As life progresses and we become more busy and distracted, some things are pushed aside or lose their importance. Some of the most common are leisure time and hobbies. What people may not realize is that by giving up hobbies, they may be losing something that benefits them in more ways than they imagine.

Below are some of the best reasons for keeping hobbies in your life, as well as some of the best hobbies for beating depression or anxiety.

1. Making friends and meeting new people

For people new to an area, or those who often feel lonely, taking up a new hobby or getting back into something can help create new friendships. By joining groups, you come into contact with new and interesting people who share your own interests. This is one of the best ways to create meaningful, new relationships based on a mutual interest in one hobby.

2. Reducing stress

Many types of hobbies can teach you new ways to relax or keep you calm. Activities like reading, yoga, writing, meditation, listening to or playing music, gardening or painting can all help to reduce stress and make the unavoidable stresses of life much more manageable.

3. Learning new practical skills

No matter your age, learning a new skill can keep your mind active and sharp. A lot of hobbies can also turn back practical results. Need a little extra money? Teach yourself to make a sought-after art item. Projects like these can easily be sold on websites like Etsy to make you a little extra cash, and they're a fun way to spend time, too!

4. Relaxing or re-energizing

All of the same hobbies recommended to relieve stress can also make you more relaxed, if done the right ways. Meditation and yoga are great ways to unwind briefly at the end of a long day, and other activities like reading, gardening or writing are relaxing ways to pass a weekend between long, stressful workweeks.

5. Having stories to tell

If you ever feel like you're at parties or family gatherings with no stories to tell, it could be because work or school has become the only thing in your life. Not only does adding hobbies to your life give you more new friendships and potential experiences to talk about, but unique new hobbies can make you infinitely more interesting. This may also help you leave parties and gatherings feeling more confident.

6. Keeping busy and beating boredom

If your life has started to consist of long days of school or work, followed by long nights of boredom, you may consider some simple hobbies to fill your nights. Watching Netflix is great, but after awhile can start to feel like a slump of boredom and immobility. Taking up a hobby doesn't have to be expensive, tedious or social. Many hobbies can easily be done alone and won't cost a fortune, but will keep your mind active even on your most boring night in.

7. Helping ease depression

There are several different types of hobbies that can lessen the effects of depression. Physical hobbies, such as kayaking, swimming, kickboxing, yoga or running are certainly great options for someone dealing with depression, as physical activities are shown to release happiness-boosting endorphins and can also help you get some much-needed Vitamin D.

Additionally, any hobby that involves caring for something will make someone with depression feel like they have a purpose. Planting flowers, babysitting, or caring for pets may seem like unpleasant hobbies for someone struggling with depression, but in some cases, it would definitely help to take up a care-giving hobby.

A final category of hobbies likely to help those who struggle with depression is anything that involves a group. Many hobbies can be done alone or in a group, but for those with depression, joining a group of like-minded people who share your interests can be liberating. Feeling alone can often be a factor that worsens depression, so joining a book club, knitting group, ski team, religious group or volunteering organization can make you feel like a part of a welcoming group.

For even more ideas for overcoming depression with hobbies, read this article.