Those of us who work in “creative” fields often face a particular dilemma. We wound up in this field because we started doing what we love for a living. But when our passion becomes our profession, it often leaves a void in our lives.
That’s why when young people ask me about a career in marketing communications – whether on the design or writing side of things – I always emphasize the importance of keeping open a creative outlet outside the office. Here at GS, it’s amazing to see how many different ways the GS team does this. They take pictures. Make music. Scrapbook. Design typefaces. Some of them even write books.
But it’s not just designers, art directors, and copywriters that need such an outlet. Recently, the GS Wellness Team shared some interesting facts about the benefits of having a hobby. Some of them were what you’d expect, such as providing the opportunity to “take a break,” relieve stress, and interact with others. All good things.
Some went a little deeper. For instance, studies have shown that “engaging in enjoyable activities during downtime” correlates with significant health benefits, including lower blood pressure, lower levels of cortisol (a hormone associated with high stress levels), and lower levels of depression.
I Stress, Eustress, We All Stress
In particular, one benefit of having a hobby stood out: the concept of “eustress.” That is, what scientists call good stress. It’s the kind of stress that motivates you, gets you going, keeps you focused on a task. It’s the “stress” caused by taking on an exciting new challenge. It’s the kind of stress that pumps you up – makes your heart beat a little quicker – instead of wearing you down. Like a milder form of adrenaline.
Our hobbies, our pastimes, our passions are not just things we do to fill up space in our lives. They help keep us continually challenged and make us feel alive.
As available leisure time in the U.S. continues to decline, it becomes especially important to make the most of the time we have. If products and brands we love can help us do this, all the better.
The Customer Engagement Factor
And when you think of it that way, working to help people more fully engage with the products they buy isn’t just good for business, it might just help save the world! Well, maybe “save” is too strong. How about just “improve”?
Think about it. Motorcycles, bass boats, ATVs, musical instruments, sewing machines, barbecue grills, golf clubs … these aren’t toys, they’re important tools of stress-relief. Valuable sources of eustress. They keep us engaged, focused, challenged, and “present.” They unite us with others who share our passions. They enrich our lives. In turn, they help us be better employees, spouses, friends, etc., which makes the whole world a better place.
That’s a noble calling, don’t you think? One that we all can be proud to take part in. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can feel my cortisol levels dropping just thinking about it.