Why Is It Harder to Develop Hobbies with ADHD?
People with ADHD are often very curious and creative. This can lead them to develop an interest in a number of possible hobbies. In fact, they may find a hobby so fascinating at the outset that they become fully absorbed in it for a period of time. This is often referred to as hyperfocus, and while it can be fun when you're first diving into a new hobby, there are some downsides. When someone with ADHD is hyperfocusing, they become so fixated on an activity or interest that it's often hard to pull them away.
Hyperfocus happens as a result of a dysregulated attention system in the brain, which is common in people with ADHD. Problems with managing attention can result in periods where it's harder to pay attention as well as periods where focus is especially intense. When someone with ADHD hyperfocuses on a hobby, they often invest a significant amount of time and money into it upfront.
However, periods of hyperfocusing tend to die down eventually. It's common for people with ADHD to lose interest in a hobby after the initial fascination wears off. Because of the way the brain of an individual with ADHD typically works, they begin to look elsewhere for rewards and stimulation once they stop getting a rush of dopamine from their hobby.
Recognizing the challenges of pursuing hobbies with ADHD doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it. However, being realistic about those obstacles may help you avoid a drop-off in interest. Plus, it's certainly worth exploring possible hobbies for the benefits they can bring to your life. The following are some of the top perks of having a hobby as an adult with ADHD.
It reduces stress
Dealing with ADHD can be stressful at times. One way to relieve that stress is to engage in an activity that you find pleasurable — like a hobby — during your leisure time. Research has found that doing so can help lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. These types of aschedulectivities are also associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. People with ADHD already have a higher risk of issues like depression and anxiety, so engaging in a hobby you love is a great way to prioritize your mental health.
It helps structure your time
A common symptom for people with ADHD is struggling with time management. A hobby can help to address that issue by giving some structure to your schedule. You can schedule periods of time which you'd like to devote to your hobby. In turn, this helps to encourage efficiency in other areas of your life. For example, you'll be less likely to procrastinate on a work project if you know that doing so will cut into time that you'd rather be spending on your hobby.
It encourages social connections
Some hobbies, like team sports, are done with others, which obviously can help strengthen social bonds. However, even solo activities can become a source of social connections. For example, someone who loves reading might join a book club. People can play video games with others remotely, or they might develop friendships when posting in online forums about their favorite games. Having something in common with others through a shared hobby is a great way to develop friendships — which can sometimes be more difficult when you're an adult with ADHD.
It taps into your creative side
Many hobbies, including everything from painting to writing to cooking, can encourage creative thinking. This can be especially satisfying for someone with ADHD since people with the condition often display higher levels of creativity. People with ADHD tend to excel at thinking outside the box, so exploring creative hobbies can help them tap into one of their unique strengths.
It helps to boost self-esteem
People with ADHD often struggle with confidence. Hobbies can be a great way to boost self-esteem in a healthy and productive way. The sense of pride that can come from learning new things, creating something, or achieving a goal can all contribute to building confidence and overall well-being.
Looking for a little bit of hobby inspiration? The following activities can be uniquely beneficial for adults with ADHD. Consider trying one or more of the ideas on this list to enjoy the many perks of having a hobby.
Music and dance
Whether you're playing an instrument, singing, dancing, composing, or going to concerts, music can provide an incredible amount of inspiration and joy. Plus, people with ADHD can benefit from music therapy.
Sports and physical activity
Moving your body is proven to have a number of positive effects, including lowering the risk of depression and improving overall physical wellness. The improved blood flow in your body can also lead to feelings of happiness and relaxation. The great thing about this type of hobby is that the options are seemingly endless. You could participate in any sport, attend a workout class, practice yoga, go swimming, or even just take walks around your neighborhood. Anything that gets you moving can become a hobby if you enjoy it.
Puzzles and games
As mentioned above, people with ADHD often excel in creative pursuits. An inventive mind can be particularly useful for those who enjoy puzzles and games as a hobby. Thinking outside the box can help with creative solutions for crossword puzzles, video games, chess, and other mind-stimulating activities.
Arts and crafts
Another way to explore your creativity is through hobbies involving arts and crafts. Drawing, pottery, photography, knitting, and a wide variety of other artistic activities can make wonderful hobbies for someone with ADHD.
If you enjoy plants and flowers, gardening is a therapeutic hobby you can pick up. It gets you active and can help to release tension and stress. Watching the things you plant grow is satisfying, and you can even encourage a healthier diet by eating fruits and vegetables from your own garden.
Cooking and baking
People with ADHD may struggle with cooking and baking due to all the planning, organization, and time management involved. But if you pick it up as a hobby, you may find that getting better at cooking and finding joy in it can help overcome these challenges. Start with simple recipes and work your way up to try new ingredients and dishes.
The great thing about reading as a hobby is that it's so easy to customize to your own preferences. You can read fiction or nonfiction about any topic that interests you. If you find long novels a bit intimidating, you can read blog posts, magazine articles, or short stories. If you have trouble focusing when you read, try reading out loud or listening to audiobooks.
Volunteering for a cause that you believe in is a wonderful way to spend your time. It's also a hobby that allows you to play to your strengths. For example, if you're great with animals, you could help care for the dogs and cats in a shelter. If you're good on the phone, you could make calls to potential donors. Choose an organization you support and ask about the types of volunteer opportunities they offer.
Starting a new hobby is a great way to change up your routine in a positive way. Plus, there are countless ways that a hobby can benefit you both physically and mentally as you manage your ADHD.