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Hobbies are important. More important than we give them credit for. Research into the idea of “leisure hobbies” indicates many potential benefits of maintaining hobbies for your mental health.

Hobbies are a great way to engage in a passion. They can also be a great way to make money. Many businesses started as hobbies. Etsy, for example, was a business literally started because its owner needed a way to sell these handmade wooden computers he made in his spare time. Bob Ross was just painting as a hobby before he made a name for himself as a television personality.

We live at a time where “hustle culture” is all the rage – what can you do to make some extra money? Are there hobbies that you have that can provide you with some extra money? Can you become a professional dog jogger because of your love of running? Can you rent out your home to photographers because of your amazing interior design skills?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a bit of extra money with your hobbies. Life is expensive. If you can make a bit of extra cash here and there doing something you love to do, go for it.

But it’s important to remember that you also don’t need to make every hobby of yours something you can make money off of. Sometimes, it’s just good to have a hobby.

The Benefits of a Hobby that Isn’t Monetized

It’s great if a hobby can make you money. But it’s also great to have hobbies that do not. That is because research into hobbies has shown that monetizing a hobby can reduce the joy of that hobby. This has even been proposed as a way to reduce childhood addiction to video games. Give them a few dollars to play, and eventually they’ll find playing less enjoyable.

Hobbies that you do just for fun – hobbies that you do just for YOU – have many benefits, including:

  • Improving your self esteem as you become good at something.
  • Teaching you to turn off your mind to outside distractions.
  • Giving yourself moments of fun in a stressful world.

You can monetize anything you want if you feel like you’re ready for it. But it is also perfectly reasonable to just have a hobby you can enjoy. Paint without worrying if someone will buy it. Craft something without worrying about someone buying it from you. Write a book without worrying about if someone reads it. If it brings you joy, then it has value that extends beyond money – value that you will experience for months and years to come.

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