Healthy ways to feel good, feed your body and soul, and enjoy life;
because pleasure is the best engine for good health.
Activities that we enjoy, that engage us, that bring us social connection or get us outdoors are more than just fun. Or maybe it’s that having fun is actually essential for good health!
What do we mean by healthy pleasures? It includes a long list of activities – basically any activity or hobby that relieves stress, exercises our bodies and minds, brings a sense of accomplishment, encourages creativity.
They can be solo or social, active or soothing, serious or silly.
Making music, listening and moving to music – playing an instrument, singing, writing tunes or lyrics. Even just listening to music you enjoy, or moving to music, has powerful benefits - including better sleep, mood, and cognitive health! Music's positive effects on health include specific benefits for MS, Parkinson's, stroke rehabilitation, COPD, dementia, and more.
Making art or craft – painting; knitting, weaving, braiding, or any of the fiber arts; woodworking or carving; paper crafts or book arts; printing; working with clay; or any of the hundreds of activities that can be lumped together into the Maker Movement. Creative thinking and play are only some of the benefits!
Mindfulness practices – including meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and others.
Physical activities – walking, hiking, running, bicycling, skateboarding, swimming, dancing, and more. Improving balance is also really important in older adults.
Laughter really is good medicine!
Gardening can give us more than just the combination of outdoor physical activities.
All of these healthy pleasures contribute to self care, especially in stressful times.
The rewards of healthy pleasures – to our physical health, to our mental health, to our communities – are incalculable.
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