Scientific studies have proven that taking care of your mind has tremendous health benefits. Confidence, self-esteem, completing goals and connecting with other people all reduce risks for things like heart disease, high blood pressure, and other stress-related ailments. It stands to reason then that tackling a do it yourself (DIY) project can actually improve your health.
DIY projects are usually touted for their financial benefits. Who hasn’t considered making a minor repair or undertaking a small construction project to save the cost of hiring a professional? Whether you’re changing your car’s head light using a Chilton manual (www.chiltondiymanuals.com) or assembling that furniture from Ikea, you’re officially a DIYer. Did you realize that by doing so you’re not just saving money?
DIY Boosts Health
It may seem a little counter-intuitive to think of DIY as stress reducing. In the middle of the project you’re very likely to find yourself cursing the instructions or stressing about some part that doesn’t fit quite right. Depending on the project you may actually be putting yourself at risk for small injuries like scratches, bruises, and even cuts. If you make it to the end of one DIY project, and then another and another, you will find that you’ve gained far more than the finished product — and you’ll likely improve your hand-eye coordination as well, depending on the type of project you undertake.
The sense of accomplishment that comes from — successfully — tackling a project creates physical changes in the body. Think of the endorphin high that athletes experience at the end of a race or that students feel after finishing a final exam. While a small DIY project may not induce the same level of high, it will create a chemical reaction in your body that counters all the stress that came before. Best of all, that feeling of accomplishment can be revisited when other stressful moments occur. Future problems seem less like problems when you already know you can handle them.
We encourage our kids to have strong self-esteem and to be confident about themselves because we know that mental health is tied to physical health. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders can lead to all sorts of physical ailments. If you become a regular DIYer, you’ll find that your sense of confidence and self-esteem continues to grow as you acquire more skills and develop better habits.
Recent medical studies have reinforced the importance of personal connections to your overall health. Lonely people are much more likely to be sick than those with a strong network of family, friends, and acquaintances that keep them connected to the world. As you delve into the world of DIY you are likely to find yourself reaching out to others who have already attempted the same project. You may find an online forum or social media group that offers help. You may even find a hobby group in your hometown that meets in person to share tips and shortcuts as well as to share ideas and praise the work of other members.
Perhaps the most obvious health benefit of taking the DIY route is learning. Each new technique and skill you acquire creates new pathways in your brain. Instead of doing silly games on a “brain fitness” app on your tablet or phone, try learning something new that results in a useful object.
If you’re really lucky, a single DIY project could lead to a lifelong hobby or even a passion. Investing energy and time into something that you love and that rewards you with a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and new friends is certainly worth it. Especially if you get to save money and learn new skills along the way.