorite song.

These habits help rewire your brain into what we call the Green Zone – a state of mind in which you feel enthusiastic, energetic, and joyful. 

These feel-good habits are the healthy alternative to “false-good” habits – things that only temporarily make you feel good. Like binge eating, drinking in excess, procrastinating. 

We call them false-good habits because the joy and relief they bring is temporary, and you usually fall back into a stress response quickly. 

A question we get a lot as we start working with new clients is: 

How do I know what MY feel-good habits are? How do I figure that out? 

This is such a great question, because the truth is… Most of us were never taught to consciously understand the habits that make us feel good. We might not have the tools we need to get ourselves back to the Green Zone yet.

But there is a pretty simple exercise that you can do right now that will help you figure out where to start! I encourage you to pull out a pen and paper and do this exercise in real time.

First, think back to your childhood

More specifically – think back to the hobbies you had as a kid. What did you do for fun? What brought you joy? Peace?

Maybe for you it was building Legos, or playing the piano, or drawing. 

For me, it was collecting stamps. It felt like the coolest hobby ever when I was a little kid – it was like a treasure hunt that taught me about history and geography. I could spend hours alone in my room working on my stamp collection!

Next, think about the qualities that activity brought out in you

How did that childhood hobby of yours make you feel? 

Did it make you feel calm? Engaged? Creative? Playful

I loved stamps because they required a lot of patience, focus, and quiet time.

Maybe you loved Legos for the same reason. Or the piano because you felt like you were always learning. Or drawing because it bolstered creativity. 

And lastly, think about how you can incorporate those qualities into your life now

Now I am not saying to run out and buy a brand new lego set, or a piano, or all new art supplies.

(I’m also not ruling that out. If returning to your childhood hobby sounds like exactly what you need right now, I encourage it!)

But I am more so wanting you to think about tapping into what you intuitively knew about yourself as a child that you’ve lost sight of now. 

Think about how you can replicate that feel-good environment for yourself, but for the adult person that you are today. 

I probably won’t be collecting stamps again, but I can replicate that quiet, focused alone time by taking a walk around my neighborhood while listening to an audiobook.

Find something that makes you feel engaged, or creative, or playful, or calm.

That is your feel-good habit, friend!