One of the great mental benefits of having a hobby, particularly one like exercise, is that it allows us a chance to stop thinking about, working on, or worrying about our problems.
If we're stressed out about a work project, a relationship issue, or a bill we have to pay, we can take some time to focus on something else. This allows our mind and emotions time to process whatever it is we're stressed about and then come back to the problem with more clarity. I touched on this in my previous post, Mental Interval Training.
If we can fully immerse ourselves into whatever activity we're doing, when we finish we'll feel better. When you're mind wanders during your exercise or a hobby, because it will, don't be too hard on yourself. Simply and gently bring your attention back to the task at hand.
When it comes to fitness, activities like dance, yoga, martial arts, and complex weight training modalities like kettlebells are particularly beneficial for stress because they require a high amount of concentration. Interrupting the pattern of overwhelm is crucial to dealing with stress.